Random Observations (in America)

Random Observations (in America)

This blog almost is as much about culture as it is about photography. As such, I felt this was a great little post to share with you – my well traveled reader.

I have a good friend that lives in India who is, at the moment, back visiting friends in the United States. Yesterday he posted these random observation. I asked him if I could share them with you because, as an expat American myself, they struck a code.

  • Today we drove through a brand new shopping complex in Queen Creek, Arizona filled with generic stores like Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohls, etc. I’m pretty sure the parking lot for this complex has more parking than all of our city in Kashmir combined.
  • Americans leave a ton of space between cars when coming to a stop at traffic lights. Several times I’ve noticed we could easily fit our car from India in between two cars. And maybe an auto-rickshaw along with it.
  • Speaking of traffic lights, those things can be annoying. I’m used to driving in a city of 1 million people without a single traffic light. Funny how the stressful chaos of Kashmir driving can be missed when I’m in the overly orderly driving of America.
  • The lines you stand in while boarding a Southwest Airlines flight would have much less personal space if that was done in India. In fact, I doubt that whole boarding system would even work in India.
  • We don’t see many people walking outside. If there are any people who happen not to be in a car, then they likely are just exercising rather than utilizing walking as a form of transportation. Or they’re Asian.
  • Listening to an Oklahoma accent just puts a smile on our faces.
  • It may have always been this way, but politicians seem to spend more time dedicated to getting elected to than actually doing things for the country and people who voted for them.
  • TV commercials seem to be even more dumb than before. With many people just recording their TV shows and skipping commercials, do ad companies not care anymore?
  • It’s sad to see greed overwhelmingly dictate the future of college sports.
  • While sitting at a park eating a picnic dinner we saw a couple games of a co-ed adult softball league being played. That may seem normal to most Americans, but something about it stood out to us. Middle-aged men and women playing a sport together on a weekday evening. I can’t think of any recreational equivalent for that in our part of India.


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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.


  1. Charlene

    “If there are any people who happen not to be in a car, then they likely are just exercising rather than utilizing walking as a form of transportation” 

    I’ve observed that here (Perth, Australia) as well. A westernized, car-dependent suburban thing?

    The picture at the top of this post encapsulates what struck me about America, the few times I’ve been to its west coast cities – there are flags everywhere. As a foreigner, I’m apt to put it down to the well documented American patriotism, but is that all it is, love for one’s country? Or is there more underlying?

    • admin

      About the flags. I am not sure what else it could be but patriotism. I will say this, there has been a major increase in flag flying since 9/11. Still, Americans has always been proud of “Old Glory”.

    • CathyTopping

      Charlene, I’ve also noticed the American flags when I’ve visited
      California. Got to say, though, there aren’t any shortage of Aussie
      flags waving around Sydney-town.

  2. Pam

    Love it!  I also enjoy to travel and observe in the same way.. and as an American who has lived abroad for many years now, I am shocked to observe the same things you see.. especially some of the ones you noted about politicians, greed, etc.  It is hard to believe at times.

  3. Jack

    Matt, That’s a pretty accurate assessment of life in suburban Phoenix. I live in downtown PHX and have to go out to Queen Creek a couple of times a month. QC was, more or less, Ground Zero for the housing implosion that led to the financial crisis in 2008. (Although to be fair, other boomtowns, like Las Vegas, could also be considered Ground Zero.) What’s shocking is that all those parking spots are empty because so many of the homes in the area are in foreclosure. It’s pretty sad really. Our politicians do spend more time getting reelected. I thought the driving observation was especially sharp – my friends can tell when I’ve spent time in Asia cause my driving is a lot more, let’s say “care free” when I get back until I get used to US style driving again. 

    A different blog post but I really like it. 

  4. Paul Sweany

    Nice post, Matt. I live overseas and every time I go back home to the states I notice stuff like this. I walk or take the bus everywhere now and when I go home I feel so lazy driving everywhere. I’ve also noticed that people back home are a lot heavier than here…


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