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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

All Change

When you go to the south of America for the very first time, the differences will leave you utterly amazed. This may be a country with which we share a common language, but that is where the similarity ends.

You may be used to our normal British reserve, as in when travelling on a crowded commuter train nobody speaks to anyone, but be prepared to be smothered with friendliness.

You will be “accosted” by all the people welcoming you to where ever you go restaurants: “Welcome to Olive Garden”, shops: “Hi, welcome to Walmart”, theme parks: “Welcome to Walt Disney World” etc, etc.

They also seem to be inordinately interested in our health, “Hi, how are you today? ” Oh how I would love to tell them how I actually am, “I’ve got a stinking cold, I’m on holiday, my feet hurt and the children are driving me mad”. But of course, being British, I smile sweetly and think, ahh, how nice.

I usually go to our villa at the end of November and I was amazed the first time I went, when I was wished Happy Holiday! I thought, how do they know I’m on holiday. I then realised they were wishing me Merry Christmas!

I am also astounded at all the TV screens in the restaurants, tuned to the sports channels, all with the volume off. Why? The volume of the staff calling out their orders could do with being turned down too.

These may all sound like complaints, but they are not, it is actually nice to have people talk to you and want to get to know you. The friendliness is quite contagious and I miss it when I get home to the silent world of the UK - apart from the hiss of people listening to music on headphones or the people who want you to hear their entire telephone conversations.

You will find yourself smiling a lot more, talking to people a lot more and feeling more contented with life. Apparently this can be a southern American trait and not to be found in the northern cities of, for example, New York or Chicago. Maybe it is the wide open spaces of Florida that make people more friendly to each other when they are not crammed into a small city. Or it could be the almost constant sunshine, it is hard to be cheerful in rainy Seattle or cold, windy Chicago.

What ever the answer is, you will love it!

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Page added on: 14 December 2014
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