Postcard from Europe #2

Long time back I was once traveling from Germany to Greece by train and ferry and I met a bunch of American college students who were going my way. We traded stories and tips on places to stay and things to do. We changed trains in Milan and had some time to kill. One of the fellow travelers looked up a sheet of paper from her backpack and got really excited. "There is a McDonald's right outside the station! We don't have to go far!".


Well, as it turns out, the beautiful Milano Centrale was right across the street from a McDonald's. But weren't we coming from the land of McDonald's? We could always have a happy meal back home. But, the Golden Arches beckoned my fellow Americans and despite my pleas to look elsewhere, they went off for cheeseburger and coke. I browsed through a few shops and soon had my hands on panini and gelato. We gathered up in the park right outside McDonald's where we compared notes.

I hate to gloat (well, maybe just a little bit...) but I think I came out far ahead in our quest for good food. My fellow travellers discovered to their horror that they had just spent a rather large amount of money (Italian Lire were confusing) on the food that they thought would be fairly inexpensive while I not only came out cheaper, but my food was not "icky" or "weird".

The lesson was not forgotten by them when we disembarked from our next train in Brindisi and found a small trattoria just a few blocks off the beaten path where the food was good, portions were large and the price was very very sweet.

But why is all this important? Well, back in 2000, the American people (s)elected a guy that they would feel comfortable drinking beer with. And less than 8 years later, we are in deep trouble. Now, we have two candidates - John McCain who, despite his "maverick" moniker, is in lockstep with the outgoing guy on most issues and Barak Obama who seems to be a step in a new direction. Now, there are many Americans who feel that Obama is an untested choice and thus feel that they should stick with a familiar face. Well, my good friends, this is not the time to grope for the familiar. The scrutiny of Obama over the last two years has revealed a guy who is a decent choice. No, he cannot fix all the problems faced by our country right away. But at least he has a good head on his shoulders and a team of advisors that anyone should be proud of.

As my fellow travellers learned, reaching for the familiar doesn't always get you the best deal. You do want a good deal, don't you?

No comments: