Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Opinions of Foreigners

About a week ago I noticed an article on Google that featured an interview with Danish tourists who were "horrified" by the number of cars on Canadian roads.  Fully half the comments on the article were variations of "the Danish are stupid".

Who are those commenters to judge?  Denmark is a tiny country, about the size of the state of Virginia.  Its extensive train and long-distance bus network gets travelers from one end of the country to the other in a relatively short time.  Its sustainability initiatives are world-class.  So it's no surprise that they might find us "backward".

Besides, many citizens of Europe have no clue about how large Canada really is - or North America for that matter - and how necessary a car is to many people living here because of the sheer distances between places.

When my cousin Graham first came here from England he had landed in South Carolina to visit his fiancĂ©e, and then phoned and told us that he would see us "tomorrow".  My father was flabbergasted and told him that it took three days to drive from Conway to Montreal, but Graham insisted that it appeared much closer than that on the map.  He arrived a week later (after making a side trip to Niagara Falls) and the first thing he said was "You were right".

So don't judge a country or its people on the basis of one visit or one article.  There is always more information available if one's willing to look.

1 comment:

  1. People can be so cruel without even thinking. And it sounds like a lot of those commenters aren't too well traveled if they are wearing such blinders in life. I laughed at your cousin's reaction. Many years ago when I was a 20 something married woman with 3 small babies we lived in Texas and people would say "Its just down the street a hop and a skip"......I got educated real fast....that means 40 miles. LOL