A woman in Cuba told me in a letter that I'm one of the few Americans who try to stay in touch with people after visiting. If I visit a country and people take the time out to make my stay pleasant, why not stay in touch? Why “do” so many Americans return home and forget the friends they made? As I'm writing this blog post, the birthday of a woman who showed me around Quito, Ecuador is approaching, and as I so every year, I'm calling her to wish her a happy birthday. Friends that I meet during my travels are friends for life.
One day, in my home away from home, Chincha, Perú, I just happened to stop in one of my favorite restaurants for a meal. When the waiter learned that I'm an American he asked me point blank, in an inquisitive tone, if we Americans think we are superior. Obviously, he met as well as heard about The Ugly American who visits and behaves arrogantly when interacting with locals. I explained to him that in the USA there are people who feel superior to other Americans, and that feeling of superiority is nothing more than inferior feelings in reverse. Unfortunately there are people who need others with whom to feel superior in order to validate their self worth, and this is not just an American issue. It happens all over the world.