Thursday, August 05, 2010

Welcome to America - no complaints!!

It may seem that most of my travel blogs are kvetching about customer service (except when writing about Singapore). My arrival in New York’s Kennedy Airport has been an unabashed good news story - at least so far. Perhaps because of a relatively early arrival - 11:00 AM - there were no lines at immigration. Despite a fairly complex itinerary, including two trips to Sri Lanka (including travel to agricultural regions) and a trip to Seoul, a somewhat weary, middle aged immigration officer simply returned my greeting and asked no questions. Ditto for customs despite a seven month overseas stay. Rechecking bags for my trip to Washington’s Dulles Airport - no problem. Checking in for my Delta flight to Washington, only one small problem, easily resolved.

The carpet in the gate waiting area was grimy, with a number of stains from ground-in chewing gum, but many might say that is a small price to pay for living in the land of the free, rather than (their widely misperceived view of) Singapore. I was a bit struck by how dispirited and tired most of the service personnel looked but despite that, they seemed to be doing their work efficiently. The ambience was rather like that of a well-managed Greyhound Bus Station in the downtown area of a large American metropolis such as New York, Washington DC or Chicago . As I said, I could find nothing to kevtch about. I will miss Singapore. I hope to return and continue contributing to this small, resilient country which welcomed me so graciously and taught me so much. But America is my culture and my country.

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