Perhaps I would appreciate travel more if it weren't for the revolutions in mass communication and globalization.
First, take shopping while abroad. I've had some good experiences, such as with Petit Bateau T-shirts in France, which mercifully run large enough that I was able to fit into a little girl's size at least back in 2002. Yet much of the time, it's been disappointing. I blame globalization in part; a lot of interesting foreign stores have opened branches in the U.S. (I note that the PB site says it has branches in NY and Boston, and another is coming soon to Beverly Hills.) Second, it's increasingly easy to find interesting and unusual things to wear on the Internet. Like every other twenty-eight-year-old lawyer in the country, I get e-mails from Gilt advertising designer clothes at sharply discounted prices every day at noon; there's Etsy for unusual crafty items, both clothing and non-clothing-related; etc. The incentives to leave home get smaller and smaller.
Second, there's eating abroad. Argentinian meat -- what this country is best known for, culinarily -- is good. Yet it's the composed butters that are most amazingly and surprisingly delightful. Everywhere I go, there's butter for bread with something interesting mixed in it -- sundried tomatoes! tarragon! chives! -- etc. Contrast this with the United States, where olive oil (sometimes seasoned, but often not) seems the condiment of choice in trendy restaurants. Going condiment-less altogether also seems increasingly popular, which I find to be a travesty.
Yet again, though, it seems it's increasingly easy to get delicious and varied ethnic foods at home. It's true, I'm a bit unfairly lucky because I live in a part of the country that has an unusually rich array of ethnic dining options. And of course, this is a good development. But it is one that makes travel inherently less interesting.
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