We have decided to introduce a new regular feature about the obsessions of different countries. For each country we visit, we will choose one thing, at our sole discretion, that we consider the country to be obsessed with. We will try to explain where needed. We may, at times, repeat. Here we go:
Trinidad & Tobago: Fried Chicken. We estimate that 65% of all the food consumed in Trinidad is fried chicken. They have KFC, Popeyes, Chester Fried, and Church's from America. They have Royal Castle as a local chain. They have numerous other local places.
Venezuela: Cosmetics. In a city of 300,000, we couldn't find a single place to buy food. Yet, a cosmetics store was on every corner. This explains why they have so many Miss Worlds--lots of make-up and no food.
Brazil: Shoes. Shoes everywhere. Any kind of shoes you want. Want to buy some shoes with your lunch? Not a problem. Shoes while you wait for the bus? Sure. Imelda Marcos had nothing on Brazilians.
Guyana: Taxis. One taxi driver explained how hard it is to become a taxi driver there: you have to have a normal license for 3 years and then you have to pay slightly more to register your car. Apparently, everyone gets this and then can act as a taxi. We averaged about 5 requests per minute to take a taxi.
Suriname: Supermarkets. Here's an imaginary conversation between an American and a Surinamese who don't know anything about the other's country:
A: You are from a poor country. You would be amazed at how many supermarkets we have in America!
S: How many are there?
A: It seems like we must have one on every corner!
S: Haha. That's absurd. How could all the people possible live with just one supermarket per block?
We passed through villages where we are certain the supermarket to person ratio was 1:1. I have no idea how they can all stay in business. We're happy to be able to buy food, though.
We'll post more as we venture to new countries.