One of the things I like about Chuck Thompson's travel writing, aside from his humor, is his reflective analysis of the places he travels, his role as a traveler/human in the context of other cultures. In his latest book, To Hellholes And Back, he travels to several of what used to be known as "third world" countries, however, I believe the current nomenclature is "developing" countries. he discusses what makes them appear so in the collective consciousness of the typical American and then offers a contrast in perspective by quoting from a discussion he had with a friend while living in Japan who essentially said:
"To the Japanese, the United States looks like a Third World country. Homeless refugees everywhere. Beggars. Police. Garbage on the streets. Institutional incompetence. People dressed like hobos. Cars on the road that by Japanese standards would barely be fit for scrap metal."
Agree? Disagree? Discuss.