Cooperation Vs. Competition

Trip Start Jan 11, 2012
Trip End Jun 20, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Monday, March 19, 2012

We had dinner out several nights ago with some friends and after a healthy delicious meal, we all wanted dessert.  There was plenty to choose from: brownies with ice cream, warm cobbler with ice cream, chocolate tart with ice cream.  Notice a pattern?  90% of the desserts included ice cream to complete them.  Well, they were out of ice cream!  We asked our waitress if someone could go across the street to the store to buy some ice cream and she said no.

You may think this is a silly question, but when I've traveled through parts of Central and South America, we always heard, "yes, yes, we have that."  I particularly remember a trip to Peru where we dined at small, quaint restaurants.  We would place our orders, and 2 minutes later a young boy or girl raced out the back door to get the missing items.  About 10 minutes later they'd return with bags in hand, and several minutes later a scrumptious, fresh meal was served. (Okay, I didn't say it was fast food.)  Sometimes they went to the market, other times they borrowed food from their neighbors.  Either way, there was always a cooperation that took place between customers, restaurant owners and their communities. They instinctively know that as one business thrives, they all thrive.

I observed a different type of cooperation in Luxor, Egypt.  While taking a horse carriage ride through town, there was a lot of screaming and yelling going on between the drivers and street vendors and other drivers.  At first I thought it was rode rage (my Los Angeles background), but as I looked closer, everyone was working together so that they all won.  Drivers would back up down narrow passageways to let a carriage through.  Vendors would push carts out of the way.  The loud voices that I originally mistook for anger, were just loud voices.  There was a sense of play for them while maneuvering through town.

I have found Hawaii to be definitely less stressful and competitive than life on the main land. Something about living in paradise surrounded by all this water.   People here are open and generous (even though the waitress wouldn't get us ice cream.)  I'm sure as I immerse myself into the Hawaiian culture I'll find even more of that cooperation that I observe in other parts of the world. 
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Shannon on

Great post! I liked your sprinkling in of your other travels. Very interesting how the systems are set up so differently, where in one restaurant thought nothing of running out to get the ingredients and the other is stuck in it's box. thanks for the mini virtual vacation!

Doreene on

Girl, you forgot you're in America! We don't care if you want ice cream. Hawaii deals with too many tourist from the states and unlike you there are many rude Americans, so they're turned off. Its a shame that others came before you demanding ice cream so that now they are turned off to any request.
It is your job to be a good American and behave like a local and you'll get you're ice cream and some cake to go with it! enjoy.

Steph on

If it's Lapperts ice cream, keep demanding it!:0 It is SO good...we've had it on Maui, I think it's there in Waikiki too!

travelgirlatl on

Hey Willliam,
I love seeing your picture pop up with your comment!

Traonah on

Nice post!

Faye on

Yeah, it is frustrating. However, on the flip side like you said, you are in PARADISE! It looks like so much fun. You guys seem so natural there.


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