Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is the USA a Third World Country?

You decide.

When we returned from a trip to Europe last year, it seemed like the answer might be yes!

After the roads in Europe, and even in the UK, the roads here seemed pathetic. Even the roads in Croatia - the old Yugoslavia - beat us out!

And Health Care in Europe - at half the cost, it is arguably twice as good!

Now we have a new wake up call, with all the storms - power outages. I don't really know how it is in the rest of Europe because I haven't lived there. But I did live in the UK for 26 years, and I can honestly NEVER remember having a power outage! I'm not saying it never happened, but I can never remember it happening. Here, our power goes out between 5 and 10 times a year on average. This year it has been more than that. If you count brief outages we had over 20 in one day after Hurricane Irene. And it was out for part of 3 days during the hurricane for about 2 days total in all. It rained yesterday, and we were out for about 3 hours. If someone runs off the road and hits a pole, or a tree falls on a line, or a boat with too tall a mast takes out the power line over the creek nearby, we lose power. One of those happens regularly. Then you add in hurricanes, tornadoes, high winds and heavy rain and you see why so many people have generators. I only fire mine up if it is out for more than 6 hours or so, so we have only used it twice this year. (One of those times we kept it running on and off for most of 3 days.) But some neighbors fire up as soon as it goes out and that would be between 10 and 20 times this year.

So what does the UK and the rest of Europe do differently? The power lines, the telephone lines and the cables lines are underground.

We don't notice it here because we are used to it, but there are hundreds to thousands of cables running all over the place here. Check it out next time you are out driving, especially at intersections. We could not believe it when we first came here. Route 40, near where we first lived in the US, is an unbelievably mess of wires. I have only seen worse in places like India. But as I said, we are used to it and don't notice it now. When we return from a trip to the UK, we do notice for a while and then we forget again - until the power goes out!

I had to interrupt this post - because the power went out! Really. I think that is the fourth time this week - so far. Now THAT is third world!

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