One point in going someplace new is experiencing new things and seeing differences. Before I went to Puerto Rico, I thought it would be different from the States, but also similar in many ways. What I found confirmed this.
Being what my Puerto Rican girlfriend calls an Americano colony, it is only natural that Puerto Rico would have many similarities to the States. Of course, American cultural influence via our products and culture is huge all across the world. On the plus side, it can be useful and even re-assuring to have familiar stores and brands on hand. On the downside, such glomogenitzation (global homogenization) means that when you go someplace new it is less new and different than you might hope. Fortunately, the corporate cultures have yet to assimilate and destroy all the differences. When that day comes then there will be little reason left to travel-after all, all McDonalds are basically the same.
One of the main differences I noticed is that Spanish style architecture and color schemes are predominant. Naturally, chain stores and businesses follow the standard plans and colors. So, for example, a Walgreens in Puerto Rico looks just like a Walgreens in Tallahassee. Of course, Florida (which was once Spanish territory) also has similar architecture and color schemes in many places.
Another difference I noticed is that the ACLU and PETA would have two fits and a half here. When we went to see the Christmas (and here they are Christmas lights-not “winter holiday” lights) and New Year lights at a town square I also noticed a manger scene. While I have seen manger scenes in the States, this was right in the town hall. While I am all for the separation of church and state when it comes to keeping religious dominance at bay (and protecting faith from the corrupting touch of politics) I actually enjoyed seeing the manger scene there. Of course, it might have been the fact that was the way things were when I was a kid. It might also be the fact that I’m not a big fan of the way political correctness and “sensitivity” is handled and imposed.
While rooster fighting is generally illegal in the States, it is legal in Puerto Rico and is, in fact, openly advertised. Naturally, I am a bit appalled at the idea of making animals fight for the amusement and profit of people. Then again, I have met a few roosters that seemed to be in need of taking a spur or two to the face. Now, if they had geese fighting each other, then I would be for that. I am not a big fan of those feathered bastards other than having them served alongside some mashed potatoes.