I spent most of my 20s living outside the good ol’ U.S.A. I like to joke about how just before the re-election of George W. Bush I announced to America that, “it was either him or me.” Well, America
made its choice and I left for Asia. Over the next seven years I lived, worked & travelled through East Asia, Central America, Europe, North Africa & South America.
Along the way I developed a habit of taking photos whenever I saw representations of America on signs or packaging. As a jaded American, it was funny to see how people outside the states essentially used Old Glory to vouch for their products - especially as most of them were unhealthy food.
In the late Naughties I put together a (now defunct) website called “This is What They Think of Us” as a way to show my friends & family back in the states how we were perceived by the world at large.
I thought I’d lost the majority of the photos when I let the domain (thisiswhattheythinkof.us) and hosting expire a few years back, but I was going through an old hard drive yesterday (July 4th - appropriate) and found copies of all the photos!
So without further ado, I present the revived:
This is What They Think of Us
Paris, France: Late night refuge for the world-weary yankee
Glasgow, Scotland: Like the sign says, "Sam's yer man"
Glasgow, Scotland: Taste of America Pizza
Rosario, Argentina: "Gigantic!"
Bariloche, Argentina: Make you car smell like America...and vanilla.
Valparaiso, Chile: Nuts covered in sugar
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Liberty Van
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Dry cleaner
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Can't get more American than blue jeans
Buenos Aires, Argentina: American Deli
Beppu, Japan: Late night fried chicken at a Japanese gas station
Bungotakada, Japan: The naughtiest bar in the village
Kyushu Island, Japan: Not quite on topic, but there is a town in Japan called Usa (oo-sah)
Glasgow, Scotland: "Sloppy Hot American" - they named a sandwich after me <3.
Brussels, Belgium: "Choc'" must be French for "little chocolate donuts"
Andorra: Pyrenees Jeans - not sure about the apostrophe
Barcelona, Spain: Magic America porno shop (sorry for the blurriness - not a place where I wanted to stand a take photos for too long).
Barcelona, Spain: Gimme some of that old fashioned American Doner Kebab
Barcelona, Spain: Nothing more American than pro wrestling
Bologna, Italy: Evidently Magic America is a chain - which makes it even more American
Liechtenstein: Uncle Sam's kid went into the bread business
Liechtenstein: Cheese made specifically for American toast...since we normally put cheese on our toast.
San Marino: Oh thank God, we've found a proper bar.
Liechtenstein: This place is 80 miles from Italy, but chose to use America to sell pizza
Munich, Germany: In a country famous for tubular meat, Mr. Hot Dog is American.
Glasgow, Scotland: In America, we like our hot dogs in brine.
Glasgow, Scotland: My teeth (and my soul) would hurt every time I walked by this shop
Glasgow, Scotland: When the stripper takes this off, I hope she doesn't let it hit the ground.
Glasgow, Scotland: The funny thing is that this was probably made in China.
Reykjavík, Iceland: Personally, I like the spherical field of stars
Reykjavík, Iceland: Code for "we serve shitty beer"
Reykjavík, Iceland: Nobody knows what "ranch" is, so they just call it "American"
Airdrie, Scotland: More Yankee burgers and Doner
Glasgow, Scotland: Truer words have never been written
Madrid, Spain: This is how I image people see me while abroad. He had also been using that balloon as a phallus just before I took the photo.
Blackpool, England: Get you some American food at the English seaside
Blackpool, England: Not so sure about the eagle with the Union Jack.
Glasgow, Scotland: A store for discount products from the U.S., France & Scotland - also, it has a dirty word in it (snicker)
Ljubljana, Slovenia: Sign for a kitchen store - let's just slap a flag on it.
Ljubljana, Slovenia: To be honest, if I was selling cowboy boots, I'd use Old Glory too
Glasgow, Scotland: Again, code for "not the good mustard"
Glasgow, Scotland: "Real American style, real American taste."
Glasgow, Scotland: American flag background with the words "British Chicken" in bold
Glasgow, Scotland: Salted cashews I could understand, "sambal prawn rolls", however, I do not
Glasgow, Scotland: I'm pretty sure baguettes are French
???: Giant American pickles.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands: The "Mad American" french fry sauce is the best
Copenhagen, Denmark: Amerikansk Gryte literally means "American Pot"
Somewhere in Norway: For when you're driving in rural Norway and need that fix of freedom burger
Somewhere in northern Finland: Finally, some ranch!
Glasgow, Scotland: I'll have one of each, please
Salta, Argentina: The Chopper of Liberty
Cordoba, Argentina: ???
Montevideo, Uruguay: Barney and Barbie fill the Super USA section
Colonia, Uruguay: Chinese-made pliers backed by Old Glory