Friday, 10 December 2010
The Highest European Standards
We wondered over to 'coffee bean and tea leaf' - a californian coffeeshop chain. No trace of fairtrade - I've not seen the FT logo over here yet, and not yet confident enough to question shopkeepers on ethics, as I probably would in UK.
I have a lovely mocha latte on which the paper mug gives brief history of the company, and its claim to have always met 'the highest European standards' for its tea and coffee.
Now its true we English moan a lot about 'American' influence on our culture generally, and here was a proud claim to meet superior European standards. It's easy to feel at home in the US, with everyone so friendly (lost track of number of times strangers have made nice comments about our children) and so much shared culture - walking down hollywood boulevard all the names on the ground are as familiar in UK as in the US. Also like the UK, the stars are predominately white men.
While drinking my mocha, served by non-white shopkeepers, remembering the yellow school buses at Griffith Observatory, on public transport generally, and our visit to Santa Monica pier, with a distinctly Blackpool feel (albeit sunnier), outside the richest and most touristy spots of LA, it seems the population is mostly Mexican descent - something that had not occurred to me before visiting.
Just as in Europe, are the stars on the pavement in Hollywood, the stories of Hollywood dreams written in mosaic on the floor of the shopping mall, can these dreams be shared by the non-white cleaners?
Talking of which, hope I get to thank hotel cleaners who gave the kids some fun by placing our children's expanding collection of small soft toys in unusual locations around the beds.