There’s a travel agent office next to the Oudegracht that does themed window displays, depending on the dream destination being promoted. Kangaroos for Australia, matryoshka dolls for Russia, and so on. In other words, stereotypical visual shorthand. When I saw the window this past weekend, I couldn’t help but stop and stare.
Sure, the American theme caught my eye. A touch of home, though the images depicted aren’t really the America I know best. I’m an East Coast/Southern girl and this window display had a distinctly Western vibe. Still, I couldn’t help looking at this touch of Americana in the heart of Utrecht.
But then I noticed something seemed not quite right. (Besides the whole cowboy/Indian theme which seems a bit off these days, never mind the fact that two of the statues had a distinctly Village People look to them.) What really threw me for a loop was the Georgia licence plate. As much as I love seeing the Georgia tag again, with its delightful peach, it just does not fit in with the rest of the Western display. Georgia is very much east of the Mississippi, unlike Kansas, Texas, and Arizona.
It’s one of those minor things that only someone who has spent a lot of time in the US is going to notice or care about probably, but it still amused me. Even more so when I saw that they were promoting trips to Amerika and Canada. They zeroed in on one very specific theme that barely scratches the surface of the North American continent, but something still got lost in translation, a bit like the rib restaurant flyer we received a few years ago. It’s always interesting to see how your home country is interpreted by others.