Traveling used to be a joy because you moved from one place to another completely different place. But now all cities look the same as globalization has erased the unique character of each city and turned the world into one small and boring village.
What difference does it make if I sit with my friends in Starbucks one day, then the next I sit in another Starbucks in France, Kenya or Mexico? What is the difference between the Frankfurt Airport and Doha Airport if they have the same cafes and restaurants? What is so nice for a traveler to see Pizza Hut, Burger King, Carrefour and Marks and Spencer wherever they go? They do not even bother to change their decorations. They all look the same.
In the past, a traveler could sit in a nice cafe on a sidewalk in France and enjoy a sandwich with unique French cheeses in a delicious crispy baguette. But today, they would have to look for one such cafe among the McDonalds and the like. If they want to go shopping, they would find the malls look the same everywhere in the world. They all have Debenhams, Zara and Radio Shack, and the food courts look the same. Even the cinemas show the same films, whether you are in a mall in Abu Dhabi, Rio de Janeiro or Cape Town. For there is hardly any such mall or restaurant that maintains the unique characteristics of their city.
Not only has globalization killed local cuisines, it has killed local tastes. It has established one taste only, namely the Western taste. It has also killed local cinema. I bet you would not find a single theater in Stockholm showing a Swedish film. I was once able to learn the culture of certain people from their films. Today, there are only American productions. Even Arab cinema, which was built on Egyptian films, lost its place to American films in theaters.
Travel has become boring. Perhaps we should sit in the Starbucks next door and save the expense and hardship of traveling since the coffee tastes the same anyway and the waiters talk to you in English.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm