What do Blue Herons and Starbucks have in common?

June 15, 2007

After being in Amsterdam for several days, it dawned on me that I had not seen any Starbucks stores. None. What a great feeling, to not feel inundated, stalked, smothered by the brands from my own culture. I can actually experience the essence of Dutchness without having to filter out the dominating American value as embedded in a cup of coffee.

So, as I was running through Amsterdam’s Vondel park this morning I passed a Blue Heron. A beautiful, statuesque, heron that was not at all afraid of the slapping sound of my feet or the arrhythmic, somewhat wild, gesticulations of my arms and legs. My first thought, “Cool, a blue heron…” My next thought, “We have blue heron’s at home.” Ahhhh. The globalization effect of migrating birds. Nature’s brand effect. But where did the heron originate? Am I experiencing Dutchness at home in California, or am I now experiencing US domination in Vondel park? Of course, the heron isn’t trying to get my money. Thank god.

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One Response to “What do Blue Herons and Starbucks have in common?”

  1. Ben Says:

    I just happened across your blog while looking at LinkedIn.

    I am just back from Mexico. There was a Starbucks in our town (and weirdly enough an American Apparel) but no blue herons. Perhaps the pelicans and ibis dominate the local market to such an extent that the other multinational species can’t break in.


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