Back in the U.S.S.A.
If first impressions mean anything, then the place to begin is at immigration. The Asian countries had courteous, competent, and efficient immigration officers, whereas our country's were utter dolts. I was able to have a more intelligible conversation with the Korean immigration officer in his language than I was in my own native language with the immigration officer of my native country. The Chinese immigration officer spoke better English than did her American counterpart. America's immigration officers were about 90% non-white, non-native English speakers, who treated citizens like myself whose ancestry goes back to the seventeenth century, with contempt and disrespect. America, unlike China and South Korea, seems unable to create an orderly process for people to enter into the country. Having high-tech passport-scanning machines crowded on the far side of a room means nothing if you are unable to provide lines, signage, and space for people to use them efficiently. Uniformed minimum-wage earning low IQ immigrant employees herding people results in nothing but chaos and ill-will.
The Shanghai Maglev Train, the world's fastest, made the rickety urine-smelling Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit, two transportation systems I had the misfortune of needing to use, look third world with none of its charm. Ulsan Grand Park, just one of several incredible public works in a city home to the Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Heavy Industries, the SK Group, and others, reminded of what a city or country can do when it has a manufacturing base from which to draw taxes. Whereas these Asian countries tax corporations to fund projects for the people, America taxes the people to fund corporations, à la General Motors, and banksters.
You had a good run of it, America, but you're history.