e I CHRONICLESnPERSPECTIVEnTRAVELERS’ TALES by Thomas FlemingnCoelum, non animum mutant qui trans mare curruntnwas Horace’s observation on the narrowing effects ofntravel: “Those who go across the sea change their weathernbut not their mind.” It is the rare tourist who gets more outnof his expeditions than a confirmation of his prejudices. Onenof the most intelligent visitors to the United States wasnRobert Louis Stevenson, who — unlike the Trollopes andnDickens and Oscar Wilde, who saw life only from the safenperspective of the middle class — traveled by steerage and onnimmigrant trains. But even Stevenson brought his Scottishnprejudices with him. After visiting the United States, henoffered this version of the Horatian tag: “Change Glenlivetnfor Bourbon, and it is still whiskey, only not so good.”nPerhaps he never tasted a good bourbon.nMost foreigners, no matter how long they are with us,nregard America as a wife whom they may come to take forn^ • . .n•^’f*nnngranted, but never understand. Of course, every journalist,nintellectual, and Japanese tourist who steps off a planenbelieves that he has the clue to a national character thatncontinues to puzzle the natives. I was once interviewed bynan Australian journalist doing a story on regional politics innthe US. Being a hardworking and open-minded sort, he hadnpicked up a few authentic tidbits and put them into hisnstory—he’d even driven an hour out of the way to interviewnan eccentric living on the edge of the woods. However, thenpublished version of his piece could have been written by anstaff writer for The New York Times. His editor back innSydney knew that the details of small town and rural life didnnot fit the big picture of life according to Time, Newsweek,nand The Atlantic.nOn another occasion, I spent an evening with a localntelevision anchorman, recently transplanted from Buffalo ton