You live in the richest, most diverse, most multi-cultural, most open and outward looking country in the world, but all you see is:
- "strip malls and franchise operations that are either simply awful or too expensive for an average person to enjoy" - "grey" - redundancy
Perhaps this is the reality where you live. If so, I feel sorry for you. The good news is you probably don't have to go far to see more. In fact, look within and you will see all the colors and contrasts imaginable (OMG, where did that come from?!).
In any case, another observation: I have never been on safari in africa, but I can tell you that the USA has more amazing wildlife easily visible than anywhere I have ever been (50 countries). In many parts of the USA, INCLUDING THE CITIES, one can, on a daily basis and with great ease, see an amazing variety of large mammal and avian species in the wild: Deer, moose, elk, buffalo, fox, beaver, squirrels, porcupines, eagles, hawks, ducks, geese, etc, etc.... The sad fact is that in most other places these animals get eaten or "collected" for sale before they can even reproduce. Where I live in Brazil there are virtually no wild mammals left apart from rats and opossum.