Saturday, October 24, 2009
This time I shall go into small details of life here in America, you know likes and dislikes. First some dislikes-
Supermarket trolleys, here these only have castors on the front and this makes them very difficult to handle in confined spaces. Some of the smaller stores have narrow aisles but all use the same size trolleys as Wal-Mart which are larger than those found in the UK.
Bacon, the only cut available is streaky, there is no middle or back and I always loved a nice meaty rasher. No-one can tell me why this is so.
Sliced bread, the slices are about 1/3 smaller than Kingsmill so always have to use two slices for a sandwich ie no folding over.
Curry restaurants, the nearest is about 45 min. drive away, there is no Indian food in the stores except Naan Bread, I don’t understand why.
TV commercials, there is no equivalent to the BBC and the number of available channels is awesome. But some programmes have five minutes between commercial breaks of around three minutes and these are designed to keep you on that channel. For instance, take an instalment of, say, “M.A.S.H”. There is a commercial break about two minutes before the end, then you see the ending immediately followed by the opening titles for the following programme, at the end of these is yet another commercial break!
I have already covered driving and driving tests in earlier letters, I am now completely used to having traffic lights over the centre of the junction, right turns on red and four-way stop signs. But the signposting is abysmal. Occasionally you may come across a sign which informs that you are headed towards an Interstate (Motorway), but this is just about all you will see in a town; sometimes in the country you find direction boards but not nearly as many as in the UK.
So there are a few of my pet dislikes, but they are more than offset by the likes -
Cost of petrol about 1.60 pounds per gallon thus enabling the use of our 3.4 litre V6 Chevy Impala (automatic of course)
Enormous car parks at all the shopping malls.
The friendliness of the people, although to be fair I am speaking of small town America, I haven’t got to any major cities so far but we are thinking of a trip to NYC before Christmas.
Service is generally of a higher standard than that in the UK. They are always saying “have a nice day” and I am still unclear as to what response should be made!
Queues at checkouts are considerably shorter, Wal-Mart has the empty bags on a carousel which the cashier fills as they are checked out, this speeds up the process enormously
In general cars, clothes and most foods are cheaper here, but it does rather depend on the exchange rate.
I think I have covered enough of the minutae of American life. Next week is Halloween. The porch has been decorated for this for a few weeks now (Joanie loves her decorations!) The candy has been purchased and we now await the influx of heavily disguised individuals (children and adults) although, having said that, I imagine its going to be the kids on our block which amount to five. Then next month is Thanksgiving, the following month is Christmas and another year consigned to the dustbin of history!
The scandal up the road in Luzern County grows ever deeper, the original corrupt judges have not yet come to trial but many other officials have been charged by the FBI.
Weather has been very up and down, last week we had snow, yesterday it was 72f and today it is 45f and raining. Still as it’s an El Nino year we must expect these variations!
Until next time,