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Thread: I spent most of September in the USA and here are my findings

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    Mold Anus Old Manus's Avatar
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    Default I spent most of September in the USA and here are my findings

    Hello friends,

    This particular Welshman's only previous visits across the Atlantic were to Barbados to play cricket (alas your correspondent is currently grappling with the very real anguish of a sportsman who gets to his late twenties and realises his body can't do it as well as it used to anymore so no more international cricket tours for me ), but had yet to actually visit the Land Of The Free™.

    As it happens though, I took a feel-better-about-being-30-by-blowing-huge-sums-of-money trip with a few pals to Las Vegas a few weeks back, and then two weeks later I was sent back by work to the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando. Super awesome y'all. In no particular order are my musings over this cultural exchange, as they come to mind. I anticipate that I'm going to be misdirected on a few things as I don't think either of these places would be representative of the USA as a whole but I encourage you to tell me where I'm getting it wrong:

    1. My first point, and this is perhaps the most important: what is it with your toilet water level guys. It's too high. I don't like getting my knees splashed every time I go to the john. Is it like this everywhere?
    2. Your cars are huge, but so are your roads so I suppose it cancels out. It would be impossible to scootle a Nissan Armada around the windy hill lanes of Felinfoel.
    3. I can't help prefixing every adjective with the word 'super' now
    4. Everywhere I went was super clean and tidy. I expect this a bit more in the touristy areas like Vegas but we even stopped at a few middle-of-nowhere towns in Arizona once on the way to Antelope Canyon and it was the same deal. It makes me wonder what the hell my Council Tax is paying for
    5. PAVEMENTS JUST RANDOMLY STOP AND I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO GO IN ORDER TO CONTINUE
    6. Food portions are bigger and I feel guilty af when I can't finish them. I like that they just fill your coffee back up for free. For guys who seem to have cheese on everything, y'all need better cheese
    7. Boneless wings are a thing, who knew. God bless America
    8. I found myself craving vegetables, I'm not gonna lie
    9. Staff everywhere are friendlier, maybe it's just British miserableness but everyone just seemed generally more cheerful about everything
    10. I went to a baseball game and was in the queue for a hot dog when the tannoy says it was time for the national anthem and holy trout. Everybody in the stadium stopped chatting/eating/walking, including the guys serving hotdogs and started singing the anthem. I had to pretend to play along even though I don't know the words. If we even tried that stuff back home very few people would stop what they were doing if they were in the middle of something, half wouldn't sing and at least 40% would just ignore it altogether
    11. They also sung this song half way through and absolutely everyone got involved. I couldn't believe it
    12. Also if Americans like baseball I can't understand why they apparently wouldn't like cricket. It's just baseball except in 360 degrees and you bounce the ball at them. Dare I say the game is also a bit more fast paced. You don't need those giant catching gloves either, trust me guys it doesn't really hurt (much)
    13. I feel like I'm violating every natural law when I turn right at a red light, but at the same time it feels good
    14. Maple syrup on everything
    15. Single use plastic
    16. Do you really ID everybody for booze?
    17. Free open wifi networks errywhere. I'm used to it being free but having to ask someone for the password or having to go through a ridiculous form system to sign your details away before you get entry (I'm looking at you Wetherspoons), so I enjoyed this
    18. My partner asked for tea and got iced tea
    19. Adverts for various drugs on TV is the most bizarre experience ever. "Side effects include severe internal bleeding" spoken over images of a middle aged bloke smiling broadly while playing frisbee with his family
    20. On American roads you feel like you're doing about 70 when you're actually doing 102 and you've just driven past a police car
    21. I'm sorry guys but I just do not get fluid ounces
    22. In all my hotels and throughout the conference centre it was too damn cold. Air con was set about 2 degrees (C) too low. I was freezing by backside off, but going outside was obviously not a good idea either. Strangely I got used to this after a week
    23. There is always some sort of sport going on. Every bar and restaurant has tons of TVs showing something or other
    24. I missed the whole Ryder Cup and am not happy about this


    More as and when I think of them


    there was a picture here

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    Huh? Flower?! What the hell?! Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    Yeah the toilet thing and drugs on TV thing are definitely the weirdest smurfing thing about that country. I love the US though.

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    Sh♥tposter Extraordinaire Jinx's Avatar
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    16. Nah. Most places use the rule-of-thumb "card under 35", which means basically they card anyone who looks younger than 35. If they serve alcohol to a minor and get caught, they can have their liquor license revoked, which is not a good thing for a place that makes a lot of money from their alcohol sales.

    Just take it as a compliment, hoss.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinx View Post
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     Master of the Fork Cid's Knight Freya's Avatar
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    oh and you were briefly in the south, you have to break it down further! It's either Sweet or Unsweet ICED tea. You have to specify hot or cold tea if you're wanting hot, the default is usually Sweet Iced Tea. The more north you go it's default Unsweet Iced Tea but south for sure is Sweet.

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    Mold Anus Old Manus's Avatar
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    25. What is the deal with the bill when you're at a bar. I'd order a drink and it would arrive, followed shortly by the bill. The barman would then keep coming back every few minutes to sort of half-point at the bill and say "is everything OK guys" and I could never figure out if they were expecting me to be paying up. What does this mean? I'd usually be planning on staying for a few more . This differs from home where you pay after every round, or on the continent where you have to basically convince the barman to let you stop drinking and bring the bill over.

    26. Giving the bar staff your credit card and watching them disappear into the ether for 5 minutes with it then return back with a receipt is 100% bad juju also more PIN usage pls


    there was a picture here

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    Eternally Lost Chibi Youkai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Manus View Post
    25. What is the deal with the bill when you're at a bar. I'd order a drink and it would arrive, followed shortly by the bill. The barman would then keep coming back every few minutes to sort of half-point at the bill and say "is everything OK guys" and I could never figure out if they were expecting me to be paying up. What does this mean? I'd usually be planning on staying for a few more . This differs from home where you pay after every round, or on the continent where you have to basically convince the barman to let you stop drinking and bring the bill over.

    26. Giving the bar staff your credit card and watching them disappear into the ether for 5 minutes with it then return back with a receipt is 100% bad juju also more PIN usage pls
    On 25, most waitstaff work for tips, so they try to be as obvious as possible for a better tip. Most of their income comes from tips. It's a sad fact of US life. Also, as far as alcohol goes, it varies place to place. Some places will have you pay after every glass, some just open a running tab. I don't drink, so not really sure about what was going on in that particular case.

    26: Yeah, it's sketchy. And making the chip and pin switch is a slow, painful process. I'm pretty sure the only reason we've come this far is thanks to the Target hack.

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    Slothstronaut Slothy's Avatar
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    So the national anthem at the ball game thing sounds weird as hell to me. For some reason it's the first one my eye gravitated to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Manus View Post
    [*]Do you really ID everybody for booze?
    Yes. Especially when the people are working for tips.

    Part of it is a compliment. "Oh, you look like you could be underage." It's saying you're youthful looking, without actually saying it. It's noticed, and pleases people, and they're more generous.

    Part of it is the rules. If someone is too old for the compliment to do a ton, they general are more appreciative of the rules being followed in general, and will take it as good service.

    Either way, you're more likely to get a tip, or a bigger tip, and so it happens a LOT with someone who works for tips.
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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slothy View Post
    So the national anthem at the ball game thing sounds weird as hell to me. For some reason it's the first one my eye gravitated to.
    I figure the assimilation of our media culture alone would have tipped everyone off that we're a very nationalistic country that wears our patriotism on our sleeves. It's like the most recurring stereotype about us. Of anything, I figured a foreigner would be more astonished that we don't sing the national anthem more often.

    Also, we only sing it at the start of sporting events, the second song at the ball game was most likely "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh ending stretch. It's hokey but a tradition we keep for reasons. Personally, I don't really understand our love of baseball, it's a terribly boring sport and my least favorite of sports we actually came up with.


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    Huh? Flower?! What the hell?! Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Kanno View Post
    I figure the assimilation of our media culture alone would have tipped everyone off that we're a very nationalistic country that wears our patriotism on our sleeves. It's like the most recurring stereotype about us. Of anything, I figured a foreigner would be more astonished that we don't sing the national anthem more often.
    I don't think Americans are more patriotic than any other nationality is. I'm just more knowledgeable about how American patriots express themselves due to said media culture assimilation than I am about, say, Greek patriots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Manus View Post
    My partner asked for tea and got iced tea

    I'm an American citizen, born and raised, and this trout seriously pisses me off. I do not like iced tea and there is no good reason that should be the default assumption if you ask for tea. I'm used to specifying "hot tea" in restaurants by now, but it should be the default assumption. I blame southerners. We should have made more demands when we won the war.

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    *permanent smite* Spuuky's Avatar
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    (as an American) I've never encountered a bar where they give you a bill like that. You either pay right away or open a tab and tell them when you're done ordering drinks at the end of the night.

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    Newbie Administrator Loony BoB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Manus View Post
    Everywhere I went was super clean and tidy. I expect this a bit more in the touristy areas like Vegas but we even stopped at a few middle-of-nowhere towns in Arizona once on the way to Antelope Canyon and it was the same deal. It makes me wonder what the hell my Council Tax is paying for
    Don't go to LA or Chicago because oh my God it's worse than the UK. But this does make me look forward to visiting Florida someday. I found the quieter the town, the cleaner it was. I guess it makes sense. Cedar Rapids was very clean.
    PAVEMENTS JUST RANDOMLY STOP AND I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO GO IN ORDER TO CONTINUE
    YES! This got me too.
    Food portions are bigger and I feel guilty af when I can't finish them. I like that they just fill your coffee back up for free. For guys who seem to have cheese on everything, y'all need better cheese
    I still remember the moment when I, for the first time in my life (having eaten double and triple portions often), could not finish a bowl of macaroni cheese. It was obscene.
    Boneless wings are a thing, who knew. God bless America
    wait what
    Staff everywhere are friendlier, maybe it's just British miserableness but everyone just seemed generally more cheerful about everything
    This is nice at first but I found it felt more and more fake as time went on. By the end of it I just felt like I needed someone who looked exhausted so I didn't feel like the most lethargic person on earth.
    Also if Americans like baseball I can't understand why they apparently wouldn't like cricket. It's just baseball except in 360 degrees and you bounce the ball at them. Dare I say the game is also a bit more fast paced. You don't need those giant catching gloves either, trust me guys it doesn't really hurt (much)
    Yes! This so much! I had a massive discussion with some Americans at a baseball game about this very thing. I just can't fathom how someone who likes baseball wouldn't like cricket more. It baffles me. Cricket is faster paced, has more action, more technique, more tactics and the batting and bowling teams are far more evenly matched - well, perhaps not so much these days in many countries, but in NZ and England at least. I just felt like the fielding team had a huge advantage throughout the entire baseball game, it seemed like the odds were heavily stacked against the batter and that's just not fun.
    My partner asked for tea and got iced tea
    It took me a few bars to realise why my "Southern Comfort and lemonade" was always flat.

    This was a really enjoyable read, Manus.
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

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    Huh? Flower?! What the hell?! Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    Here's one from both Vegas and Orlando rather than being a US-wide thing: "Where are you guys from?" replaces "Hello".

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    Famine Wolf Cid's Knight Sephex's Avatar
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    I'm glad you had an overall good time. We do have weird things though. All of us hate public restrooms. That's the one thing this country is United about.

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