America - its all a bit odd...

Decrepit stations, no information (staff follow rules saying do not ask for help). Trains dirty, slow and full of weird people. Stations designed as an example of what the world will be like when trologdytes rule the earth (hello Penn Station).
Apart from the Northeast Corridor, (PBUH), there are no passenger trains anymore and have not been since the 1960s. The airlines and the Interstate Highways killed off the market for train travel. In spite of all the TSA madness associated with flying these days, no thanks to the beardy ones who caused the security precautions to be ramped up, may Allah curse them, it's still faster and cheaper to fly to your destination.

As for weird people riding trains, a lot of them are immigrants, especially in the NYC area, and wouldn't actually look out of place on the London Tube. Native born folk avoid the train if they can. :-D I've had a few WTF moments on the train. I was traveling to Independence Hall in Philadelphia with my son by subway and we saw a drug bust go down. Two undercover vice squad cops started hassling this gentleman of the darker persuasion and told him his drug dealing days were over. My kid thought it was cool like a TV show, but I knew it was a tricky situation and hustled him out of the car. I wouldn't have minded watching it unfold if I had been by myself, but you have to think of the children. :mrgreen:
 

endure

GCM
I take it this cab driver was not a black cab driver? It would be quite likely that you would get a black cab driver in Charleston, but there are no black cabs for the black cab drivers to drive. Those would be in London :)
My head hurts. :-(
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
The movies don't tend to show the third world levels of poverty the exist within a few hundred metres of world famous attractions. There are lots of other differences too: if you get into small town America society can be more like Britain in the 1950's or even 1930's, because people live in such small isolated communities where everyone knows everybody else and their business, and not conforming is social suicide.
That's what bugged me the most on my single trip to date - Las Vegas to San Francisco via LA. Crossing the various footbridges over the LV strip, one of the most expensive real estate areas in the world, you cant help but having to avoid sleeping or begging homeless guys at any time of day or night. Similar experiences at Santa Monica Pier and in San Francisco.
Being a kind hearted soul, the knowledge that the majority of these guys are fcuked regardless was quite upsetting.
 
C

count_duckula

Guest
Land of the free (except for all the rules)
Go to any site, official location, shop and there are always rules telling you what you can and cannot do. The whole country is insanely germanic in the way in expressly nags and bollocks people to follow the rules. Everywhere you go there are instructions, and it feels like you cannot breathe without following the rulebook. The worst part is everyone follows the rules without question no matter how mad they are.
Justin Webb, a former BBC correspondent wrote a really good little book called "Have a Nice Day". In it he described how his gaff in DC (I think) was on a street where everyone was compelled to park with their cars pointing in the same direction, on pain of a fine and nagging from the neighbours. Mental.
 
Oh, and in a land where running a car is so cheap, are you surprised that anyone using public transport is regarded and treated as subhuman.
People Walking are regarded with even greater suspicion.
One stop over in Port Everglades, we had to go get back one of our guys who'd gone for an evening stroll. Police jumped him and hauled him off to the station.
Broward County, do not be walking around in the evening.
 

Wooden Wonder

War Hero
Eleven years ago, flying back to the UK after a three week business trip to California, being asked for my passport in an airport lounge when I requested a G&T, in order to prove I was over 21.

I was 48.

"It's policy." I was informed ... by the 18 year old waitress.
 

PFGEN

GCM
I was going to start with where shall I begin but Roadster seems to have addressed most of the points in Jim's mail. I've sent a lot of time in the US, including extended stays and working with US units abroad. You're right about the germanic approach which I think is why they do so well when posted to Germany, although a good few have problems pointing to Germany on a map, even as late as 2010. When I first visited the US my hosts would take me out as the social hand grenade guaranteed to say something inappropriate at which one of them would indicate that I was their pet furin person. What I didn't tell them was that I'd realised this and got away with some outrageous remarks. Unfortunately PC has pervaded our own world and that's no longer possible.

Customs folk in the US are trained to look permanently angry until you've seen the same person a few times. There is one exception to this a nasty little character at Newark. He hasn't progressed beyond supervisor since the 80s. I suspect he may have issues with a smallist complex.

True enough the trains getting folks to work are generally for the poor unless its in the centre of the city. The airlines are truly shoite and no better than cattle trucks. Its got to the point that a lot of people prefer a 6 hour drive than face the hassle at an airport. A lot of airlines now bring you first to their hub at the other end of the country then out to your destination with the almost guarantee of missed flights and missed baggage.
 
Eleven years ago, flying back to the UK after a three week business trip to California, being asked for my passport in an airport lounge when I requested a G&T, in order to prove I was over 21.

I was 48.

"It's policy." I was informed ... by the 18 year old waitress.
It's more than that in many places, it's the law. Certainly where I live. To buy alcohol, even if you're 95, you have to show your driver's license, because here it states "DUI offender" on it for those on probation for it, and they can't buy alcohol at all in a restaurant... Dunno how that works with foreigners, but that's the law, it seems.
 
It's more than that in many places, it's the law. Certainly where I live. To buy alcohol, even if you're 95, you have to show your driver's license, because here it states "DUI offender" on it for those on probation for it, and they can't buy alcohol at all in a restaurant... Dunno how that works with foreigners, but that's the law, it seems.
All of MA is like that. Also you can't have two drinks on the bar at once (if they are for you). I'm not averse to a glass of wine and spirit/mixer at once but I was told it's the law in different places.
 
Only been to Disney which doesn't count & New York & cant disagree with anything the OP says.

New York is a mental roller coaster of a city with shit transport, roads etc, (except grand central stn). If it was in Africa you'd avoid it, but for some reason the place just works. I loved it in all its shitty, of the wall mentalness.

Loved going into a "Greek" restaurant & the owner plainly from Greek stock but having not a scooby where Rhodes was.

Walking through Greenwich & finding a bar in an old FBI car depot was uber cool & they served proper ale.

Have to say tipping drove me quietly mad. But it is what it is.

Love to explore more cities over the coming years. The place is a curiosity...
 
On the positive most [Irish] pubs are open till 6AM and open again at 7AM for breakfast.
 

PFGEN

GCM
People Walking are regarded with even greater suspicion.
One stop over in Port Everglades, we had to go get back one of our guys who'd gone for an evening stroll. Police jumped him and hauled him off to the station.
Broward County, do not be walking around in the evening.
That can happen in New York. In the 80s we'd gone out on the lash and were crossing the Brooklyn bridge but not via the footpath. The girders looked a lot more fun. Sure enough Dibble was waiting for us at the Manhattan end. I still haven't worked out why we'd been in Brooklyn but it probably involved tits, booze or a combo of the two. He managed to get us all together which was a bit like herding cats. Two of us had connections with NYPD which eased the situation a bit but he was going to have to write us up, take names or the likes. We decided we'd see how many of us would fit in the back of his cruiser but he wasn't have it and parked us against a wall while he went to his car to get his book out.

Just at that point a Shaft look alike (big hair, plastic jacket etc) in a fur lined car pulls up and asks us if we is wanting a cab, brilliant, a gypsy cab, right on cue. We pile in, one guys legs still hanging out the windows and the cab pulls away just in time as Dibble wonders where the feck we've gone. Whilst in the cab the dispatcher pipes up on the radio. One of the other lads starts going on about how hot she sounds and could our rescuer fix him and his mate with her for a twos up. Turns out the dispatcher is Shaft's girl and he's going to take us down to Coney Island to have his mates cut us up. The Jocks in the party think that this is a great idea and a fight would be a good round of to the evening. After reckoning that that we're madder than his own bros he kicks us out in the middle of Manhattan and we stagger home.
 
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I was in Monterey when Clint was mayor of Carmel. He overturned the rule that you could not sell ice cream cones. Who would have a law stopping you selling ice cream cones on a beach!!
It seems Carmel has a ban on chain restaurants in general and promotes family-owned diners and coffee shops instead. Just before Clint became Mayor an ice cream stand was refused a licence on the grounds that it would waste water, which seems reasonable enough in California. Clint promised to overturn the ban in his election campaign.

Carmel also does not have a mail delivery service, you collect your own at the Post Office. and no street names. Women also need a permit to wear heels.

Permit Required to Wear High Heels
Though often mistakenly thought of as an urban myth, the municipal code of Carmel bans wearing shoes having heels more than 2 inches in height or with a base of less than one square inch unless the wearer has obtained a permit for them. While the local police do not cite those in violation of the ordinance, this seemingly peculiar law was authored by the city attorney in the 1920's to defend the city from lawsuits resulting from wearers of high-heeled shoes tripping over irregular pavement distorted by tree roots. Permits are available without charge at City Hall.
 
I love the US but I would probably live there, but it would have to be the right area.
My first trips were to southern California. Fantastic place and very relaxed. My next set of trips were to Texas. Two distinctly different places withe two hugely different views on life.

The paradox of outrageous gun laws, a massive porn industry yet they baulk at the thought of nudity/swearing and getting pissed.

Going out and having sit in shitty booths being waited on by 'Candy, and I'll be your server tonight'. Or sat at the bar drinking like a loner. It's very unsociable and doesn't make for a good get-together and meeting new people. It's a wonder how Americans ever meet up and start relationships. It must be through work?

Yes, work! The PC culture at work pisses me right off. The tip-toeing around race and poverty, is hugely annoying too. At my last company's distribution centre, all the blacks sat together in the canteen, along with other self-segregated of Hispanics and whites. Even guys in the same office don't bother conversing unless it's 100% work. Don't even get me onto the lack of banter.

The US self-centrist thing too is mind-numbing. A US colleague, admittedly she wasn't the sharpest tool in the box and hailed originally from Georgia, was shocked to find out the UK didn't use US$ as the currency. Their lack of knowledge about the world in general is eye-watering. I'm sure that their appetite for international news, politics and culture, is what CNN & Fox can be bothered to show them.

Why too does everyone eats out and get presented with ******* huge portions, and wonder why they're all fat? Most houses have massive kitchens and huge cookers/ovens, yet feck all gets used. After work every day, it's another invite to go out and eat wings and ribs before trailing back to the hotel. In the end I just used to tell everyone that I had a headache to avoid another mountain plate of food and small talk.
I absolutely do not miss business trips to the US (which were all either in NYC and NJ so can't speak for other states). The first was ok as outside of hours everyone left me to my own devices. However on moving to another job every trip there was dreadful, organised this that and the other (even at weekends) and the small talk that came with it, well on the first night out (organised of course, and on a Sunday) we sat down and the small talk kicked off straight away with work talk, I knew it would be a long night when I heard one of the US middle managers mention in the middle of one conversation "did I hear a disconnect there?"
 
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I found it tiresome,when people would ask me to 'say that again' - as they loved the English accent !!

They especially seemed to like the word Water - or 'Wadder' as they say it.
and waitresses went nuts when I said Please or Thank You - 'did you-all hear that?'

Not sure about the Tipping Law / Rules - but in NY was told to tip 15% of my Bill / Receipt, Sales Tax figure (?) perhaps some residents 'over there' could straighten me out please ?

Went as a Guest to an 82nd Airborne 'Do' - out the back ( place is HUGE ) there was a Firing Range,with some really good stuff on display - and you could 'have a go' on it - I did - and didn't shame us with my scores.
Truly,an 'Aladdins Cave' experience.

Found the Americans to be their usual,typical American selves, by being so generous and helpful - good people in my book,but just a touch different.
 

PFGEN

GCM
Justin Webb, a former BBC correspondent wrote a really good little book called "Have a Nice Day". In it he described how his gaff in DC (I think) was on a street where everyone was compelled to park with their cars pointing in the same direction, on pain of a fine and nagging from the neighbours. Mental.
I'm sure this happens in other States but in New Jersey they have the bin police. They come round and check that you haven't accidentally thrown the rest of the hot wings in the bin for cans. And that's while they're in your yard and not yet on the street for collection. You need a degree to sort out the rubbish and extensive family arguments have broken out as to whether something should go in the bin for greens or general refuse. You need a decent sized yard just for the collection of assorted bins.
 
I found it tiresome,when people would ask me to 'say that again' - as they loved the English accent !!

They especially seemed to like the word Water - or 'Wadder' as they say it.
and waitresses went nuts when I said Please or Thank You - 'did you-all hear that?'

Not sure about the Tipping Law / Rules - but in NY was told to tip 15% of my Bill / Receipt, Sales Tax figure (?) perhaps some residents 'over there' could straighten me out please ?

Went as a Guest to an 82nd Airborne 'Do' - out the back ( place is HUGE ) there was a Firing Range,with some really good stuff on display - and you could 'have a go' on it - I did - and didn't shame us with my scores.
Truly,an 'Aladdins Cave' experience.

Found the Americans to be their usual,typical American selves, by being so generous and helpful - good people in my book,but just a touch different.
Spot on - just a bit different. Cousins and all that.

15% is OK. 10% is harsh, 20% is generous. People who don't tip at all are culturally ignorant. The waiters/waitresses work for the tips, not the salary, which is usually just a couple bucks an hour. It's different, and grated on me too when I first moved here, but that's the way it is. I don't like paying 20% VAT on everything in the UK as a "transparent" tax, but that's the way it is.
 

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