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Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.



 
 
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  #21  
Old December 12th, 2008, 12:00 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
sharx35
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 803
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.



"Frank Slootweg" wrote in message
b.home.nl...
Sharx35 wrote:

Well, I have travelled in the U.S., too. After several dozen trips to
the U.S., **MY** bad experiences are a fraction of yours. I suspect it
might be due to your arrogant Eurocentric, obviously chip on the
shoulder attitude to U.S. culture. I am not a U.S. resident nor a
U.S. citizen, however I much prefer to travel in the U.S., compared to
the continent of Europe where the common attitude is that "WE are the
centre of the cultural universe and the rest of the world are wannabes
or boors". :Hell will freeze over before I travel to the continent of
decay, Europe.


If you tried a parody of the sterotype dumb American, then you
succeeded with flying colors.

If, as I'm afraid, your response was serious, you *are* the
stereotype, dumb and no sense of humo[u]r whatsoever.

We *had* no "bad experiences" (except for the one staff member from
hell). We had a *great* time and I *said* so.

Of course you are fully entitled to your travel preferences, like any
of us is. So if you dislike Europe/the_Europeans, don't go there, plain
and simple.

In any case, *all* sterotyping is wrong by definition, i.e. also
sterotyping of Americans and Europeans (except of course for the French!
:-)).

Luckily - to no suprise - all others picked up on my humo[u]r, irony,
sarcasm, self-infliction, etc.. So if you didn't/don't like it, tough!


Bull ****ing ****. You bitched, whined and moaned throughout 90% of your
snivelling post. FOAD, already.




  #22  
Old December 12th, 2008, 01:05 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
Frank Slootweg
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 275
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.

John Kulp wrote:
Well written and funny, but not entirely accurate. See below.


Thanks and thanks for your humor in return.

I'll respond only to some points. (No use in responding to all/most
humor-humor responses, nor to humor-serious responses.)

On Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:30:33 +0100, Frank Slootweg
wrote:

[...]
2. Contrary to urban legend, American cars actually *do* have a boot/trunk.

The lady at Alamo/National tried to convince us that our two small
suitcases would not fit in the boot/trunk/whatever and tried to
prove that with silly graphics. She offered a quite expensive
upgrade to a 'mid-size'. Being quite dead after the long flight from
Munich (*Don't* ask!), we fell for it. At light the next morning, we
saw that the mid-size didn't only fit our suitcases, but also those
of the whole bloody motel. So we went back and got the booked
compact. We could choose it ourselves and opted for a sporty
two-door Chevy Cobalt. A very nice car, for an American one, that
is. Sadly enough my wife didn't appreciate me, temporarily,
exchanging her for a 20-year old, otherwise I would've looked even
'hotter' than I already did.


Found out what rental car agents on commission do, did you?


Nah, I'm apparently a sucker for women, 'even' (or especially?)
(somewhat) older ones, and apparently my wife has no control over me.
OTOH there are all these nice people in white coats all around me, so
*something* must have happened!

[...]

4. American petrol/gas stations charge what they bloody well like.

While American petrol/gas prices are still ridiculously low compared
to Oz/Europe, prices vary by upto a *factor* of two within a short
distance, sometimes even a few miles or even less. I realize that
there's hardly any tax part in the price, so it's mostly 'cost', but
the real cost can't vary that much within such a small area.


That's what happens when you have free markets that are not
monopolized. You get a choice.


That the same in Europe/Oz, but the tax component is *so* high that
the differences in end-price are relatively (i.e. percentage-wise)
small. I.e. with taxes upto 70 odd percent, you will only see a
six-seven percent difference max in end-prices.

5. Americans don't quite grasp what the 'G' in GSM stands for.

They apparently think it means 'the whole world except us', so they
use a different, incompatible frequency.
Luckily our son has more mobile phones than underpants, so he gave
us - no less than three - 'old' multi-band ones. Problem solved, at
least we *thought* so.


Funny, I have one I bought here that works anywhere in the world.


Sorry, but I don't follow! Didn't I say the exact same thing? I.e. my
(son's) phone also "works anywhere in the world". The fact that I *can*
buy a phone that *doesn't* work anywhere in the world, doesn't mean I
*cannot* buy *another type* of phone which *does*.

6. Americans don't quite grasp that SIMs can be put in *other* phones.

Having a multi-band phone, I went to buy a pre-paid SIM. No such
thing in the US! You can only buy a SIM *and* phone. Duh! I already
*have* a (compatible) phone, *three* of them!


Completely wrong. Just do a search for "pre-paid SIM in the US" and
see what you find.


Can you give a *specific* reference? As I said, I *did* search before
our trip and didn't find anything suitable. BTW, the guy at the Radio
Shack store where I eventually bought the SIM+phone didn't understand
what I meant when I said I wanted a SIM for my phone.

7. Americans don't grasp that mobile phones are actually ... ummm ...
*phones*.

When I wanted/needed to register the pre-paid AT&T GoPhone mobile
phone which I had to buy, AT&T insisted on having me use *another*
phone to perform the registration procedure. Duh! What about using
the bloody mobile phone itself, like is done in every other
country!?


You just found out why nobody uses ATT here. There are lots of other
you know.


Yes, but my prime concern is network-coverage. I've been bitten too
many times by non-coverage in rural areas or/and no-roaming onto other/
better networks, that I don't go for less-known brands anymore. Before
our trip I checked T-Mobile USA's (GSM) coverage in the areas where we
wanted to go, and it was worse than AT&T's. So I got a AT&T SIM(/phone).

For example in Australia it's Telstra for me, both mobile and 'fixed'
(pre-paid phone/calling card). I don't need to call that often/long, so
price/rates is of less concern, but *when* I need to call, I want to be
*able* to, and not be stuck with "A bloody useless mobile phone"
(courtesy John Williamson).

[...]

You were just running into New Jersey tourists. Most of us do know
how to drive. Except seniors who will signal a turn for about 10
miles.


Careful! You're *talking* to one of them there "seniors"!

[...]

Hmmm. Must be why I load up on Swedish coffee everytime I go there.


*Don't* get me started on the Swedes!

But seriously (why?), I never heard of Swedish coffee. Probably have
to try it some time.

N.B. Of course the Americans also do not have beer, but that fact is
so indisputable, I won't have to get into *that* one.


Not even close. We have tons of microbreweries that produce beers
that are every bit as good as any beer anywhere in the world. And
widely availble in any liquor store as well. Try a Sam Adams
sometime.


The beer-bashing thingie does the trick every time, doesn't it?

11. Americans don't realize that you don't *have* to 'deep' fry fish.

Why do they insist on deep frying perfectly good fish, even in
places which are directly on the coast, like Morro Bay and
(Fisherman's Warf in) San Francisco? If they don't *like* fish, then
why not just not order/eat it!? No sense in ruining it for others.


Should have gone to Chinatown where they know how to do fish fine.
They're Americans too you know.


We actually *did* go there, but for some strange reason we couldn't
read the signs. I wonder why!

But seriously, San Francisco's Chinatown is *huge*, isn't it? It went
on for blocks and blocks and blocks!

[...]

14. Americans actually stop for pedestrians.

This one also takes getting used to, but also is quite nice and
safe. Sometimes you're not even trying or wanting to cross the
street and you see stopped cars all around, patiently waiting for
you to make up your bloody mind.


That's because we don't want them denting our nice cars.


Great one! One to remember!

15. Americans are mostly nice, friendly people.

We mostly met and talked with nice, friendly people. That's of
course because we're so bloody nice ourselves.


We love foreigners. They're so cute!!


You can get us as pets, you know, and we're mostly house-trained.

OTOH, I couldn't find a toilet *anywhere*, and these people kept pointing
me to 'restroom's while I wasn't even tired! Stupid idiots! So after
getting home after two weeks, I had to have some *serious* leak (mostly
due to that beer####Bud of yours)!

[...]

To put things in perspective, they were even so nice to give us a
reference point in a staff-member from hell in a Best Western motel
somewhere. To set the tone, she was 'preceded' by two young,
clueless, incompetent and inaudible others. She managed to treat us
like dirt / non-existing for problems which the *motel* caused.


There are another kind?


(Ignoring the invisible smiley,) Yes, our experience was mostly
positive or at least neutral. If you treat them nice/friendly and with
respect, most people will return the favor, and that goes both ways
(service person -- customer).

[...]
  #23  
Old December 12th, 2008, 01:12 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
Frank Slootweg
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 275
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.

Sharx35 wrote:

"Frank Slootweg" wrote in message
b.home.nl...
Sharx35 wrote:

Well, I have travelled in the U.S., too. After several dozen trips to
the U.S., **MY** bad experiences are a fraction of yours. I suspect it
might be due to your arrogant Eurocentric, obviously chip on the
shoulder attitude to U.S. culture. I am not a U.S. resident nor a
U.S. citizen, however I much prefer to travel in the U.S., compared to
the continent of Europe where the common attitude is that "WE are the
centre of the cultural universe and the rest of the world are wannabes
or boors". :Hell will freeze over before I travel to the continent of
decay, Europe.


If you tried a parody of the sterotype dumb American, then you
succeeded with flying colors.

If, as I'm afraid, your response was serious, you *are* the
stereotype, dumb and no sense of humo[u]r whatsoever.

We *had* no "bad experiences" (except for the one staff member from
hell). We had a *great* time and I *said* so.

Of course you are fully entitled to your travel preferences, like any
of us is. So if you dislike Europe/the_Europeans, don't go there, plain
and simple.

In any case, *all* sterotyping is wrong by definition, i.e. also
sterotyping of Americans and Europeans (except of course for the French!
:-)).

Luckily - to no suprise - all others picked up on my humo[u]r, irony,
sarcasm, self-infliction, etc.. So if you didn't/don't like it, tough!


Bull ****ing ****. You bitched, whined and moaned throughout 90% of your
snivelling post. FOAD, already.


Thanks for removing any doubt which any of us might have had (As *if*!)!
  #24  
Old December 12th, 2008, 01:27 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
Frank Slootweg
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 275
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.

Don Kirkman wrote:
It seems to me I heard somewhere that Frank Slootweg wrote in article
e.nl:

[...]
The extremes were on highway 395, probably somewhere between where
89 joins from the west and Bridgeport in the south. Next time I'll make
pictures! :-)


Western geography has a large effect on gas prices. The northerly end
of the Sierras is sparsely settled and prices will tend to be
higher--higher hauling costs and fewer gallons sold. From about
Bridgeport south you come abreast of the state and federal parks
across the mountains (Yosemite, for instance) and have more and larger
towns, hence more traffic. This may account for lower prices


Your explanation sounds very plausible! I *did* think about the
sparsely settled/isolated aspects, because we're used to that from our
travels in Oz ("Did we see a car today?", "Yes.", "Wow, this is a bloody
busy road!"). But I thought, different places on one and the same road
shouldn't make any difference. But I didn't think about the *crossroads*
(especially because some/most of them - noteably the Yosemite one and
the one just above - were closed at the time).

Thanks.
  #25  
Old December 12th, 2008, 02:13 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
Mike O'Sullivan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 428
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.

Frank Slootweg wrote:
Hmmm! Before going to the US, I looked at AT&T's and T-Mobile USA's
websites. I didn't find anything like that on the AT&T site (Don't get
me started on AT&T sites.), and the T-Mobile USA site specifically said
that you could get SIM-only only via their website (and because that
required a US ship-to address, that was no option (not counting the
poorer (than AT&T) coverage)).

So now I'm the proud owner of a beautiful, but totally useless
(outside the US), AT&T GoPhone Nokia 2610 phone [1]. It cost me all of
US$ 19.99 (without tax, mind you (Don't get me started on the
without-tax thingie.)), so I'm not complaining. *And* it includes a charger
which is 110-240VAC (not 240VAC-only), so I can use it everywhere for
all my Nokia phones (albeit with plug-adapters, which are needed
anyway)!


I use an unlocked Nokia.
and I've never had any trouble in Canada buying a Fido SIM card.
  #26  
Old December 12th, 2008, 02:15 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
Mike O'Sullivan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 428
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.

Sharx35 wrote:

Well, I have travelled in the U.S., too. After several dozen trips to
the U.S.,
**MY** bad experiences are a fraction of yours. I suspect it might be
due to
your arrogant Eurocentric, obviously chip on the shoulder attitude to U.S.
culture. I am not a U.S. resident nor a U.S. citizen, however I much
prefer to travel in the U.S., compared
to the continent of Europe where the common attitude is that "WE are the
centre of the cultural universe
and the rest of the world are wannabes or boors". :Hell will freeze over
before I
travel to the continent of decay, Europe.


No, please don't!
  #27  
Old December 12th, 2008, 05:38 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
Frank Slootweg
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 275
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.

Mike O'Sullivan wrote:
Frank Slootweg wrote:
Hmmm! Before going to the US, I looked at AT&T's and T-Mobile USA's
websites. I didn't find anything like that on the AT&T site (Don't get
me started on AT&T sites.), and the T-Mobile USA site specifically said
that you could get SIM-only only via their website (and because that
required a US ship-to address, that was no option (not counting the
poorer (than AT&T) coverage)).

So now I'm the proud owner of a beautiful, but totally useless
(outside the US), AT&T GoPhone Nokia 2610 phone [1]. It cost me all of
US$ 19.99 (without tax, mind you (Don't get me started on the
without-tax thingie.)), so I'm not complaining. *And* it includes a charger
which is 110-240VAC (not 240VAC-only), so I can use it everywhere for
all my Nokia phones (albeit with plug-adapters, which are needed
anyway)!


I use an unlocked Nokia.
and I've never had any trouble in Canada buying a Fido SIM card.


Very interesting, but I wasn't and we weren't talking about Canada,
was I / were we!? :-)

And why would you want to buy a SIM card for your dog!? :-)
  #28  
Old December 12th, 2008, 06:14 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
Frank Slootweg
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 275
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.

[Re-added rec.travel.australia+nz because of the references to Oz (and I
don't believe in splitting up running discussions, unless there is a
very good reason). Of course anyone is free to think/act otherwise.]

Lawrence Akutagawa wrote:
[...]

Just for your edification - in California the sales tax (about 8.25%,
depending on where in the state) is already included in the quoted per
gallon price of gasoline. A number of years ago it was excluded from the
quoted price such that the tax was calculated subsequently as per all other
taxable purchases. But no longer.


"tax", you pushed yet another one of my buttons (Perhaps that Sharx35
dude was right after all!?).

The tax thingie is rather confusing, needlessly complex, and, AFAICT,
has no advantages for the customer.

In most - but not all - cases, tax was excluded. As you say, the
percentage depends on the location and probably also on the type of
product/service. If you're buying one or a few products, it's hard to
impossible to give the shop attendant the exact amount or to (try to)
get as little change as possible back, until the cash register has
calculated how much you own. That is a nuisance, only takes addtional
time, and I see no advantage (*Is* there any advantage?).

In comparison, in Europe/Oz the sales price always includes the tax
(well, nearly always for Oz). In our country - The Netherlands - it's
even illegal to quote exclusive prices to 'consumers'. At minimal both
exclusive and inclusive have to be quoted, and even that is severely
frowned upon.

And it is always a good idea when driving an unfamiliar car for the first
time to check out all the controls - including the one releasing the gas
tank lid - before driving off. It is rather dicey to have to find the
windshield wiper control while going 70 mph in a sudden downpour at night.


Yeah, I normally do that, at least when there's some light, which
there (much) wasn't for our first rental.

One time, after driving from SFO airport to somewhere in Silicon
Valley, I found myself in front of the motel, unable to get the key out
of the ignition. Had to push some unkown button, which European cars
didn't/don't have. Quite annoying and embarrasing after a light flight
from Europe.

I didn't check the gas tank lid, but I filled up early and we had the
nice lady in the mirror, hadn't we!?

Hope you had a good time and saw some things different than from where you
are.


We had and did. If anything was even remotely 'familiar' it was Joshua
Tree NP, Mojave NP and Death Valley NP, and it was only somewhat similar
to the things we love in Australia, so we just had a cheaper - and sadly
enough much shorter - trip, than our 'normal' trips to/in Australia. Our
daughter asked "So the US is your new Australia?". Well it isn't, but
it's beautiful as well and comparisons are equally sillay as unfair.

I trust you were able to range as far north as Bodie and perhaps as
far east as Zion. You next go, try working in Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches,
Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Goblin Valley, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley,
etc. You won't regret doing so.


(Without looking them up,) Most of the places you mention don't ring a
bell. To be clear, we visited only California (and a tiny bit (Pahrump)
of Nevada) and only a *part* of CA (see above).
  #29  
Old December 12th, 2008, 07:11 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
Lawrence Akutagawa
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 462
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.


"Frank Slootweg" wrote in message
b.home.nl...
[Re-added rec.travel.australia+nz because of the references to Oz (and I
don't believe in splitting up running discussions, unless there is a
very good reason). Of course anyone is free to think/act otherwise.]

Lawrence Akutagawa wrote:
[...]

Just for your edification - in California the sales tax (about 8.25%,
depending on where in the state) is already included in the quoted per
gallon price of gasoline. A number of years ago it was excluded from the
quoted price such that the tax was calculated subsequently as per all
other
taxable purchases. But no longer.


"tax", you pushed yet another one of my buttons (Perhaps that Sharx35
dude was right after all!?).

The tax thingie is rather confusing, needlessly complex, and, AFAICT,
has no advantages for the customer.

In most - but not all - cases, tax was excluded. As you say, the
percentage depends on the location and probably also on the type of
product/service. If you're buying one or a few products, it's hard to
impossible to give the shop attendant the exact amount or to (try to)
get as little change as possible back, until the cash register has
calculated how much you own. That is a nuisance, only takes addtional
time, and I see no advantage (*Is* there any advantage?).

In comparison, in Europe/Oz the sales price always includes the tax
(well, nearly always for Oz). In our country - The Netherlands - it's
even illegal to quote exclusive prices to 'consumers'. At minimal both
exclusive and inclusive have to be quoted, and even that is severely
frowned upon.

And it is always a good idea when driving an unfamiliar car for the first
time to check out all the controls - including the one releasing the gas
tank lid - before driving off. It is rather dicey to have to find the
windshield wiper control while going 70 mph in a sudden downpour at
night.


Yeah, I normally do that, at least when there's some light, which
there (much) wasn't for our first rental.

One time, after driving from SFO airport to somewhere in Silicon
Valley, I found myself in front of the motel, unable to get the key out
of the ignition. Had to push some unkown button, which European cars
didn't/don't have. Quite annoying and embarrasing after a light flight
from Europe.

I didn't check the gas tank lid, but I filled up early and we had the
nice lady in the mirror, hadn't we!?

Hope you had a good time and saw some things different than from where
you
are.


We had and did. If anything was even remotely 'familiar' it was Joshua
Tree NP, Mojave NP and Death Valley NP, and it was only somewhat similar
to the things we love in Australia, so we just had a cheaper - and sadly
enough much shorter - trip, than our 'normal' trips to/in Australia. Our
daughter asked "So the US is your new Australia?". Well it isn't, but
it's beautiful as well and comparisons are equally sillay as unfair.

I trust you were able to range as far north as Bodie and perhaps as
far east as Zion. You next go, try working in Bryce, Capitol Reef,
Arches,
Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Goblin Valley, Mesa Verde, Monument
Valley,
etc. You won't regret doing so.


(Without looking them up,) Most of the places you mention don't ring a
bell. To be clear, we visited only California (and a tiny bit (Pahrump)
of Nevada) and only a *part* of CA (see above).



  #30  
Old December 12th, 2008, 07:29 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada,rec.travel.australia+nz
mcdonaldREMOVE TO ACTUALLY REACH [email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 25
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.

Frank Slootweg wrote:

11. Americans don't realize that you don't *have* to 'deep' fry fish.

Americans do, however, realize that if you don't want fried fish, you
shouldn't seek out resturants that sell only fried fish.


My point (which you snipped) was/is that there *are* no other
restaurants (in those areas). So apparently many/most Americans *do* want/
tolerate such 'food'.


If you are reffering to 395, I certainly remember places to
get good fish in both Lone Pine and Bishop.

Doug McDonald
 




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