10 Things I Hate About U.S.A.

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Chocolate Five Star Hostel and Crew House

Flag of United States  , Florida
Sunday, August 28, 2011

***A purposefully provocative title to entice you to

1. $1 dollar bills - they totally fill up your wallet giving a false impression of being loaded with cash
2. GST - who still uses general sales tax? It's so frustrating to not pay the price you see, and my arithmetic aint that quick!
3. Sugar-overload - too much sugar in Coca Cola, cereals, chocolate. I have a sweet tooth, yes, but I don't want it to become a rotten tooth!
4. Clubs/Bars closing at 2am! What's that about? But at least the party seems to be happening EVERY night, at least in L.A. and San Diego. Vegas was 24 hours though, and New Orleans was at the bartender's discretion.
5. Californian driving habits. Generally they don't give you show, in fact, they accelerate as soon as you put your indicator on.
6. Uneven freeway surfaces. Groovy, baby! But not in a good way!
7. Tipping culture - why should we supplement salaries in this way? And 15 to 20%?! Employers, please just pay them what they're worth! But when in Rome... 
8. Wide slits (for voyeurs?) between public toilet doors and their frames.
9. The overriding negative sentiment towards Obama and everything he proposes - on TV, radio, in the papers. It seems he's fallen out of favour and re-election is not looking likely. But then it's sensationalism and bad news that sells.
10. struggling to find a 10th because truth be told, we ABSOLUTELY LOVED our time in the States and could easily have spent a couple more months meeting its warm people and exploring its wide range of attractions.

Specifically we loved:

1. Friendly, chatty people who proactively greet on the streets and offer help/ directions/ commentary within seconds, and offering us to stay at their homes. Thanks so much, Lisa, Ray and Walter!
2. Gorgeous national parks and coastlines, Zion was our favourite by far!
3. Vibrant, lively cities but San Diego ticks the most boxes and therefore tops the lot.
4. Bars allowing us in with flip-flops!
5. Hot weather - ranging from 26 deg average in L.A. to 40 deg in Vegas with wind that felt like a hairdryer blowing in your face - but I suspect we would've enjoyed the hot weather less if it wasn't for the beaches and pools.
6. Relaxed Health & S(m)afety regulations, allowing fires are many beaches and national parks that we visited. We never did get around to braaing tho!
7. Airconditioned city buses, some with TV and most announcing the name of the next stop - great for disorientated tourists.
8. Free wi-fi on the Greyhound bus, at every hostel and on the Metrorail in Miami!
9. Cinnamon buns that pop out of a can, baked in 15 mins in the oven, then smeared with icing disguised as the can's lid.
10. "Compact" car rentals that the rest of the world considers normal size! That was the case with Alamo, less so with Hertz.
11. Bolani - a type of Afghan flat bread in a variety of flavours (we loved pumpkin and spinach) with cilantro pesto and sweet jalapeno sauce - bought from a farmer's market in Mill Valley.
12. Cheap alcohol - 1.5litre name-branded (bottled!) wine like Gallo for $5.99, down to $3.50 in Nevada!
13. $5 tasty, pepperoni pizza @ just outside K-Marts (apparently a pizza chain that had seen better days)

That's how 3 weeks turned into two months. Now finally the time has come to leave the U.S.A. A new adventure awaits in our first non-Western, non-English speaking country. No longer will I need to gravitate towards the sweet melody of Espanol, eavesdropping on conversations by Latinos, grasping random words as they fly by at top speed. Soon we will have no choice but to converse in Spanish. I predict that we shall soon exhaust this well-rehearsed and much needed phrase: "Mas despacio, por favor". Slower, please!

Dashboard stats:
Average daily spend in  USA -  38 /person / day - higher than NZ as it includes hostel/motel almost every night plus an internal flight and loads of activities and meals out.
Backgammon score - 212 (Mario) to 198 (Dee) - yes, we slacked but the States kept us entertained!

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thelees on

We just remembered one more thing we hated about the U.S. - the potential for credit card fraud! Too many places like supermarkets and convenience stores merely required the swipe of our credit card to complete the transaction. No PIN or even signature needed! Whatsup with that??!!

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