Friday, January 22, 2010

7 small things that shocked me in the US

I had not expected to be shocked when I went to the US as Australia is not that far removed, and of course we watch 'them' a lot on TV.  Don't get me wrong, I loved a lot about America.  Would love to go back there and do a road trip.  I just did not expect to be shocked there.  But I was...mostly by small things, like:

1)  They really don't know anything about Australia.  Like what language we speak.  Or exactly where we are on the map (one pointed at New Guinea).  And um whether we have cars.  This is kinda cool as you can pretty much tell them anything 'oh yes, all the men in Australia wrestle crocodiles', 'yes, we have lots of desert.  We are made tough in Australia, you know'. Of course, in many cases, they won't actually understand you, no matter how slowly you speak.

2)  Shiny white shoes and white socks.  This I noticed on my first day in Disneyworld.  Otherwise attractive men would be wearing shiny white running shoes, with perhaps just one or two stripes, and bright white socks, stretched neatly up past the ankle.  I realised then that I was highly unlikely to find any American male attractive.

3)  Denim shorts, beige shorts.  Apparently this is the travel uniform of the American, and they are all briefed on it at birth.  Whether in Disneyworld or a Las Vegas casino, you could divide the American tourists into two groups.  Denim short wearers.  And beige short wearers.  In most cases, teamed with a 'fanny pack'.  Gorgeous!

4)  The food.  On my first morning there I went to a place called 'Ponderosa Steakhouse' for breakfast.  Apparently icecream, fruit in heavy syrup (as in pie type), and a lot of fried materials constitute a good breakfast.  And parents actually let their kids have icecream for breakfast.  In Florida there was a lot of difficulty in getting healthy food (including total failure to get low fat milk for coffee...everywhere had only half n half). In my journal for day 5 of the holiday my last lines were 'Feel like my body is polluted - food here is so disgusting'.

5)  Gum chewing.  Everywhere.  In the supermarket line.  On the monorail.  While walking.  While talking.   Not just kids.  Adults...people actually with kids. Frequently with mouth wide open. Snapping it loudly.  Chewing it as if it was sport. I found this just gross.

6)  Conspicuous patriotism.  Rows of flags at car dealerships/shops/restaurants/schools/outside people's houses.  Calling it 'the greatest country on earth' on TV.  Here we just don't do that...Australian flags are on display at some government buildings.  That is pretty much it.  If someone has a flag outside their house it is rare enough that you can use it as a marker in giving directions (just down Canning Highway, and left just after the house with the flag...).

7)  Brochures advertising 'female company'.  Not everywhere, but in Vegas they are handed out to all men (at multiple points) as they walk along the Las Vegas strip.  It doesn't matter if they are with their wife, children or grandmother, they will be handed a brochure with photos and contact details of the women at the particular establishment.  With no doubt at all as to what is being offered!

(photo of American tourist from worth a visit if you enjoy making fun of Americans or like Disney...naturally I fall into both categories :D)


  1. so true:) even I feel the same..If you want to see well dressed and handsome guys and girls visit Zurich..and see the difference:)

  2. Oh, making fun of Americans is fun :D And ooh Renu I will have to go there... Being part swiss I will of course take all credit too :P (of course Australians are equally appalling to Americans in dress, just in a different way :D)

  3. Oh, and was funny Renu, here in our casinos there is a dress code so I took a dress plus some other nice clothes (I have a navy suit which I often wore while travelling) and of course soon realised how out of place I would me if I dressed up, despite the glamorous view of Vegas that is promoted.

  4. true...and I"M STUCK HERE WITH THEM! Now you know why I want to move to India. And the sock glad you saw white socks and white sneakers...some wear white athletic socks and black or brown shoes. pathetic.

  5. @ Amrit Thanks for visiting. And hmmm I get a feeling that you are familiar with the American in their natural habitat perhaps...don't know why...just a feeling...

    @ Love is Green! Yep, straight from the horse's mouth :D And yes, I can totally understand the need for escape...and of course the lure of India... And um, my 'big boss' wears white socks to work :D We regard him as being a cool non-conformist for this though... I'm not sure whether it was the blinding whiteness or the way the socks made their legs look kinda...nerdy...

  6. Oh dear, I hope you won't judge all America on Disney and Vegas, those are some weird places!

    I honestly don't know where these "tourist" Americans come from. No one in my regular life wears denim shorts and white socks with fanny packs, but people off to visit another part of the country always seem to.

    You're right about the flags, though. Everywhere! It's ridiculous. People have flags on their cars, their houses, their clothes, etc. I find it incredibly obnoxious and I've lived in America all my life.

  7. @Aamba Thank you for visiting :) And no, I definitely won't judge all on those places (I did see a lot of normal people as well, really, but they are far less entertaining :D). In fact, some Americans I am very fond of :)

    They seem to keep the denim shorts etc when overseas too - I have spotted them in Japan (where noone wears shorts), Thailand and Malaysia - that said, I am sure they are just the more noticeable ones (amazing how some people draw attention to themselves - one reason I avoid places where there are too many Australians - loud drunk Australians are very embarrassing!)

    So glad I am not the only one to find the flag thing odd. I mean, it is a cute flag and all, but tooo much! (and lol my kids have some American clothes I bought in lots from ebay and so even they have worn clothes with the US flag...:D)

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