What’s 9442 miles between friends?

This evening I went to Target which, to my English brethren across the pond, is like Woolworths used to be…but on steroids.

I found what I was looking for and made my way to the till (checkout). 

The guy at the till (checkout), upon hearing me speak, joined the slew of uncultured twats I’ve encountered since moving to America by asking, “So what part of Australia are you from?”

Here we go again.

He could’ve simply asked where I was from, but no; he thought he’d be clever and join the ranks of twattery by asking the question I’ve heard about a million times since I emigrated.

Even if I was from down under, would he have known the area? I doubt it. This guy probably couldn’t find his own arse with both hands. [¹]

It didn’t stop there. He went on to embarrass himself and his country further.

Here is an almost literal account of the entire conversation.

Him – “So what part of Australia are you from?”

Me – “Guess again”

There was a unnecessarily long pause.

Him – “New Zealand?”

Me – “Nope. Where else do they speak ENGLISH a lot?”

He paused again and really thought about it this time.

Him – “Scotland?”

I couldn’t believe it.

Me – “No. Think about it. Where is the most ENGLAND place you can think of that speaks ENGLISH?”

Him – “Well, there’s England but….”

I had to interrupt him. I didn’t want to know what level of ignorance was churning that sentence out of his mouth.

Me – “That’s right, England. I’m English”

He looked at me skeptically and turned to scan my goods though his till (checkout).

Him – “Huh, well you don’t sound English. You sound Australian”.

No I don’t; I sound English.
Do you know how I know I sound English? Because I’m English! That’s where I came from! The Australian accent is completely different.

I was warned that a majority of Yanks thinks we’re either Ozzies or Kiwis, when in fact we’re just Poms.

It amazes me how they can’t tell the difference and then, when corrected, proceed to ask me if I’m sure or – in the case of Captain Cretin tonight – dispute it.

Then, on cue, he decided to tell me about people he knows or is related to that once lived in England or he knew someone in England, or read about England in some book.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fucking atlas.

image

[¹] Also down under

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Coming live from Las Vegas!

I’ve made it!  I’m here!

I now live in Las frickin’ Vegas!

welcome to LV

What a massive cow shit of a difference from Crawley in England.

We arrived on Tuesday and it’s now Thursday, so I’ve had a little time to get my bearings.  I know I have a lot left to experience, but even in this short time I have some early observations that I want to share.These observations will be separated into three headings; Driving, Shopping and “Oh, you’re From England?”

The first of these is:

Driving

It all looks so easy.  The roads are about three times as wide as those in England, most of the cars are automatic and the speed limits are lower…so by rights it should all be smooth and easy.

Not so.

There are no road markings!  Ok, I exaggerate, there are a FEW road markings, but only a fraction of what I’m used to in England.  This makes junctions mildly terrifying.

Also, they don’t really make it clear that a lane is ending on the three lane road you’re on, despite the fact that the road doesn’t actually narrow in width.  For a guy like me who is used to specific lanes (WITH road markings), it gets a little unnerving that you’re now effectively driving on a lane and a half.

Then, out of nowhere, the lane you’re in suddenly becomes a mandatory left or right turn with minimal warning and you’re somehow expected to deal with it without impaling yourself on the massive 18 wheeler in the correct lane!

Over here it’s all about signage.  Small postage stamp sized signs with full sentences to read, positioned in obscure places tucked away out of your field of vision.  Well, except for ‘STOP’ signs; they’re EVERYWHERE!  In addition, they require a mandatory stop, even if you can see that there aren’t any cars coming for miles around.

These octagonal bastards are used a lot at four-way junctions (or ‘intersections’) where the rule is: ‘The first person who gets to the junction and stops is the first person who gets to go’.  I suppose it makes some kind of vague sense until you arrive at an intersection the exact same time as someone else; then it becomes some kind of weird Mexican stand off.

I miss simple ‘Give Way’ road markings.

give-way-road-marking

Then there are the traffic lights.  Where do I start?

In the UK they play a simple role; red for ‘Stop’ and green for ‘Go’ (with amber as the transition between them).  In Las Vegas they seem to have different rules depending on which junction you’re at, whether it’s a Thursday or if your star sign has the moon rising in Aquarius.

For example, you should stop at a red light if you’re turning right, right?  Nope, you CAN turn right at a red light, that is UNLESS the microscopic sign fifteen feet above you tells you ‘No turn on red’; that’s nearly caught me a few times.

Then if you’re turning left, you can obviously do so if the left arrow is green, and you can’t if it’s red….but if it’s flashing amber you can turn left providing the lofty sign says ‘Yield to Traffic’.  Surely that means you have to stay still and let traffic pass?  Nope, it means you can turn left providing it’s safe to do so.

traffic signal hell

Then there are flashing red lights that sometimes mean stop and sometimes mean there are lights ahead….or is that flashing amber?

Did I mention that if you’re in a lane designated for turning left or right, you STILL have to ensure your indicators are on.

Plus, the speed limits are laughable.  Near our house it’s a 35mph limit on a road the size of a UK dual carriageway, which is 60mph.  These are long, wide roads with plenty of room, so why so slow?

With the speed limits, Stop signs, unmarked roads and traffic lights from hell….it takes forever to get anywhere.

All this in a country where 32% of citizens own guns.

Still, one thing that the USA does do right with regards to motoring is the price of fuel and the fuel pumps that lock into place.

Although, if I hear Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “When I See You Again” on the radio one more time, I’m going to make it 33%.

Shopping

One of the things I wasn’t looking forward to in the USA was the sheer magnitude of adverts (or ‘commercials’) on the TV.  Every 10 minutes, for 10 minutes.

I have to say the frequency of these interruptions is a bit annoying, but at least the adverts are better than those in the UK.  American commercials tend to be funnier and more upbeat.  Plus, hearing all the side effects of some miracle drug or another is just laughable.

‘Want to reduce your blood sugar?  Ask your doctor about Fuckitol.  Side effects may include dizziness, high blood pressure, impaired vision, rectal bleeding, the loss of one or more limbs, nasal collapse and excess navel hair.  So ask your doctor about Fuckitol today”

Now, I know this next thing has been covered a million times on a million blogs, but adding tax to your purchase at the cash register sucks!

This is mildly annoying when buying clothes and stuff, but we bought a laptop at Best Buy and I got stung for $26 extra when I came to pay for it.  At least in the UK you paid what it said on the label.  I miss that already!

Today we went to Barnes and Noble, which is America’s answer to Waterstones.  But that’s where the similarity ends.  This ‘bookshop’ had (in addition to books) Movies, toys, movie merchandise, a café and restrooms.  Yes, this bookshop had toilets!  It seems that almost every shop (or ‘store’) in Las Vegas has toilets.  This is where England gets it wrong.

No-one likes to shop on a full bladder (or bowel).  Well done America, you win with regards to retail.

“Oh, you’re From England?”

No matter where we’ve gone over the last 3 days, as soon as someone hears my accent I get asked where I’m from.

Most correctly guess England; some still think it’s Australia.

As soon as they learn that I’m from England, they tell me they have a cousin/uncle/sister in law that either lives in England/Wales/Ireland (pick one), or originally comes from there.

I don’t care.  Just give me my laptop.

My favourite (I can’t bring myself to use ‘favorite’ yet) encounter, however, was in Trader Joe’s; an organic and vastly overpriced supermarket.  The cashier was loving my “British accent” and asked me “Is it always foggy in England?”

foggy london

Yes, and Jack The Ripper still roams the streets of London.

Now, this is only after three days of being here.  God only knows what experiences I’ll have going forward.

I can’t wait to find out.

Confusion at the coffee house

There was confusion in Starbucks this morning.  The woman who was calling out the finished beverages at the collection area had the loosest grasp of English.

“Vebbi capparan cheeno fomackle?”

There was no response.  Instead we were all looking at each other baffled as this small woman held up a large paper cup full of mystery.

“Vebbi capparan cheeno fomackle?”

Still nothing from us.  It didn’t help that we were all in need of coffee, which may or may not have been ready.

The small woman looked at the name scrawled on the cup and carefully shouted, “Mackle?”

The man next to me said “Michael?”

“Yes, dis is faryoo”.

“Is that a cappuccino?” he enquired.

“Yes, vebbi capparan cheeno”.

And as Michael picked up his not-so-hot-anymore cup of coffee and left, I realised that ‘Vebbi capparan cheeno fomackle’ meant ‘Venti cappuccino for Michael’.

It didn’t stop there.

“Gradday hansel nub skinnle latty foserra?” (Grande hazelnut skinny latte for Sarah)

“Smor mericano wiz is press shotten exta hor mik fomerry?” (Small Americano with an espresso shot and extra hot milk for Mary)

“Lar feeter coff foffipp?” (Large filter coffee for Phillip)

“Tea fomanderlin”.

Actually, this was the easiest one to understand.  After all, it was tea.  It didn’t matter what words she murdered after saying ‘tea’, the owner (Madeline) knew it was for her.

There is always one who goes to an American coffee chain in England to have tea; the most English of hot drinks.

“Wozdee wul kuh mintoo?”

coffee cat

No legroom legroom seats

I’ve boarded the plane. I’ve had to turn right, which I hate doing, and I head towards the back of the aircraft gleefully looking for my non-upgraded consolation; an emergency exit seat. I look at the row numbers as I repeat mine in my head over and over…

Row 49, row 49, row 49

Ah, here it is. Great.

Im looking at the seat configuration as i’m in seat K which I now see is the window seat. Cool.

I look down and realise that most of the legroom is taken up by the door, so I only have enough legroom for my left leg.

I’m basically sitting side saddle.

Perfect.

Add to this the fact that I have two Americans sat behind me with that valley girl Britney Spears type of accent that goes up at the end of every (dumb) sentence, and my personal hell is complete.

Oh well, at least it’s only for nearly 8 hours.

——–
Update:
——–

Since finishing this blog entry, it’s become clear that the people next to me aren’t coming…so now I have 3 seats to myself.

Time to spread out and sleep.

Goodnight.