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A couple of days ago i just got back from my first overseas trip. Where did i choose to go for this trip of mine? No other place than the fabled USA.

As the first Paul to go there since Paul Hogan with Crocodile Dundee it was important to observe the environment around me to bring back to Australia my finding from thousands of miles away.

Overall i was pleasantly surprised. Rather then seeing the stereotypical idea that we see on the TV, i instead discovered that the general american is very, very different from the stereotype indeed. Though... some things arent.

So, what i learnt from America.

  • Walmart is freaking huge!! There is enough space for a McDonalds in it :P
  • Highways are hugs as well. Here in Oz we conider 3 lanes big. In the US 6 lanes seems like the big ones
  • Everything in McDonalds is bigger
  • There is A LOT of unsecured wireless.. someone needs to secure that stuff
  • People like guns.
  • Politics is not something to talk about. It's a touchy subject
  • So is healthcare
  • Socialism is a very very very bad thing
  • Healthcare is very expensive. And i heard, the number one way people are put into bankruptcy
  • Everything is cheaper
  • The associate australians with odd things sometime
  • Just a tip for americans. Australians hardly ever say "You beauty mate" unless you're in the outback
  • Vegas is crazy :)

But in the end my holiday was not only insightful but great fun. I was glad to find the stereotype of Americans was wrong :)

And now i can actually post here again :) I'm not relying on McDonalds free wifi to contact people.

So, what do you guys think. Did i get anything wrong? :P

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Last Post by Paul Thompson
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Well, I've never heard an American say that Australians say ""You beauty mate", so I won't say you're wrong, I'm just puzzled. Hadn't realized that Aussies stereotyped us as stereotyping them that way.

There's nothing different about McDonald's here than anywhere else in the world. I don't think anything's bigger here than there.

Yes, they seem to be in all the Walmarts. If Walmart isn't in Australia now, it will be soon. And yes, they're really cheap.

As far as terminology goes, a 6-lane highway is 3 lanes in each direction. 6-lanes in each direction is a 12-lane highway. And yes, we have them. If you want to see real freeways, you need to see this one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Los_Angeles_Interchange

You have a seemingly infinite number of ways to screw up and end up on the wrong freeway, but you can actually get where you want to go. No one has been able to actually count the number of lanes twice in a row and get the same number both times.:)

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i'm curious what cities you visited. america is a diverse place, i think you may have been in a relatively conservative area of whatever city you went to. For example, i live in the city of Seattle. i would contradict some of your observations with anecdotes of my daily life.

-- there is no Wal-Mart in the city limits of Seattle. they've been zoned out, we don't want them here. you have to travel pretty far to the outskirts, 20+ miles, 1/2 hour drive time to get to one. my wife gets me to go there maybe once a year.

-- our freeways are big, and yet traffic congestion is a constant problem in every metro area. we keep building bigger freeways, but its never big enough. most of the cars on the road are occupied by a single-driver. we seriously need to reconsider transportation alternatives.

-- cyber crime, id theft, financial account breakins are highest in seattle than every other city (NY and SF are up there with us). it's blamed on the widespread practice of providing "free (unsecured) wifi". something does need to be done.

-- mcdonalds sucks. i dont know if it's the symptom or the cause, but "big quick and greasy" represents what's wrong with america. and i'm as guilty as anyone. a big mac sounds yummy right now :(

-- guns are a divisive issue. there are strong opinions on both sides.

-- people here LOVE to talk about politics. Perhaps the level of discussion here is different than where you come from, i cant say

-- focus about the "dangers" of healthcare and socialism are contrived talking points and just the latest bugbear of rightwing fearmongers to use as diversionary tactics.

-- yes, currently people who develop a catastrophic health problem in this country are screwed. the anti-healthcare reform reactionaries prefer we all just roll the dice and hope for the best.

-- everything seems cheaper here because the US Dollar is failing in international markets. Give thanks to deregulation and the widespread importing of our manufacturing base to countries with relaxed labor laws and cheaper overhead. Witness the decline of the american (economic) empire. cest la vie.

-- we do have definite and most certainly incorrect stereotypes about Australian culture. the Outback Steakhouse is one of our more widespread comical caricatures.

-- However, "you beauty mate" is not one of them. ive never heard that before in my life. sounds like you ran into some really weird drunk guy at a bar.

-- Vegas IS crazy. everyone knows this.


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Edited by jephthah: n/a

Votes + Comments
Hahaha good points :)
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I'm glad you enjoyed your trip :) Next time you visit you might want to go somewhere else, your experience may be much different. For example take a train from San Francisco California to New York, which is a trip of 3,000 miles across very diverse territory. Don't expect to see any Kangaroos though, we don't have any such animals except in zoos.

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probably: fat, loud, incurious, and expecting the rest of the world to cater to our whims.

it's the global stereotype of americans held everywhere.

you gotta wonder why that is.


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Edited by jephthah: n/a

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Or it might be every American is a gun-tote'n gunslinger.

Votes + Comments
i think that's more like some americans' stereotype of themselves. the reality is less cowboy, and more gangbangers and rednecks.
Attachments gunslinger.jpg 99.29 KB
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Hahaha.. well if you watch the news over here barely a night goes by that we do not hear about america and what is going on with the latest political situation and/or economic scenario. When the finance report goes on the news our currency is always compared to the US dollar. "The aussie dollar is trading 89.9 us cents today" would be something you would probably hear if you heard an australian news report.

So we get a lot of media from the US in the form of TV shows and music and such and we compare ourselves to it economically.

And i think because of the fact that though we do hear a LOT about the latest news over there and get the latest TV shows. It is rare that we actually get to see an average american (except for the ones you meet having a holiday)

So i don't know if the stereotype is a bad one per-say, more the fact that i didn't really know what to expect as most of the American interaction comes from news and TV. So i was pleasantly surprised and had a great time touring through America.

people here LOVE to talk about politics. Perhaps the level of discussion here is different than where you come from, i cant say

What i meant by "Don't talk politics" is more the fact that people (that we talked to) seemed a lot more passionate about their political views than i am used to. And as i don't know the full working of the government i just skipped that subject in case i offended anyone. :P

yes, currently people who develop a catastrophic health problem in this country are screwed. the anti-healthcare reform reactionaries prefer we all just roll the dice and hope for the best.

I do find the whole idea of Health insurance being mandatory amazing. Down under i can get away just fine without any from of health insurance. I am 16 now, but when i turn 18 i will pay taxes into a program called Medicare. It basically means if i go to a public hospital with something wrong (which i have done a few times) i can come out of there without paying a cent, even if i have stayed in there for weeks. It isn't a perfect system but if i have to pay a little bit more in taxes so someone else can get better, then i am more then happy to do that. :)

San Francisco California to New York, which is a trip of 3,000 miles across very diverse territory.

I would love to come back again :) That sounds kinda like a train that we have that goes from the bottom to the top of Australia through the outback. You are meant to see a lot of Kangaroos on that one though :P

cheers :D

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