Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things I learnt during my trip to the States

I was over in Orlando, Florida for the past 8 or so days. Here are somethings I've found out..

  • Look Left !! - People in the U.S. drive on the other side of the road. Too many times have I looked on the wrong side and thought there was no cars approaching and when I went to cross the road, I nearly ended up walking into a oncoming vehicle.
  • Carry your ID everywhere - If you want to be able to buy alcohol that is. On the first few nights out after my conference dinner had finished, we hit the bars. Me being way over 21, didn't think for one moment that I had to go back upstairs to my hotel room to pickup my ID. No ID = No Alcohol (apparently, if you looked under 21). Although I enjoyed the flattery, I had to hang around some seriously old guys and beg them to buy me alcohol the whole night.

  • On the subject of Alcohol - they had my favorite tequila - 1800 - at every bar I went to. Even the Ale House next to the hotel. Its not even available in most pubs over in Australia. Sweeet... :)

  • I'm a size 4 - Whooot !!! U.S sizes range from 0-20 (Someone correct me if I'm wrong).Enough said.

  • Always ask for Aisle Seat - My flight over to the States was 14.5 hrs then an addition 5 hrs from LA to Orlando. For the 1st leg of my flight I was put into the window seat, with the two seats beside me occupied by a rather large elderly couple. They both required extension seat belts attachments (normal ones did not fit) and their tray table couldn't even come down properly. I ended up offering 1/2 of my tray table, so they could place drinks on it. For most of the 14 hrs of flying I was stuck against the window, sitting on about 2/3 of my seat. I also decided against consuming any liquids as getting out of the row to get to a toilet would be rather troublesome, if not - um.. impossible. On the 2nd leg, I was put next to an elderly lady who was wheelchair bound. Not much better. And forget asking for a exit row seat, you aren't going to get it.

  • When in doubt.. Always Tip - For the first few days, this was the hard one to remember. I really didn't know when or when not to tip. Holding money out for someone was quite a weird concept for me. But then when you realise the minimum wage over there is $3.50 an hour, you realise the necessity for having to tip for everything.

  • Security checkpoints at airports - Require you to take off your shoes !! And if you didn't know it beforehand, security personnel will just be really pissed off with you. Its like you are expected to know their rules. The next time I fly, I'm just going to be wearing my slippers.

  • The venues serving alcohol closes at 2am - And thats 2am sharp ! So at 1.30am order a lot of alcohol, drink it all up and hope that the last order you made is able to satisfy you throughout the night.

  • No one seems to Walk - Everyone drives. When we walked from one Mall to another Mall and asked Information on how to get to the next shopping mall we wanted to find. The guy replies... 'its about 5 mins from here straight down this road'. 'Oh.. 5 mins walk is not too bad'... someone replies. 'You mean you walked here ??????' *Information guy cracks up laughing*. . . 'Ummm.. yeah.. we are Australian'... We were then told to catch a taxi and forget about walking.

  • On the subject of Cars - I was able to find Drive-through ATMs everywhere, but no actual ATMs in the wall of buildings. On one of the days I had run out of cash, I had to walk up to a drive-through ATM and withdraw cash out of that instead.
Thats about it for now. I had heaps of fun throughout my trip. Hopefully will be able to see everyone again next year. For now, I'm still suffering from my major jet lag... time to go snooze a bit. Gdnite !

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