Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Last Few Days in the USA

The last week was quieter than normal. I guess the Olympic Games took up a fair bit of time. We have had good coverage here via seven tv channels of which we get four via cable. A lot of the minor sports are shown live but the vast majority is packaged and shown delayed at prime time from 7-11pm. As expected they concentrate on American performances but if an Aussie is in the same heat you obviously get to see them. They show all finals whether Americans are in them or not.
On Saturday we went to a Vietnamese wedding. The father of the bride was a boat person all those years ago. He was interesting to talk to. There were about 180 people there. It was a combination of western and Vietnamese traditions and was a very pleasant evening. The food was great, basically Chinese, with a lot of seafood. The curried lobster was terrific. I will never know how you get the meat out of the shell with chopsticks so reverted to a fork. American wedding cakes are never
fruit cakes. This one was a strawberry and cream sponge even though it looked like "the real thing".
On Sunday we went on our Mississippi River cruise. Unfortunately we didn't get to go through the upper locks to St. Anthony Falls due to traffic restrictions but instead headed down river. There was not a lot to see except a few bridges, tree lined banks and the odd sandy "beach" with a few sunbakers. No one was swimming. I think the coliform count would be quite high. But the boat was really luxurious, it was a great sunny day and they served an ok brunch buffet.
So now it's time to think about coming home. All my flights have been confirmed and it will be an early 4 am start
for me on Thursday. Then it's 33 hours of travel with four connecting flights home via Seoul.
With all the cooking utensils packed up it's great excuse to eat out for the rest of the week. So we are going back to "THE" steak restaurant as well as some other favorites.
It's been an interesting 3 months living like a resident rather than a tourist. Life here is not too much different to that at home. Sure, some attitudes and cultural things differ but in the end Australians and Americans are very much alike, in the mid west, anyway.
There will be things I will miss and those I won't.
To close this adventure, here is a list of those things in no particular order.
MISS: decent roads
            lots of clean toilets
            great medium priced restaurants
            Caribou coffee
            great customer service
            obscene desserts*
            the city grid system
            decent public transport
            being allowed to turn right after stopping at red traffic lights
            cheap gas....ooooops, petrol
            pancake sandwiches
             Byerlies supermarket
             cheap cherries
             Culvers frozen custard (chocolate)
             wild salmon
             great mex

WON"T MISS: upside down light switches
                      power plugs with no switches
                      driving on the right hand side
                      being allowed to do u turns at traffic lights
                      the search for the closest parking place.
                      obscene desserts*
                      Fox News
                      reality tv
                      the arby glove (little turd!)
                      not being understood
                       "hanging on" to your knives and forks in some restaurants
                       24 hour parking meters
                       the indeterminate number of salad dressing choices
                       Bush and Kerry television advertisements

Talk to you next from home!

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