11 Things I Learned from my USA Roadtrip

 

Ooph, been a while since I've been on here. Been a busy bee, only a couple days before I get back to UK . In short, USA was awesome. Here's a few things I learned from my roadtrip here.

Don't worry, I'm not so green behind the years, this is probably my 5th time in the USA . First was in 1997 when we came just for DisneyWorld in Florida , and also the amazing World Trade Center . I'll never forget the awesome auditorium where you sit in seats, and watch a movie. Then you realise the seats are all moving, and it's a rollercoaster ride on a helicopter ride through Manhattan ! If any of you remember it from before 2001, tell me. 2nd time we were here in USA, we actually were living for 3 years and I went to middle+high school here in Brownstown, Michigan. I still remember loving the education system here (those GPAs) more than UK , and they'd already be reading more high-level stuff than UK education. 3rd and 4th times were just visits to mostly Canada and Niagara Falls , and my cousins and relatives from Detroit to Baltimore (where I am right now).

Why 11? Because…of some lame Spinal Tap joke. So, let's get on with what I learnt...

 

1. NYC people rock! How much? When we went into a subway to figure out if we could get back to our parking place by train and got confused, a random HOBO came up to us. Out of his own selfless heart, helped us even when we didn't ask. NYC has the most friendly people I've ever met. There's the stereotype in media that New Yorkers are rude, short-tempered, and basically a lot like my Pakistani people. Couldn't be further from the truth. These New York City people are the nicest people ever; they'll actively help you out and ask how you're doing if you're lost or look confused. These people are more polite and friendly than British people!

So next time you go to a foreign city and want to measure how friendly the folk are, see how many random people will help you without your provocation.

2. NYC or Manhattan is just like London . NYC is exactly a little brother of London in UK . Same kind of narrow alleys, gothic architecture, no parking places, Times Square is just like Piccadilly Circus , buses everywhere.

3. NYC, the city, sucks! It's a disaster of logistics. You'd think for being a little brother to London, they'd copy the great things we Londoners have. NYC has the worst public transportation for a metropolitan city I've ever come across. The Metro maps are a terrible mess, and makes me ache for London Underground maps. The subway is not that terrible, and the only saving grace it has over London underground is...AIR CONDITIONING! It's a huge advantage when you've been walking for 2 hours, and are sweating like hell. But the bus system is absolutely horrid.

Worst part? Most Yankees don't even know that much about the buses! Bus stops are very vague and hard to find. Nothing is told on the bus stops in terms of useful info. I know, it's crazy! Very rarely do you get to see the bus stops for the buses, and their routes, but nothing to the level that London bus stops have.

Moving around NYC is a pain and a half. Every part of NYC is badly organised. Road construction and blocked roads are everywhere. It has congested traffic just like London . We just wanted to get from Times Square back to near Union Square where the Statue of Liberty was, because we parked our car all the way down there. And it took us nearly 3 hours of walking, going from buses, and subway trains, and more walking. This was in the dead of the night. We walked so much into road construction and dead ends, that we even got to see GROUND ZERO! And I didn't even want to see the sorry mess of a state that the WTC was now in. :(

4. NYC still has awesome places to go to, like the Statue of Liberty tour. Times Square . Central Park .Too bad we didn't get to go to Little Italy or Chinatown , because we were already having so much trouble moving around in this damn city!

(video) The other videos I have are for the other states ( Michigan fishing; Missouri caves).

    

    

5. All of America is homogenised. You go from state to state, and everything looks the same. This is also true for England in some cases with the villages. Pennsylvania , Ohio , Missouri , or any other state we went through in the way had very similar landmarks and town structure. I'm guessing this is to make any n00b comfortable with no change. But jeez, it's freaky!

6. The HEALTH CRAZE hasn't even started here yet! While it's going insane over in UK with the Jamie Oliver, 5-a-day, and other government schemes to cut down on fast food and other bad routines, it's barely touched down over here. You go to a McDonald's or Burger King and there are no healthy options sticking out, no nutrition charts on the back of your fries box. It's just weird, considering this is the fattest nation in the whole universe. They gotta start from school dinners, and ban that Cheezits/Cheesasaurus Rex garbage!

7. Everything here is SUPER SIZE. I guess the documentary's name, "Super Size Me" was pretty apt. I'm not talking fast food. I'm talking ketchup bottles. Orange juice. Everything, except my favourite, apple juice. Why do you forsake me, SUPER SIZE AMERICA?!

8. Disney and Nickelodeon made a big mistake by abandoning great 2D cartoons in favour of  brainwashing kids with live-action tweenie shows. Disney is especially creepy. That Hannah Montana show's premise is more complicated than Nolan's "Memento"! She plays herself in real life (Miley Cyrus), and her music producer dad is himself, but she has an alter ego who's a pop diva called Hannah Montana. Some of these shows are just soap operas for kids, so when they grow up, they rot their brains further with reality shows! The worst part? Most of the child actors in these shows won't ever become real actors/actresses, considering their conservative fanbase and bad acting. Nickelodeon ain't that bad. The only show I've grown to like here is, "iCarly" from Nick. The main character is a smilebag, and the laugh reels are so obviously faked. But the show has 2 things right. There are no parent actors, and there is no obvious romance drama or other gooey relationship drivel. And that whenever the "Spencer" character comes on, he steals the show. Ok, I've already said enough about this show, movin' on…

9. Dude, there are SUVs, EVERYWHERE here! You know how 4-wheelers and SUVs are despised all across the world for their carbon-mudering, fuel-guzzling needs? Yeah well, America throws morality and ethics out the window with their cars! :D It's like that Simpsons Krusty ad for CANYONERO !

10. America has no problem providing you with cool vistas and unmanned beauty. We've been to so many cool places in each of the 4 states we've been through ( Michigan , Missouri , Maryland , and NYC). Like the Meramec Caverns in Missouri where you go into a really cool underground cave system where Jesse James hid out apparently. Missouri also had this Arch monument with a ride in an egg, but the view from up top was kind of lame. Michigan had tons of awesome lakes and we went fishing, catching our own fish. Of course we went to the Henry Ford museum, considering Detroit is where the E3 of cars happens. We even stopped at Springfield to check out Abe Lincoln's house and learn about him. Maryland is actually pretty barebones, so no crazy places there except for many parks. I can't wait to edit my footage from the locations I just mentioned into a bad music video thingamajig!

11. I'm more American than I care to admit! Well ok, not in terms of being a walking ad, or being obese, or loving capitalism. I love the lingo though, like "awesome", "dude", and "sucks". I'm pretty proud that my American accent has stayed. You don't know how awkward I would feel if I retained my British accent from when I was born…

There you go! Next time I'll talk about the roadtrip would just to upload links to photos and videos from other places in our USA roadtrip. If you want to see all 257(!) of my New York City pictures, head on over here.

 

33 Comments
34 Comments
Posted by Moeez

 

Ooph, been a while since I've been on here. Been a busy bee, only a couple days before I get back to UK . In short, USA was awesome. Here's a few things I learned from my roadtrip here.

Don't worry, I'm not so green behind the years, this is probably my 5th time in the USA . First was in 1997 when we came just for DisneyWorld in Florida , and also the amazing World Trade Center . I'll never forget the awesome auditorium where you sit in seats, and watch a movie. Then you realise the seats are all moving, and it's a rollercoaster ride on a helicopter ride through Manhattan ! If any of you remember it from before 2001, tell me. 2nd time we were here in USA, we actually were living for 3 years and I went to middle+high school here in Brownstown, Michigan. I still remember loving the education system here (those GPAs) more than UK , and they'd already be reading more high-level stuff than UK education. 3rd and 4th times were just visits to mostly Canada and Niagara Falls , and my cousins and relatives from Detroit to Baltimore (where I am right now).

Why 11? Because…of some lame Spinal Tap joke. So, let's get on with what I learnt...

 

1. NYC people rock! How much? When we went into a subway to figure out if we could get back to our parking place by train and got confused, a random HOBO came up to us. Out of his own selfless heart, helped us even when we didn't ask. NYC has the most friendly people I've ever met. There's the stereotype in media that New Yorkers are rude, short-tempered, and basically a lot like my Pakistani people. Couldn't be further from the truth. These New York City people are the nicest people ever; they'll actively help you out and ask how you're doing if you're lost or look confused. These people are more polite and friendly than British people!

So next time you go to a foreign city and want to measure how friendly the folk are, see how many random people will help you without your provocation.

2. NYC or Manhattan is just like London . NYC is exactly a little brother of London in UK . Same kind of narrow alleys, gothic architecture, no parking places, Times Square is just like Piccadilly Circus , buses everywhere.

3. NYC, the city, sucks! It's a disaster of logistics. You'd think for being a little brother to London, they'd copy the great things we Londoners have. NYC has the worst public transportation for a metropolitan city I've ever come across. The Metro maps are a terrible mess, and makes me ache for London Underground maps. The subway is not that terrible, and the only saving grace it has over London underground is...AIR CONDITIONING! It's a huge advantage when you've been walking for 2 hours, and are sweating like hell. But the bus system is absolutely horrid.

Worst part? Most Yankees don't even know that much about the buses! Bus stops are very vague and hard to find. Nothing is told on the bus stops in terms of useful info. I know, it's crazy! Very rarely do you get to see the bus stops for the buses, and their routes, but nothing to the level that London bus stops have.

Moving around NYC is a pain and a half. Every part of NYC is badly organised. Road construction and blocked roads are everywhere. It has congested traffic just like London . We just wanted to get from Times Square back to near Union Square where the Statue of Liberty was, because we parked our car all the way down there. And it took us nearly 3 hours of walking, going from buses, and subway trains, and more walking. This was in the dead of the night. We walked so much into road construction and dead ends, that we even got to see GROUND ZERO! And I didn't even want to see the sorry mess of a state that the WTC was now in. :(

4. NYC still has awesome places to go to, like the Statue of Liberty tour. Times Square . Central Park .Too bad we didn't get to go to Little Italy or Chinatown , because we were already having so much trouble moving around in this damn city!

(video) The other videos I have are for the other states ( Michigan fishing; Missouri caves).

    

    

5. All of America is homogenised. You go from state to state, and everything looks the same. This is also true for England in some cases with the villages. Pennsylvania , Ohio , Missouri , or any other state we went through in the way had very similar landmarks and town structure. I'm guessing this is to make any n00b comfortable with no change. But jeez, it's freaky!

6. The HEALTH CRAZE hasn't even started here yet! While it's going insane over in UK with the Jamie Oliver, 5-a-day, and other government schemes to cut down on fast food and other bad routines, it's barely touched down over here. You go to a McDonald's or Burger King and there are no healthy options sticking out, no nutrition charts on the back of your fries box. It's just weird, considering this is the fattest nation in the whole universe. They gotta start from school dinners, and ban that Cheezits/Cheesasaurus Rex garbage!

7. Everything here is SUPER SIZE. I guess the documentary's name, "Super Size Me" was pretty apt. I'm not talking fast food. I'm talking ketchup bottles. Orange juice. Everything, except my favourite, apple juice. Why do you forsake me, SUPER SIZE AMERICA?!

8. Disney and Nickelodeon made a big mistake by abandoning great 2D cartoons in favour of  brainwashing kids with live-action tweenie shows. Disney is especially creepy. That Hannah Montana show's premise is more complicated than Nolan's "Memento"! She plays herself in real life (Miley Cyrus), and her music producer dad is himself, but she has an alter ego who's a pop diva called Hannah Montana. Some of these shows are just soap operas for kids, so when they grow up, they rot their brains further with reality shows! The worst part? Most of the child actors in these shows won't ever become real actors/actresses, considering their conservative fanbase and bad acting. Nickelodeon ain't that bad. The only show I've grown to like here is, "iCarly" from Nick. The main character is a smilebag, and the laugh reels are so obviously faked. But the show has 2 things right. There are no parent actors, and there is no obvious romance drama or other gooey relationship drivel. And that whenever the "Spencer" character comes on, he steals the show. Ok, I've already said enough about this show, movin' on…

9. Dude, there are SUVs, EVERYWHERE here! You know how 4-wheelers and SUVs are despised all across the world for their carbon-mudering, fuel-guzzling needs? Yeah well, America throws morality and ethics out the window with their cars! :D It's like that Simpsons Krusty ad for CANYONERO !

10. America has no problem providing you with cool vistas and unmanned beauty. We've been to so many cool places in each of the 4 states we've been through ( Michigan , Missouri , Maryland , and NYC). Like the Meramec Caverns in Missouri where you go into a really cool underground cave system where Jesse James hid out apparently. Missouri also had this Arch monument with a ride in an egg, but the view from up top was kind of lame. Michigan had tons of awesome lakes and we went fishing, catching our own fish. Of course we went to the Henry Ford museum, considering Detroit is where the E3 of cars happens. We even stopped at Springfield to check out Abe Lincoln's house and learn about him. Maryland is actually pretty barebones, so no crazy places there except for many parks. I can't wait to edit my footage from the locations I just mentioned into a bad music video thingamajig!

11. I'm more American than I care to admit! Well ok, not in terms of being a walking ad, or being obese, or loving capitalism. I love the lingo though, like "awesome", "dude", and "sucks". I'm pretty proud that my American accent has stayed. You don't know how awkward I would feel if I retained my British accent from when I was born…

There you go! Next time I'll talk about the roadtrip would just to upload links to photos and videos from other places in our USA roadtrip. If you want to see all 257(!) of my New York City pictures, head on over here.

 

Edited by TwoOneFive

yeah, new york is london's little brother.....okay. pff 
 
also, 11. i totally lost you on that one.  
 
should have came to philly.  
 
and the bit about the whole country being homogenized, well as long as you only went to one cool place, nyc, and then a bunch of boring places that surround it, then yeah.  
 
oh and bitching about NYC roads is stupid. get out of your car, and whistle for a cab next time. 

Posted by rachelepithet
Posted by Ivanetc

you'll never really like NYC if you stick in the central park/times square area
 
go to soho, greenwhich village and harlem.
 
and outside of manhattan, go see the boroughs (brooklyn is great, queens isn't too bad i guess).
 
trust me this is coming from a european who lives in the middle of nowhere. i was just there this summer and walked around manhattan myself and loved it. oh and yes nickoledeon, cartoon network and the rest are ruined (adult swim is still good i guess)

Posted by Jimbo

Sure it is, it just grew up to be a lot bigger :p

Posted by RetroIce4
@TwoOneFive said:
" yeah, new york is london's little brother.....okay. pff  also, 11. i totally lost you on that one.   should have came to philly.  "
Yeah. New York = London... How?
Posted by Diamond

I agree with #1 especially.  Last time I visited New York I thought it was the nicest place on Earth.  I don't know if it's because people are afraid you're going to shoot them, but never in my life had I see so many extremely polite people.  BTW I spent more time in Hoboken than in the main city areas.
 
#3 NYC isn't that bad... compared to Boston.  Oh my god Boston is a fucking maze unlike anything you'll ever see (or at least that I know of).
 
Not everyone drives a SUV or loves capitalism here though. 

Posted by MatthewMeadows

I might do one of these for the west coast. I leave on Tuesday from Manchester :D. 
 
I'm going San Francisco > Yosemite Park > Lake Tahoe > Sacramento > Sonoma County

Posted by TheGreatGuero

I'm glad to see you don't hate iCarly. It's actually one of my favorite shows right now. And yes, Spencer does steal the show pretty much every time he appears. That guy is pretty freaking entertaining. And hey, there's nothing wrong about Carly being so smiley. She's a cute girl with a nice smile. It's funny that you mentioning the show changed the whole direction of my response to your thread. Oh well.

Posted by lemon360

NYC is the bigger and more badass cousin of London.
Posted by HayFourZee

there's a city in England called york

Posted by Moeez

 12. Glenn Beck is way creepier than O'Reilly. It's not even unintentionally funny, it's very sad. Beck needs a therapist.    

 
Posted by EdIsCool

He just loves this country *sob* and its being destroyed *sob* 
He is a scat muncher.

Posted by Jayge_

Your problem was trying to sightsee in NYC while driving.

Posted by Lies
@Jayge said:
" Your problem was trying to sightsee in NYC while driving. "
Your problem was trying to get a read on American pop culture by watching iCarly
Posted by Jayge_
@Lies said:
" @Jayge said:
" Your problem was trying to sightsee in NYC while driving. "
Your problem was trying to get a read on American pop culture by watching iCarly "
Not gonna lie, iCarly is pretty entertaining. And Spencer is an amazing character. He wasn't wrong there o.o
Posted by Moeez
@Jayge said:
" Your problem was trying to sightsee in NYC while driving. "
We didn't drive anywhere in NYC, it's impossible!  
 
NYC definitely needs more than 1 day to explore. So many places missed. 
Edited by nanikore

Man, you went to New York and took a bus to get around? Cabs are the way to go. It's cheap and the cab drivers drive fast.
 
Edit: By the way, when you saw ground zero, did you go into that supercool glass building with palm trees inside?

Posted by PenguinDust

Ha, good read although I have to assume you were fortunate to meet with the one nice hobo in all the 5 boroughs.  Unless things have changed radically since I last lived there, and there is no reason to think they might not have, I recall most city-sidewalk New Yorkers as cynical, unfeeling, and proud of it.  Also, I agree on on #8 but what can you do?  All of the kid networks are going that route.  And, as for #7, most Americans feel cheated unless they have to unbutton their pants after consuming a meal.  I'm not excusing it, I'm just saying we like our portions big and deep fried.

Posted by super_machine

I hope you took the time to actually visit in Detroit. If not, then you missed out on seeing how 3rd world America looks.

Posted by RHCPfan24

I can't say I agree with #1. As a New Jersey/New Yorker myself (I live in northern New Jersey, past the George Washington bridge and I visit NY and the city so often I consider myself one of them myself), I can tell you that I have usually seen the New York crowd as, indeed, arrogant and rude. But that is okay!! Most people in the city are like that and, thus, they blend well. They get to be nice but they usually have a rough exterior. I must say that you got a lucky string of people there; they usually aren't that great. Despite their attitude, I still love New Yorkers more than residents of other cities because they see through bullshit and will speak up if they need to. A lot of my family is like that so I have gotten used to it. 
 
But New York City is my favorite city in the whole world. I love London as well and they do share many similarities (Piccadilly Circus is Times Square) but there is something about NYC that will never cease to amaze me. Sure it can be a bitch to maneuver around at times and the cold there is cold, but it has been a part of my life since birth (I was born there YAY) and will be with me for the rest of my life.
 
I found your article a good read. I found some differences but I am glad you enjoyed your visit. I hope to see you around in the future!!

Posted by ParanoidFreak

 Wow, I've never heard the people of NYC described as friendly before. You should come to Toronto, it's a lot like London too.

Posted by crunchUK

Oh... i thought it was going to be like the top gear america tips.

Posted by ryanwho
@ParanoidFreak said:
"  Wow, I've never heard the people of NYC described as friendly before. You should come to Toronto, it's a lot like London too. "
London's Tidy older sister.
There was a trash strike going on when I visited and it was still the cleanest city I've ever been in.
Posted by Hitchenson
@TwoOneFive said:
" yeah, new york is london's little brother.....okay. pff  also, 11. i totally lost you on that one.   should have came to philly.   and the bit about the whole country being homogenized, well as long as you only went to one cool place, nyc, and then a bunch of boring places that surround it, then yeah.   oh and bitching about NYC roads is stupid. get out of your car, and whistle for a cab next time.  "
Whistle for a cab, you say? And you live in Philly, eh?  
 
 Do your cabs have dice in the mirrors?
Posted by vidiot
@Moeez: I can't agree at all with number five, then again I don't understand in what context you are using "homogenized" with.
 
I'm really glad you enjoyed your trip, this was a fun read.
 
But comparisons and claims that NYC is like a little brother to London are a little weird.
Posted by FCKSNAP

Great post. But I will say that you only really stuck to the East Cost urban areas, so everything seems really similar. If you ever get to drive cross-country, you'll be amazed at how diverse this place gets.

Posted by W0lfbl1tzers
@ryanwho said:
" @ParanoidFreak said:
"  Wow, I've never heard the people of NYC described as friendly before. You should come to Toronto, it's a lot like London too. "
London's Tidy older sister. There was a trash strike going on when I visited and it was still the cleanest city I've ever been in. "
 Wouldn't it have to be older than London to be it's older sister? 
Posted by ZenAndTonic

Glad you enjoyed the US. I remember being sturck by how big all the portion sizes were when I first migrated here, too. :)

Posted by Moeez

Yeah, I've never been to the West of USA, the most I have is Missouri. I do want to check out the deserts and all the other areas, because USA isn't just a country. It's a whole continent. So, I should correct myself when generalising my east side experience to the rest of USA as being "homogeneous". 

Edited by ahriman22

Your list kind of describes all of the North American Continent...
 
Brotip: Awesome, dude, sucks are words used EVERYWHERE. Seriously, even in Japan.

Posted by CSXLoser

i hated NYC when i visited family there. Almost getting runned over and pickpocketed, +$100 Korean dinner for 4  all in the same day...
 
Screw those " I <3 New York"  shirts, i want a "I hate New York" shirt and I'll wear it every single day

Posted by iam3green

nice to hear that u liked new york. i never heard of anyone saying that new york had friendly people. it was nice when i went there a couple of times. the last time was there was before 9/11. 
 
i really liked how u were talking about kid shows. i don't get Hannah montange. i'm 21 but it is a stupid show. it is pretty much of a girl who puts on a wig and is a different person. idk how people don't know it's her. i find it's funny of that. i'm talking about the show not actual people if u thought that.

Posted by JJWeatherman
@Moeez:  
Sounds like a cool trip. I couldn't help but laugh at most of your points because of the truth in them. Especially the Canyonaro thing, funny--and true--stuff.     : )