If you follow my twitter, you will have noticed that for the past couple of weeks I have been away on my very first trip to the United States. SO EXCITING. I have been obsessed with the US for a long long time (I watch far too many American films and TV series) so to finally have an opportunity to visit this wonderful country is amazing.
But obviously with it being my first time, it has all been quite overwhelming. And the differences between England and America have been more common than I thought they would be. So before I start writing about my adventures in Boston and New York, I decided I would go through these differences a bit, and talk about the things which I found surprisingly strange when I was over there.
Crossing the road is dangerous
I genuinely thought I was going to die. In England it is simple. Traffic is going by - you are told to wait. Traffic stops - you cross. In America it is not quite the same. You might be told that it is ok to cross, but this is not a guarantee of your safety. There is a possibility you might still get mown down from a car which is turning. Best to be wary at all times.
They drive on the wrong side of the road
And they sit in the wrong side of the car. It took me a little while to get used to this. And even after two weeks of being there, I still jumped a little when I saw a dog or a child in the passenger seat as I thought they were driving the car.
Parks that aren't really parks
There are some beautiful parks in both New York and Boston. Boston Common being one and Central Park being the other. However, spread between both cities there are also a lot of mini parks. Yet these aren't actually parks at all. They tend to be little concrete squares, occasionally adorned with a tree or some flowers that most definitely do not live up to our standard of lush green parks.
'Cheap' theatre tickets
Let me get one thing quite clear. Nothing about Broadway is cheap. And even when it says that you get 50% off, you are still going to be paying around $80. WHAT? I am a huge theatre fan but REALLY?
Corn bread lies
This is neither corn nor bread. It's actually kind of cake-like. Yet you eat it with chilli. I am very confused right now.
Price boards also lie
When you walk into a café or restaurant or pub, do not trust the advertised price. It might seem cheap but at the till you have to pay a price which is completely different. And then you have to pay a tip as well. Not cheap at all.
Universities are on lockdown
Universities here are normally all quite open, especially if they are campus universities. But I went to visit Harvard which is just outside Boston and my god that uni is like an FBI centre. You have to have student ID to get anywhere.
You don't have to enter pins
The chip and pin machine is not very common in America. Mostly they just swipe their card and are done with it. So weird.
Are they even speaking English?
I can understand what these Americans are saying. And yet, at the same time, I can't. Why do they find it necessary to change every single word in the language?
No signs anywhere
I don't think they like tourists very much - because there are no signs at all. And I mean NOWHERE. In London we are so helpful: outside every tube station there is a map of the surrounding area with the landmarks made clear. The tube system is clearly signposted and announced and there are paper copies of it if you are stuck. There is none of this assistance in America, particularly New York. It's like they enjoy torturing foreigners and laugh at their bewildered faces.
Toilets that flush when you're not ready
I came to hate the toilets. Most have automatic flushes, which when you stand up (or sometimes just whenever they feel like it) beginning their flushing process. It makes going to the loo so much less relaxing as you don't quite know when you are going to be evicted from your cubical.
So there's a few things to bear in mind if you are travelling to America any time soon. If you want to see what I got up to, then check out the #BritInBoston tag on Twitter. Or you can look out for articles on here which I will uploading in the next few days/weeks.
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