Tag Archives: America

A toast to the USA

It’s great here. For those of you that don’t know, I’m in Pittsburgh for the week, trailing after my super intelligent other half, and scouting out church-based hot dog restaurants. As a tribute to this change of location you will notice the steel theme, to celebrate Pittburgh’s industrial past (and present), and also the name change, more about which in about 2 sentences time.

Some things of note for people of a similar disposition to me when staying in America:

1) Don’t even bother looking for the Marmite. Instead, embrace maple syrup as a wonderful breakfast food stuff, but make the most of it, as it’s too expensive to have every day for breakfast in the UK.

2) It is possible to make tea in a coffee maker. As long as you put a few jugfuls of water through first to flush it through. Do take your own teabags though, and you’ll probably have to buy your own milk too, as coffee creamer is an abhorrence in tea. (photos may well follow soon of the coffee maker-turned-teapot in our room)

3) Cheap dvds – yes it is possible to get dvds in the states for about half the UK price. No, it is not worth scouring Downtown Pittsburgh for a decent dvd store when you can get them delivered to your hotel from most decent online dvd stores. More choice, less hassle, order enough and it’s free postage.

4) If you attempt to try every exciting or interesting foodstuff that you have not tasted before you will make yourself ill. Pace yourself, and save it for the really good stuff.

5) Even though food is cheap and plentiful here, do not over-order. You will make yourself ill. Pace yourself, and save it for the really good stuff.

Great things about Pittsbugh

– It’s very friendly, people actually say hi in the street
– The weather is great, lovely and warm, but not too oppressive (this point is subject to change)
– free internet access just about everywhere you go
– great food and plenty of it
– great cookware shops
– fantastic tacky shops – taking tacky to a whole new level
– wonderful, cheap museums, not been to all that many yet, but again that will change.
– street names engraved on the corner of the paving stones at junctions, great navigation for people like me that never look up when they walk around.
– very impressive skyscrapers, even the old buildings are really tall, even the fountains are really tall.
– hot dogma, as Rhys has mentioned elsewhere (see link at top of this post)

Not so great things about Pittsburgh
– too much coffee, not enough tea
– crossing roads (traffic signals, where they exist do not apply to turning vehicles, and any solid metal vehicle will take priority over a mere squishy pedestrian)
– toilets are scary, they flush with a vengeance, and very, very loudly
– tv is bad, with too many ads, and no Neighbours (although I do have that recording at home, obviously) to emphasise the quality of the tv here, I should point out that Deal or no Deal is a prime time TV event here, and the most watchable thing.
– It’s quite dusty here, there’s building work going on everywhere
– Last but not least, I have to type on Rhys’ laptop, which I can’t type on – apologies for any inadvertent typos as a result of this (rather than the usual common or garden bad spelling)

I don’t want to finish on a bad note, I love Pittsburgh. Provided you bring your own tea the USA is a great place to be, I’m not sure I’ll want to come home as soon as we’ll have to – but that’s the nature of holidays.

When you go, will you send back…

… a letter from America? Something that has always been there, something most of our parents won’t remember life without, now isn’t.

It’s cold here, really cold, and I’ve been ill. Grumble grumble.

It’s my birthday later this week, I was remembering talking to Soo’s eldest bamphire on the eve of her birthday earlier this year “So, what are you getting for your birthday R? Do you know?” “Yes,” said R proudly “I get to be four!” I could take a lesson from my young friend and proudly announce that the best thing about this week is that I get to be twenty eight, but it doesn’t quite have the same ring.