Saturday, 4 September 2010

Culture Shock Diary #17 - Drive Thru Banking

I get the point of this in areas where it is Very Cold, like Canada. In some places parking your car, getting out, going to the atm, walking back to the car, and getting back in could a) get you very cold and b) mean you have to scrape the windscreen. So I can see that drive through banking is useful in those places.

But seriously, on the West Coast, it isn't that cold. And without that excuse, I can't think of another except laziness - anyone want to fill me in?

Apparently in Louisiana they have drive-thru liquor stores. That's something I gotta see.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Stuff that's good about the US #9 - Beer

I'm ashamed to admit this, but the beer in the US is really good, even (gasp) better than that in the UK.

This was something I was really worried about before I came out to Boston - I thought I'd have to drink crappy Miller and Bud, and was even more worried by the light beer.

But then I discovered microbrews.

In Boston it was Sam Adams, and over here in the West it's about a gazillion times better, with local brews readily available, specialist beer shops, and brewpubs - over 30 brewpubs in Portland alone. Types of beer I didn't even know existed, with a whole range of bitterness and hoppiness. Whatever you like, you can find something that fits that exact taste niche. Seriously, I'm in paradise. Not sure if the majority of the CAMRA fare will suit me (not really into the darker, bitterer ales), but when I get back I'm sure as hell going to try. No more generic lagers for me!

Culture Shock Diary #16 - Carrying my passport everywhere

As most of you will know, the US drinking age is 21, and they're pretty strict about it. They're supposed to ID everyone who looks under 25. I am 26, but I guess I look under 25 - maybe that would change if I stopped pulling out my greys, but for the time being I guess this is a good thing. Anyway, they don't accept UK drivers' licences, so I have to carry my passport. Everywhere. Especially to bars, where I am planning to drink. This equates to a high risk of losing my passport. Which freaks me out a little.

Anyway, it drives me crazy. I'm 26, I should be able to buy a damn beer without having to act like I'm crossing an international boundary.

Culture Shock Diary #15 - Stove Top Kettles

So - now I'm back in the US, time for more culture shocks. Most of them things I just didn't get round to posting about before, but one or two new ones as well.

So... stove top kettles. On the plus side, stove top kettles are cute and they sing (anyone else ever wondered where that phrase comes from?). But they're also less efficient and take longer to boil. Electric kettles are readily available in the States - and pretty much everyone I've spoken to about this agrees they're better. So why are they so unusual?!