Thursday, August 04, 2005

Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ

Actually I'm about 3000km from there, but same country, anyway.

10 Good Things about the US:

  1. Wireless broadband in hotels - I can listen to George, bFM and Twisted (but not Radio NZ).
  2. Dance record stores like these guys - open until 10pm allegedly. Yup - I know the market in AKL is probably too thin to justify opening late, but it would be good for those of us who have day jobs - e.g. everyone except Greg Churchill (I suspect).
  3. Home Depot - every kind of home and garden tool you might want - and quality kit not 10c crap like the Warehouse.
  4. American Beer - yes I am not kidding you - our friends here now produce some excellent brews - and quite a lot cheaper than NZ.
  5. Being able to listen to the air traffic control on the inflight audio (on internal flights). Makes the flight much more interesting - also you know when and why you're running late (I guess). That's probably why Air NZ doesn't offer this!
  6. It's summer!
  7. Not being constrained by NZ court orders forbidding naming the drug case accused. All I can say is 'Pinetree' - really, who would have thought it.
  8. People go to the pub on school nights - actually I'm not sure whether NZ has the same percentage of hardened drinkers who go boozing on a Monday as elsewhere, but our population is too small to make a quorum, or that our salary/beer price ratio is too low to make midweek drinking affordable so everyone gets pissed at home.
  9. Most people seem to drive their automobiles like A-B machines rather than as in some sort of Kaikohe Demolition reenactment.
  10. Only four more years of Bush!

And 10 less good things:

  1. Absurd security at immigration. Particularly dumb is that when flying on Air NZ from AKL-LHR, you have to check into the USA. This is actually insecurity - if you are a dodgy character with no valid reason to enter the US, no cash, nowhere to stay, etc, you can front up with an onward ticket to London, get "admitted", wander off into LA, sell the ticket and become a wetback.
  2. Having to queue for nearly an hour for car rental while people quibble over the kind of waivers and options they need, the agents try and upsell them, five types of id get checked and copied into the computer.
  3. Getting a free *upgrade* to a full-size. There's one of me - why do I need a four door gas guzzler (GM product, natch) with such retro features as a pedal footbrake, three on the tree gearchange, bench front seats and doors that lock when you get in! Why can't they rent out Toyotas (actually seeing the price of USD23k I do see some logic).
  4. American radio and TV - but at least I don't need to listen to the former much..
  5. The power leads are subtly different and I forgot to get an adaptor *before* leaving Auckland.
  6. Being in the back of nowhere with a choice of one pub.
  7. I'm missing the skiing - just as it's turned good.
  8. Too much beer, to much food, not enough exercise.
  9. Four-way stops. Just *who* has right of way? Ok - it's first to arrive, first to go - like that'd work in NZ!
  10. Four more years of Bush, then Arnie if they pass the Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment.


Ms Vile File said...

Have a marvellous time!

I'm surprised by unsavoury types being allowed to wander away from the airport freely. Some years ago, one had to get a USA visa, even if just changing planes for Europe. One time I didn't bother, so got escorted to a secure domestic waiting area by burly Afro-American guards dressed in black, armed with guns. Oh my, how people stared. I tries to look murderous and unrepentant, and suitably dangerous. I'm sure someone took my photo.

I'm disappointed that visas are no longer required, as I wouldn't get one again. Being treated like a threat to national security was fun.

millsy said...

Are you saying that it is Colin Meads??

Rich said...

It's a *joke* mate!

millsy said...

Oh ok...sweet as - carry on...

Enjoy your stay in what is perhaps the most complex, fascinating and diverse country in the world.

Rich said...

Been back some time actually.

I'm now in Sydney - I guess Aussies would appreciate the complement??