Before there was Wal-Mart- there was K-Mart. K-Mart is an absolutely fantastic American institution. When I was a child I noticed these letters on every cash register (till point):
Me being curious I asked a cashier what it stood for, as it does not actually spell a word. It stands for:
Thank You For Shopping At Our K-Mart Today, Please Come Again Soon and Have A Nice Day.
Nowadays you just get the HAND at the end of your purchase, but it’s still a great place to shop.
In The Netherlands we only have boring mailboxes; just plain green. But when you travel through America and Canada you can see lots of different mailboxes. They always make me laugh a lot, and during my trips I made some pictures of them. I think even the standard mailbox are nice. But you can find lots of different ones : normal ones, totally rusty and dented or mailboxes with special shapes. You can see cows, cars, bikes, chicken, etc. Actually everything you can think of can be found on those mailboxes, it can't be crazy enough! I hope you will enjoy these mailboxes and even smile once in a while when looking at these funny ones I spotted on my travels.
I think this one is absolutely crazy! The man is actually wearing real clothes! How crazy can a mailbox get! It sure made me smile when I took this picture. You really do have click on the picture to get a better look at this photo, hahaha, this mailbox is just great!
I've added a few more funny mailbox pics for you, like a flowery mailbox, of course a cow mailbox as they seem a very popular design, a horse and wagon mailbox and finally you can see Uncle Sam who also happily helps you to collect your mail on a daily basis :-) And if you are not tired of seeing all these mailboxes you can drop by on the travelogues, where I added a few more of those fore you.
Again , this is a country 3 times the size of Europe . We are the most culturally diverse country on the planet . Keep that in mind . People come from all over the world to live here . How we all get along is a mystery to me . If you are from another country , study up on local history and culture . We are diverse , but not always nice . There is as much regional pride as there is national patriotism in europe . Respect the locals , no matter how stupid they are . Be aware , some people just don't like who you are , just because of where you are from . There are a LOT of ignorant people here .
Perhaps the Most 'common mistakes made by travelers'
visiting Canada and the US is the assumption that the people and the general values are the 'same' on this continent,
Having travelled quite extensively, I want to point out that I found a significant difference/change aproximately every 100km.!
Much more on this as we go.
Infact, this topic is posing me with a Crusade that
I will likely accept. If I do take it upon myself to 'make waves' or become Loud about this perspective, I will formulate my thoughts on this page prior to sending the articles to respective media, etc.
Aussies - fanny means something else in America, they aren't being rude ok.
Speak clearly - Americans sometimes have trouble with our accent - remember WE hear theirs on TV all the time.
Americans think our accent is a put on. IT ISN'T!!
Be polite to the police, they carry very big guns and are just doing their jobs.
Ask for help - Americans generally are very happy to give directions etc. I've found them , at home, to be a generous and friendly people.
Be prepared for a food selection and combination/variety which will blow your mind. They have enormous helpings - your eyes will be bigger than your stomach.
America is the place for cheap good quality clothing. Places like Gap are eerily cheap to me, while the quality is excellent.
Assume you have to tip if you are not sure. It is better to be told ' no, thats ok sir/madam' than to not tip an suffer especially in a Restuarant if you intend eating there more than once.
Aussies, Coke in LA tastes like our Pepsi and vice versa ( at least I found that )
don't try to convert them to the wonders of vegemite - it scares them.
Coors is not a bad substitute for Crown Lager but if in doubt try Labatt ( Canadian ) or take some with you.
lite beer in USA is LOW fat not LOW alcohol ( and yes there is a story behind that *hick * )
Tipping is expected at all restaurants. As a guide, a tip is usually calculated as 10% of your total bill. For exceptional service, tip 15 %.
When you ask directions to the toilet, refer to it as the bathroom to avoid confusion.
Milk is referred to as cream when you are ordering beverages such as tea and coffee.
Finally, remember the differences in pronouciation with a lot of words. For example, the word fillet, as in the McDonald's fillet 'o fish, is pronounced 'fillay'.
You should never interrupt a conversation between a clerk at a store, department store, etc. with a client because it's not your turn and they'll get mad.
In Mexico you can talk to the assistant whenever you want if it's just a simple quiestion and don't have to wailt till it's your turn.
The city is home to the 9:30 club, a famous music venue/bar/lounge renowned for its excellent acoustics. Urban legends boast that every major musical act passing through town never misses this spot to play even just a set or 2. Nightly shows feature several acts, the last time I went,the acts featured were Eagle Eye Cherry and after that Iggy Pop in one night. But try and cab it there, the road to 9:30 on foot isn't so pretty.
The thing to remember as you travel across the U.S. is that each Region has its own traditions and ways in which people express themselves. The South is very friendly, but they also like a decent tip at a restaurant. Most of the people I have encountered in my life have responded very well to a nice wave and just a friendly 'hello' it will work for most people.
We are generally pretty friendly people here in the U.S. We are much more casual about life in general than I think people are in other countries. Drinking ages vary from state to state, but 21 seems to be the most popular. Our freeway system is excellent, but traffic is atrocious in the big cities. You will find that smoking is generally frowned upon here in California (no smoking in any indoor arenas, restaurants, etc.) but don't worry, we won't hold it against you (even though we may glare at you for blowing smoke in our general direction!). We are a culturally diverse country which might come as a shock to some visitors, but it enhances our country in that we have so many different types of food and events to enjoy especially during the summer months. Please remember that in California especially, we have more people in our state (currently hovering around 35 million I believe) than most countries outside of the U.S. does, so when visiting L.A. and S.F. (each with a population exceeding 7 million people) you may find yourself surrounded by cars and hordes of men, women and children! DON'T PANIC! Please also note that we are also geographically diverse here in the U.S. as well. People in California are more ethnically diverse than say people in Vermont. Not to mention that though we may speak the same language it will sound differently in Virginia (that nice southern drawl) as opposed to New York or Minnesota or even Washington. In any case, if you have a question, just turn to someone with a smile and say, 'Excuse me, but could you help me?' A smile works wonders in America and it transcends the language barrier.
Ask a local where they might stay...But, wait ask someone else too! That first person could be a dummy!
Ask a honest taxi driver...Find a Big Grocery store in town to do your food shopping unless you want to spend a fortune at a mini-mart on junk!!! Smile and be freindly and honest!! Hide your $$$ in two places on your body! Take advantage of people offering a place to stay..if you feel comfortable with them! We have alot of great people here who are really trusting and KIND!
It would be handy to know a little bit of Spanish, there is a high Spanish influence there, I was lucky because Italian is close enough and so there were times when I went to little stalls/swap meets, I could understand if someone was a little 'dodgy' or not.
from the book The Photographer' Bible by Bruce Pinkard
a section named 'Image Management
we are dominated by visual concepts *
faced with visual stimuli we seek pattern *
we then seek concepts*
we are primarily aware of change*
movement is change *
contrast is change *
asymmetry is change *
variable intensity is change *
pattern is imposed by the viewer, then grouped together *
we seek evidence of pattern *
constancy is sought by identifying the dominant stimuli *
constancy and rhythm encourage fantasy and imagination *
perceptions are organized into figure and ground *
ground is neutral, figure is not *
one is separated from the other by edge *
these processes are reflex, unconscious and subjective *
too much security, too little mystery, no introspection, generates boredom *
we try to understand the universal before the particular *
You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our
lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not
really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we
Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), Spanish filmmaker. My Last Sigh, ch. 1 (1983)
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