10.05.2011 - 06.07.2011
Below are a list of differences I’ve noticed between America and Australia sorted into categories:
1. Food: Everyone’s heard that Americans are overweight and unhealthy. This is particularly evident in the number and variety of fast food chains they have. I have never seen so many different fast food chains. From chicken (KFC and Popeye’s), burgers (McDonald’s, Burger King and In-N-Out burger) to pancakes (IHOP) and even Asian (Panda Express) and Mexican (Deb el Taco), there’s something for everyone! Mexican shops are especially cheap, you can buy a burrito or taco for as little as $1! It is important to mention that Subway is enormous in the States; there’s one everyone you go, which is great! With all the travelling I’ve been doing on the Grand Southern tour it is extremely hard to find healthy, cheap options for lunch and dinner so I understand why taking the fast food option is something preferred – good, quality healthy food with fruit and vegetables are hard to find and quite expensive.
2. Drinks: Starbucks Coffee is ubiquitous in the States and unlike both Australia and Canada there’s not other chains competing with Starbuck’s – it’s good and cheap coffee so I don’t care! Another point need to be made about drinks is that they are enormous. Any drink, whether it’s soft drinks (or ‘soda’ as it’s called) or coffee, are significantly larger than Australian standard drinks. The cups are ginormous! A small Australian-sized cup is equivalent to a medium American and medium Australian-sized cup is generally the size of a large American cup, but you can get supersized cups too which can hold up to 1 litre of liquid – that’s a lot of calories!
3. Alcohol: In bars and clubs spirits are usually poured free-hand, meaning that you almost always have much more alcohol than you would normally in Australia. Also, shot glasses are about double the size in America than in Australia – isn’t it great! In Las Vegas, I had my first yard glass (yardie), a long plastic tube with a bowl at the end measuring a yard in length. You can fill it with any alcohol you desire, but generally it’s cocktails – I wish we had them in Australia!
1. Measurement and Temperature: The system of measurement and temperature employed in the United States is the imperial system. Miles are used for kilometres, feet for metres, inches for centimetres and Fahrenheit instead of Celsius. Because I was bombarded with this totally different system of measurement and found it frustrating that I couldn’t understand it so I decided to learn the measurement system myself. I learnt that to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit you use this rough formula: Double and add 30 (for example, 20 °C is equivalent to 20 x 2 + 30 = 70 °F) – quite easy really. To convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius do the opposite: Subtract 30 and halve (so, 70 °F is equivalent to (70 – 30) / 2 = 20 °C.
To convert between metres and feet, times (for metres to feet) or divide (for feet to metres) by 3.33. 1 metre = 3.33 feet so 20 metres is about 70 feet.
To convert between litres and gallons, times (for litres to gallons) or divide (for gallons to litres) by 3.8. 1 litre = 3.8 gallons so 5 litres is about 20 gallons.
1. Petrol: Petrol (called ‘gasoline’ or ‘gas’ for short) is comparatively cheap in America. 1 gallon typically costs $3.85, which is about $1.00 per litre and can be found as little as 0.95 cents per litres. Interestingly, the majority of America’s petrol comes from Canada, particularly Alberta.
2. Shopping centres: In America shopping centres are called ‘malls’. The biggest shop of them all is Walmart. It contains EVERYTHING you’d want to buy in the one place. From groceries, food market, pharmacy and Subway to a bank, hair and nail salon, electronics and even guns, you can’t go wrong! I love Walmart – we should have one in Australia!
3. Phones: Mobile phones are known as ‘cell phones’ in the States. Prepaid services are comparatively cheap to Australia and include much more. For my prepaid monthly service, I paid $60 for unlimited talk and text to American mobiles and unlimited talk to landlines in Australia, most of Europe and other countries, and 100 megabytes of included data – it is incredibly affordable! The two major phone networks in the States are AT&T and Verizon but I’m with the third biggest T-Mobile, which I find has better service than the other two.