Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting Used To America




I hear nature talking to me. She says more trees, less asphalt.


Sure is hard getting used to America. 
I have the Caribbean ways so ingrained in me from 22 years there and only a few token visits here, mostly for funerals, so not enough time nor energy to pay attention to American ways.


Shopping still fascinates me even though I haven't much of anything to really shop for. I just enjoy looking at the huge selections and comparing prices. But in the Caribbean, shopping was so limited and none of the stores took returns, and often you couldn't find anything close to what you were looking for, so purchases were made with a bit of agony.  

You were stuck with it, if you bought it and it broke right away.
In America, you can try things out and return them if they break in a few days, or even if you don't like it.  WOW!  What a concept.

I still act super miserly with water yet most everywhere I go there is plenty of water. It's that Caribbean thing, where water is gold and super precious.
Sometimes I am in and out of my shower in 20 seconds, just can't get used to a long shower yet, it seems so wasteful.

I still filter all my drinking water, no matter what people tell me about how wonderful and safe their water is. After 22 years of filtering water in Brita pitchers, I can't stop now. It seems to always taste better and I refill my water bottles, so I always have bottled water.
I take a water bottle with me everywhere, another Caribbean habit I can't shake. Water is so good for the health, so many diseases are really brought on from long term dehydration.  In the Caribbean, I was often worried about being stuck somewhere walking and wishing I had water. I can't seem to bring myself to pay the outrageous prices for a small bottle of water. I still carry mine in my purse, so if I am thirsty, I can drink and not have to pay for the privilege.

The grocery shopping in America is depressing in some ways. The stores are mega-huge. So much JUNK is for sale, the junky foods take up 80% of the store it seems, and about 20% is healthy foods. It is so hard to find 100% juice, so many have added all this crap to the juice.  It seems everything has fructose or corn syrup or sugar or sweeteners added to it. Very frustrating. All those additives just contribute to long-term bad health. I know I don't eat enough fruit, so I look for 100% juice to supplement that.

It seems many folks in America are super concerned with health insurance and not at all concerned with good nutrition.  Finding healthy restaurants to dine out is near impossible in many areas.  I cook for myself most of the time. Depressing to cook for one, but better than eating junky foods laden with chemicals and sugars of some form or another. 

Typically I go ahead and cook for 2-3-4 at a time and save the leftovers for reheating.
The bars in America thus far are completely boring, so I stay out of them. In the Caribbean we had nice open air bars with fantastic views, here the bars seem to be dark windowless places with people hunched over their drinks, looking depressed as all get out.

I rarely drink anymore. OK, now don't pass right out!  Me who wrote so much about bars and drinkers in the Caribbean!  Alcohol is kind of pricey in America, I hope the Caribbean keeps it cheap.

I hear people whine about the cost of gas, then use their car to drive 100 yards rather than walk.

In Virginia, I was in an RV Resort. There was nothing resorty about it at all. Except the prices. I thought they were high, but then again, so often, the million dollar RV's are charged the same as the little old small RV's. Anyhow, at this "resort" which the only amenity was showers and a laundry, which is pretty standard for even the most rustic campgrounds, I noticed my neighbors had a travel trailer and a car.

All the lots had sewer, electric, water and random Wi-Fi internet. Anyhow, this couple was parked less than 100 yards from the showers. Yet, first the man would leave, in the car, drive the 200 feet or so to the showers, be gone a half hour, then drive back.
Next his wife, would get in the car, drive the 200 feet or so to the showers, be gone a half hour, then drive back. They saw the manager enter the office, also next to the showers, so they got in their car, drove over to the office, paid their nightly rent and drove back.

I am super surprised at how many folks in their RV's never open the window shades or even venture outside except to hook up the utilities. Some pull in and park, run outside hook everything up, then dash back inside and stay hidden away behind closed shades 24/7, never to be seen again.

I open all my shades and as often as possible, throw open all the windows and enjoy fresh air.

A friend of mine keeps harping on the fact I don't tow a vehicle with me. I wanted to travel and since I am traveling alone, I wanted to keep it simple and fun. If I had kept my old hunk of a clunker to tow behind, I probably wouldn't have made 90% of my travels.
But it's America, and one is expected to burn up gas each and every day, the more the merrier it seems. Sure everyone wants to blame BP for the oil mess in the Gulf. But it seems most of America is in their cars from the looks of the chronic traffic snarls I hit when I am driving. So many big pricey gas guzzling cars that seat 8 and have one person in them. No wonder traffic is backed up everywhere at times.

I am probably overstocked in hurricane foods.  An old habit I can't seem to break of keeping canned stuff around even though I mostly just eat fresh veggies and fruits on a daily basis. I keep FORGETTING there is food everywhere in America. Just don't shop at the so called convenient stores. There isn't much healthy stuff in there, it's mostly all junky foods high in chemicals and sugars.

But I guess if everyone started eating healthy, the health insurance companies would go broke, as would the drug companies. I try to avoid TV commercials. I gave away my TV, it was too big, a clunky type one and there was nowhere I wanted to designate that much space for it. I think the commercials are brain washing. So many are about drugs!
Many drugs are designed now to force your dependence on them. I am trying to avoid drugs and the entire health care mess.

Well, so much for rambling. I was going to work on an article about all the campgrounds and resorts *giggle* I have stayed in. Mostly I prefer the older back to nature places.   I also look for the bargains, they are hard to find, but if you stay off the beaten path, you can find them.

I found a lovely spot, because a clerk was super rude to me when I went to pay a few more night's camping fee. I changed my mind, didn't pay that campground, packed up my motorhome and found another park, 25 miles away, that turned out to be super delightful.
And half the price. 

The clerk there was new, but very friendly.  When she found out I was traveling alone with a hyper puppy, she sent the maintenance guy out to check on me, and offer his services to help me back-in and hook everything up.  Very thoughtful.  Most places just give you a numbered lot to go find on your own. 

I'm glad that clerk was super rude to me. I ended up in a much nicer place because of her.  I bet the owners of the place wouldn't be happy that her rudeness drove me away, and maybe others.   I just HATE giving up money to rude people. What's even funnier, is that I was going to pay for two night's rent there and I bet my two night's rent came close to her day's pay. So bye bye paycheck, I drove my money away. Literally.

I don't know why I freak out when people are rude to me, but I do. One day I was in a grocery store, unloading my items onto the conveyor belt thing at the cash register. There were now only 2 people in front of me, working on buying their stuff.  I was achy all over and looking forward to finally getting out of this store. The few registers that were open were very backed up with dozens of people waiting to spend their money. 

When my turn came, I opened my mouth and said "Good afternoon" like we do in the islands. The clerk slammed down a closed sign on the conveyor belt and barked at me "Go to another aisle!  I'm on break!" and she sauntered off to go talk on her cell phone. 
The other aisles had long lines. I looked at my groceries and remembered, this is America, food is everywhere. So I just left the store.  Left all my stuff piled up on the conveyor belt. A total waste of time, shopping, waiting in line, and the clerk watching me unload everything before telling me she was leaving.

It was equally rude of me to leave all my groceries just piled up there. But I was tired and achy and freaked out at the clerk's rudeness. Let her deal with the pile of groceries. She's getting paid to be rude. I'm just a lowly unpaid shopper. Just as I was about to exit, she paused from her cell phone and barked at me again. "Come get these groceries and move them!"  I just kept on walking.

Let her call the police and have me arrested. I plead insanity!  The rude clerk made me crazy.

In Ohio, where I am now, the sunrise was spectacular.  It was 65 degrees this morning, so cold, I dug out my fuzzy moccasins and wore them for hours.  I can't wait to get to an internet connection where I can post pictures. My ramblings probably seem a bit dry, without all the pretty pictures. It's been a week of heaven, without driving anywhere. Puppy and I needed a break from the traffic snarls.

Oh no!  I'm on the wrong road again!  Can you imagine driving through this mess when an earthquake hits?  Oh but earthquakes probably don't happen here. I'm thinking of the Caribbean and the middle of the night rumblings that toss us out of bed.

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