Helpful Links (3)
Myanmar (Burma) (2)
The Stuff that Didn't Fit In Anywhere Else
Stuck Between a Rock and a Hurricane
D.C. to Duke
Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
And Now For Something Completely Different
Myanmar: The Land of the Lost
Heading Off the Beaten Path
Disaster Averted and Paradise Found
Culture shock continued...
From Laos to Bangkok...starting culture shock in 3..2...1...now
A Happy Chinese Moment
Welcome to Laos...where are all the Lao people?
Are We There Yet?; and China redeems itself
Movin' on Out...
Hell is the China Post
Disney China is much easier than Real China
Mainland China, or goodbye English, hello crazy gestures and blank stares
August 27, 2004
D.C. to Duke
We're in America. Ahh.
Everything is so easy here compared to the rest of the world. It may not seem so when you're waiting in line at the DMV or dealing with an incompetent McDonald's employee, but just wait until you try to deal with that same employee in Turkish or have to deal with Sally.
We arrived safe and sound after a 10 hour flight took us from Istanbul to Baltimore via JFK International Airport in New York City. After rejoicing in the amount of English that surrounded us (although not so surprisingly, still plenty of foreign language in New York City) we made our way to the Alamo car rental counter in Baltimore. Here we had our first stroke of luck in quite a while.
Thanks to a new computer system, Mr. Alamo Car Rental guy didn't really know what he was doing. We had reserved the cheapest car they had. According to the website it's a Chevy Piece-o-crap and it's little and looks like a toy. He asked us, as they always do, if we wanted to pay to upgrade and being cheap, we said no. He then struggled with the computer more and mumbled under his breath about the new system. Finally, after printing out our receipt we were charged at the business rate (saving about $150) and we got upgraded several classes. Now we're driving around a shiny, brand new silver Monte Carlo with endless toys to keep us amused. It's a serious roadtrip car.
We spent the first full day of our roadtrip exploring our nation's capital. You don't have to be a hardcore, flag-waving patriot to appreciate the majestic symbols of our country's history. We visited the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, World War II Memorial, toured the Capitol and many others. We probably walked more in that one day than on the rest of our trip combined. It turns out the Mall, that grassy strip between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol is really, really long. D.C. also wins the award for the most police presence, beating previous champs Cairo and Myanmar.
It was a good, but tiring day and we had to accept the fact that we wouldn't see everything. Since we're pretty sure we're moving to this side of the country, we pledged to return on a long weekend vacation. Oh, and if anyone from the governments of any of the countries we visited is reading: All of this stuff was free to go in. No $10 charge to walk on the Mall or $5 to look at the White House. Heck, even all of the museums of the Smithsonian are free. Granted, America has a tad more money than, say, Laos, but still it was a nice change.
From Washington we've been heading south, through Virginia and into North Carolina. The main goal of our trip at this point is to scout out possible cities to move to. At the end we'll return and hopefully find an apartment before returning to Indiana to get our belongings and our cat. We're currently sitting in the Durham Public Library after spending the morning exploring town. Durham is the home of Duke University and part of the Triangle of Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill. It's an area that has been towards the top of the list for a bit, but we'll see if another town can woo us away. (I'm not sure what their incentive is to woo us since we'll be about broke and have no special skills, but still I expect to be wooed damn it.)
We're off to check out Raleigh in a few minutes and then we'll be making our way toward Wilmington, N.C. From there we have a rough agenda of checking out Charleston, S.C., Savannah, GA, partying in Florida, checking Athens, GA, Columbia, S.C. and then deciding if we've seen anything we like. Of course, if you've been following along with our trip, you know that none of these plans will last the day.
That's our update. Hopefully, we can get on and let you know about our American adventures. Strangely enough, it's a little harder to get on the Internet here. Since everyone in the States owns a computer there is little incentive for Internet cafes so we're at the mercy of public libraries.
Posted by kobb on August 27, 2004 11:15 AM
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