Report on America.

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First up: they had a great time. They loved the place and also mixed really well with the other members of the band. Their conversation was peppered with the names of the other kids and they have lots of in-jokes.

In the car on the way home they had some interesting observations to make about America. Keep in mind that they only went to Los Angeles and San Francisco, so their sample was pretty limited.

* Incredibly dirty. The streets of LA were filthy and looked really grotty. San Fran was slightly better, but the cleanest place they saw was Disneyland. That was impeccably clean and looked great.

* However, Melbourne has more graffiti than America. Still, Melbourne is a far better place to live… cleaner and by far less polluted.

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*Venice Beach is scary. The boys were taken by guys selling what are probably blank cds…. the man selling them struck up a conversation with them, wrote their names on the cds, then when the boys balked at paying him, his friends materialised around them and pressured them into buying not only that cd, but theirs as well! David2 spent $60, while Ryan3 got away with only paying $15. The teachers were also leery about Venice Beach… the people are very tough and, as I said, very scary. Still, as our principal said, it did the kids good to go and actually see it for themselves.

*Hollywood is grimy. They were disappointed with the reality as opposed to the legend.

*People in Australia are in general about the same weight as in America, however those who were overweight were REALLY overweight.

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*The waitresses are hot in Hooters. However, David2 was shocked to see that people were bringing their families in to eat there, some with little kids.

*The Golden gate bridge is mad. Makes the Sydney Harbour Bridge look like a child’s toy. They saw it on a misty morning and the boys said it was incredible… like something out of a fairy tale.

*Waiting in airports is no fun. Made them really feel for Tom Hanks’ character in ‘The Terminal.’

*Knottsberry Farm was the best of the theme parks they went to. Just like the game ‘Rollercoaster Tycoon’.

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(Evan4 modelling his gifts from them.)

* They were outraged at having to pay tax on top of the ticketed price of anything they bought. (In Australia our taxes are already built in to the price, so you don’t have to add anything on when you pay.) They also didn’t like tipping. (Tipping is optional here.) They found it harder to budget with those extra amounts to factor in.

*Clothes were the same price as here, contrary to what we think. Food was slightly cheaper.

*They commented again on the amount of sugar being added to everything. The corndog ‘thumbs up’ that was texted to me at the beginning of their trip didn’t last… but apparently something called ‘Twinkies’ is excellent.

*David2 said that everything they ate over there was really high GI, so he felt tired and blah a lot more than here. In the car they both said they were dying for some GOOD FOOD! David2 even asked for salad, which was surprising as we’re not a big salad eating family. When I asked him why salad, he said, “I don’t know… I’m just craving some healthy food.” So we had poached eggs (from our chooks) on wholemeal toast when we got home. They each had 4 of them. So they might die from cholesterol poisoning instead.

* In the interests of fairness, I asked Ryan3 if he agreed with this post. When we got to the above point, he shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I didn’t have twinkies. I ate real food.”

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(A top priority was to see the latest episode of ‘The Office’. The one with Will Ferrel in it.)

*The workshop that they had at Disneyland was a highlight. They had an hour and a half in at the animation studios, where they had to play some music, then it was put with animations to supply the soundtrack. They said that the first one was a little out of synch so that it didn’t quite work; but once the trumpets saw that, they played on time and it was all fantastic after that. They said that the time flew by.

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David2 bought this jacket at Disneyland. It was cold when he was walking through it and he said that other kids wanted to buy it but he got the last one. He was wearing it yesterday.

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A detail from the jacket.

*There’s a 4-D ride at Universal Studios that knocked their socks off. They loved it.

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*There’s more to do in LA, but San Fran was prettier and more comfortable to hang around in. They were amazed by the hills and (of course) went to the windiest street in the world. I don’t think they’ll forget it.

*The hotels they stayed at were just like in “My Name is Earl”. I had to laugh at that one!

*Playstation games are incredibly cheap over there compared to here. I think Ryan3 was in gaming heaven.

* “They have magic shops everywhere!!!!”

*Their money really is green. It also has that weird pyramid thing with the eye on it. Evan4 was really intrigued by that.

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All in all, they had a blast and were very glad they went. But David2 made an interesting observation as we were driving over the Bolte Bridge, with the bay sparkling in front of us and the city to our left.

“All my life I wanted to go to America. We keep seeing on tv shows and movies how it’s the best place in the world.” He turned to face me.  “But it’s really not. What we’ve got here in Melbourne is FAR better.”

It’s lovely having them home. The sounds of playstation games is now filtering out from Ryan3’s room again, while the fun never ends with David2. I came home from shopping only to find that he’s stuck an old safety pin through his earlobe to pierce it. He bought some earrings in America so he thought he’d do a DIY piercing job on himself. (“Don’t worry Mum! I disinfected everything!”) In the interests of avoiding tetanus I dragged him up to the chemist, where he pulled out the safety pin and the lady gave him a stud instead. It looks good, but I could have done without the drama.

In other news, Tom1 and his friend Gus decided to audition for a gig at the winebar around the corner. They put together a selection of standards to suit the clientele, (‘Sway’, ‘Mack the Knife’, songs like that) and they ended up getting work! Their first gig is in the week after Easter. I’m really proud of them both.

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15 Responses to Report on America.

  1. Annie Jones says:

    I read this post to my husband over the phone this evening. We both chuckled at the comment about our money being green and having that weird pyramid thing with the eye on it. Most of us don’t understand that, either.

    It’s interesting to see America from a different perspective. I have to say I agree with a lot of their observations.

  2. persiflage says:

    What a wonderful post about the boys’ trip. How enjoyable and interesting it was to read all this. How great to have had such a good time, and to appreciate all the differences between there and here. They sound so glad to be back home, too.

    I remember that sale tax addition to the prices. It takes some getting used to. And the tipping. How to avoid paying decent wages in a lot of instances.

  3. I am so glad to hear that the trip went well.

    I have been on a short trip to Toronto, DC and NYC and I agree – Melbourne is much cleaner, and the food is so much better.

    The Americans seem to be, on the whole, acclimated to the taste, so don’t realise that there is added sugar in everything, not just things you expect to be sweet.

    We also have the Mickey Mouse hands, but ours came from Toyko Disneyland, which Luke visited on a work trip.

  4. pixie says:

    Sounds like they had a good time but came home with a great appreciation for home….

    theres no place like home!!!!

  5. Stomper Girl says:

    I felt the same way when I got back from overseas, I was craving fresh salad and pumpkin soup for some reason! You really miss home cooking when you travel I think, takeaway and el cheapo restaurant food just palls after a while

  6. andi says:

    What a wonderful (and perspective bringing) experience!!!!

  7. paige says:

    There’s a backlash in the US against processed, sugar laden food. That’s one of the main reasons our family eats very little processed food and we rarely eat out. I make almost every meal we eat, the kids and I pack lunches and I buy our fruit and veggies from the local farmstand. Within a 20 mile radius of my house are four restaurants that sell only food made from locally-sourced, organic meat and produce. Finding healthy, real food while travelling is quite a challenge, though.

    I would take Melbourne over any American city. Except maybe San Diego, which is the cleanest, nicest city I’ve ever been in.

    So happy the boys got home safely and had a good trip. And so happy they see their home with new, more appreciative eyes.

  8. LynneFtWorth says:

    I’ve only been to LA and San Francisco once. I loved Disneyland. I thought the Wharf in San Francisco was a scary place. I would love to go back now that I am grown and do all the freaky things my parents wouldn’t let me do.

    I am so glad your sons got to have that experience. Myself I have hardly ventured out of the big state of Texas.

    I too love Cornydogs, but don’t really care for Twinkies.

    So glad they are home safe. Home is always better after a long trip.

    Happy Easter!

  9. Needtochange says:

    I’m glad they had such a great time. What an experience.

    My husband went to America a few times as a teen as well and he loves Australia more for it. Though we live in NSW and neither of us have been to VIC at all so maybe we will have to organise a holiday down that way to see the differences.

  10. dorothy says:

    There is so much to see about America once you get away from the large cities. I live in Texas, so NYC and LA are like foreign lands to me. Too bad most tourists end up in the scariest and dirtiest places. Must agree about the overweight people. There is a serious epedemic here because of fast food and junk food. Twinkies are pure sugar wrapped in chocolate. Would love to see Australia some day, but that would require flying OVER WATER. Love your blog.

  11. Bev says:

    It’s good that they’ve seen how the other half lives and have come back with such a good impression of Oz. I always reckon you have to go overseas to realise how good this country really is.

  12. paige says:

    I have the distinct feeling that if I ever get to the shores of Australia, I’m going to stay…

  13. Urspo says:

    I think they got it more or less right !

  14. Jayne says:

    They’ve had a great opportunity to travel/explore another culture not many get and it’s lovely to hear they were able to enjoy it without being overwhelmed or go silly, one way or the other 🙂

  15. Ellen says:

    Glad to hear your boys got home safely. It sounds like they had a wide variety of experiences, which all the best holidays have, and it was great hearing their evaluations.

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