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U.S.A. Hollywood, NYC, baseball, The Grand Canyon, East coast vs West coast, Starbucks, The Dallas Cowboys Chearleaders, and more...

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Old 03-18-2004, 05:36 AM   #1
 
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Tips for traveling in the USA
1. Do NOT carry any evidence which may suggest you have plans to stay longer than your visa states; one English guy I met in Amsterdam had carried his resume papers and was refused entry and a young Australian woman had six months of birth control pills instead of only 3 months ( like the length of her visa ) and was denied entry.
2. Keep your eyes open for opportunities like Cameron Diaz said at one of the oscar ceremonies " it's amazing what being blonde and shaking your ass a little can do for you in America".
3. Love it while you are there, concentrate on positive aspects like the incredible geographical variety and beauty of North America and save any negative experiences for later after you leave for sharing with travelers outside the States.
4. Keep exposure to all media, TV, news, advertisements etc to a minimum thereby saving yourself from being brainwashed by the popular consumer culture.
5. Watch a Baseball, football or basketball game LIVE to get a good look at Americans and their culture first hand.
6. Don't be shy about speaking English with an accent; most Americans find it attractive and interesting.
7. Buy a second hand car ASAP after you arrive because there's no place in the world where older cars which are mechanically sound can be bought so cheap like U$300 to U$1500.
8. If you like living and traveling in the States and plan to stay get a driver's license and social security number so you could remain unoticed for a very long time and quite likely could take advantage of amnesty offers periodically offered by US immigration authorities.
9. Divide your travel time between big cities, smaller scenic towns and major tourist destinations to get a good all around experience.
10. Bring LOTS of MONEY or be prepared to work long hours. Or take a chance, play the lotto and who knows you may win; Most Dreams are Made in America!

Any better? more valid?
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Old 03-18-2004, 09:43 AM   #2
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that's a list of stereotypes, not how it really is... unless you're stuck in some sort of extreme right-wing enclave. Many (most?) people criticize the current administration and policies and aren't that paranoid.
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Old 03-18-2004, 12:00 PM   #3
 
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Hey "Space Virgin", PEACE! Point Taken!

This post was a direct reaction to comments about my "Travel Tips for the Philippines / Asia"post. It's also not so easy for us whites to notice the dangers f traveling in the USA compared to foreigners and people of color. I tend to judge American society and culture from the point of view of our cultural minorities and people from around the world.
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Old 03-18-2004, 02:00 PM   #4
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well, I'm in Seattle, and many things are quite a bit different here than good ol' white bread ah-MER-ih-cuh. For which I am heartily thankful.
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Old 03-18-2004, 05:48 PM   #5
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i'm afraid of americans, and so is David Bowie. i mean Dave can't be wrong.
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Old 03-18-2004, 07:55 PM   #6
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I only fear extremists regardless of where they are from and what they look like. Anyone that is too extreme isn't good for anyone.
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Old 03-19-2004, 01:57 PM   #7
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Johnny Knoxville is an american extremist...


...'hi, im johnny knoxville, welcome to JACKASS !'


Funny stuff.

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Old 03-19-2004, 02:30 PM   #8
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Just cause Americans own handguns doesn't mean they use them. Why give people the fear of driving in America? People can judge their own abilities. I prefer to be an assertive defensive driver, and I don't let people walk all over me. I feel free to use my hands, fingers, words or whatever I else I please to let the other drives know what I feel. I haven't had anyone go kamikaze on me, and I couldn't imagine it being more dangerous in most other places of the U.S. seeing as I live in the city known for killing and carjacking.

And as far as telling people not to speak in a native tongue, I don't agree with this one either. I mean unless you live in some backwardass community this wouldn't be a problem. Seeing as in the community I live in, we have whole sections of our city that are written in arab signs and sections in spanish, I don't think people are thrown off by someone speaking the language. We also have a large Southeast Asian population who commonly speak in their native tongue, plus several older european people from poland, italy, etc. So this whole given wierd looks thing is overrated.

As far as paying cash for everything, who cares. There are several working class people that tend to pay cash for most things... we have waitresses, bar staff, construction workers, etc. Many of these people either get paid cash or cash their checks and carry the money. I don't think anything different of them, and neither do a lot of people. As a matter of fact I tend to pay cash for a lot of things. the only warning I would see here is don't flash your money around cause it will get stolen. Perhaps not carry all 100's... we do have smaller denomination bills.

As far as bashing American foreign policy, its usually just wise not to bash the country you are visiting. I think it is somewhat out of respect. Unless you are in an intellectual conversation and are going to discuss things. But to just up and say "yeah, America blows cause they bomb shit, and that George Bush guy is stupider then a rock" might cause problems even if they don't care for bush or our policy since it is an assault against our country.

Walking through neighborhoods? what neighborhood are you trying to walk through? A private gated community for the stars? I know some people get paranoid, but there are all sorts of people that walk up and down my block everyday, and I don't know most of them. Nor do I care what is in their backpack. If I see someone on the street we do this thing, some of you might have heard of it... we greet them with a hi, how are you? Yeah I know.. strange.. but it happens here in the murder carjacking city. We are odd like that. So feel free to carry your backpack and walk down most streets.

Are there people that won't like you if you are from another country, sure, but they won't like you regardless of what you do or don't do, so don't worry about them. All they do most of the time is bitch anyways. Like the guy who was complaining to me one day aobut all these damned arabs coming into our country and taking over and its not right, and I looked at him and politely asked..."So I guess your parents must have been native americans then?" He said no, then I said maybe he should take his filthy ass back to europe where he belongs. he didn't like me after that. But this country was founded by people of many different lands (yes, our government was comprised of mostly english men, but there were people from several other countries.) and over the years we have added many more. So thus there is no reason to strike fear into those people from other lands that would like to come and visit the U.S. Can the government be pricks sometimes... yes. Can people here be pricks sometimes... yes. But where are people never not prickish... nowhere. So I say, come as you will, and have the best time you can. Besides little pointers like don't burn the American Flag... I don't see any reason to offer these tips of things not to do in America

Thanks for listening to my rant
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2014 : Europe: Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Rep, Germany, France, England

2015 : US:Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Joshua Tree NP, Salton Sea, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Mt. Rushmore. 20 states. Europe: Stockholm, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Ireland (month driving around), Northern Ireland, Edinburgh.

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Old 03-19-2004, 03:13 PM   #9
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great points, sijuki. here's my .02c more:

1. Clearly you've never been to Jersey. Shouting and making obscene finger/arm gestures at other drivers is a pastime.

2. This is totally true and can come as a shock to many people at first, except in countries where they do the same thing.

3. I'm not really sure about the context here, but I have never in my entire life in any situation been looked at strangely by asking how much something cost.

4. Clearly you have never visited a trailer park. LOL just kidding! But I still disagree with this. Some people are nosy but most just ignore their neighbors.

5. This is a strange comment to make, since if I remember correctly the US has the highest number of languages spoken in one country... shit, I have to speak two languages for my job.

6. As Sijuki already mentioned, people just get pissed off if you blatantly insult their country, no matter how much they may agree or disagree with said country's foreign policy. Wouldn't this be pretty much true of almost anywhere in the world? That doesn't mean they automatically think you're a "terrorist." And a blanket statement like "Americans are extremely self-righteous" is unfair, since the same thing could be said about the British or the French or the Spanish... there was that whole "colonizing/conquering the world" and "converting the heathens" thing.

7. I'm not sure what "issues" there would be to mention. I mean, most people with an ounce of common sense in their head aren't going to shout "holy crap, look at all the fat people!!!" in any country, not just the US.

8. More likely they'll just think you're a lucky bastard and leave it at that.

9. You'd have to get into a whole lot of trouble that would probably be illegal in most other countries as well to garner a 10-year "life interruption", and there's plenty of activities that are normal here that are punishable by lengthy jail sentances elsewhere-- like a woman showing her navel in Egypt or *anything* else in Afghanistan.

10. Almost every single high-school (and younger) kid in the US wears a backpack. They're pretty freakin' common here so I doubt anyone would look twice. Unless you take the backpack off in the middle of a train station and walk away from it, in which case you are (perhaps obviously?) inviting trouble.

I'm sure some of the things on your list were meant to be slightly tongue-in-cheek, but lumping an entire 240-million-person country into one big "Fahrn-ers Stay Away" pot is unfair.
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Old 03-19-2004, 03:39 PM   #10
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Ummmm....hmmmmmm

Let's see .......someone likes to excite people...hehe

This guy could have done a lot better than that, but obviously he's lazy.
I will make just a few points since plenty of eloquent, fine points have already been made:

1.) Every country in the world that has any sort of automobiles has some serious traffic problems. I have been in fear of my life in an auto in other countries much more than in America...I have been in a car going 180mph in Germany, in China where there are NO apparent traffic laws whatsoever and the car accident deathrate is much higher than America's....have you seen the way people drive in Italy???? Are you nuts??

2.) Let's see, the U.S. is the third largest Spanish speaking country in the world. I would argue that over the last 200 years the U.S. has integrated more cultures and languages than any other country in the world. So...to say you can't speak any language but English.....are you high? Ever try to order a pizza in LA?

3.) The U.S. does not have signs at their border saying "Drug Dealers will be subject to penalties of Death" or some such, like many Asian countries. (Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but still).

Get your head out of your ass. Every country has problems, and a lot of them. Unfortunately, to some extent it's the human condition.
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Old 03-20-2004, 05:19 AM   #11
 
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My first reaction; hahahahhehehehe and my next - - - - - oh just a minute while I get my head out of my ass--- - - - - -Me "Lazy" absolutely but NOT blind or deaf.

ummmhhh hmmmmm anybody sounding a wee bit "defensive" with their reactions posted above?

You need to be "outside" the system before "seeing" it from my point of view. This "debate" reminds me of trying to explain to someone who has never "tripped" before the valuable insights they may experience getting to know themself deeply inside from outside. B)


Allow me to bow to your more youthful, positive thinking opinions about living and traveling in the USA and wish you good luck.
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Old 03-20-2004, 09:57 AM   #12
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Sorry Bill, but I think you are missing the point. The whole purpose of this website is to promote travel. This is a knowledgespace where people from all around the world can share their experiences and information they have of both their home country and also places they have visited to aid and support fellow travelers. The overwhelming purpose of this website is to promote travel and the concepts of broadening one's horizons and viewpoints through personal experience. Most of the people who visit here have curious and open minds and a desire to see and experience things first hand. They want to see, feel, touch and experience all that exists outside of their own particular cuture to learn more about the world and themselves. My opinions to date are that most people that frequent this board, while opinionated, are also open-minded and want to learn things FIRST HAND, and not through the filtered, spun, colored views of world media and other sources.

Posts like yours could possibly serve to dissuade people from wanting to come visit America and this is very contrary to what Travelpunk is about (and because of that, it really irritated me). Your post was in essence a parody of a parody. There were so few grains of actual truth in there that it was not really amusing nor was it informative or useful in any practical sense......so why did you post it to begin with? That is why I said you were lazy. Your post seemed to be concocted from some warped view that arose from exposure to too much American TV or movies, perhaps? I don't know.....but it did not exhibit evidence of what I would have called much personal experience. Perhaps your dislike of American culture is so strong that you cannot get beyond your own biases......as opposed to me seeing America through rose colored glasses, I think you tend to see it through smoke colored glasses. As I said before, America is far from perfect, like most other places in the world. But contrary to your post, this is generally a safe and welcoming country for all walks of life and travelers from all around the world. There is a lot to offer people from other countries who want to travel here. People from other coutnries should travel here to see with their own eyes - talk to people, see the sites, see how people live and form their own judgements. I am all for that...I am not for people posting negative crap that encourages people NOT to make their own decisions.
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:53 AM   #13
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Well spoken LiveFree.

Just to say I will be the first to point out my country's flaws in whatever form I see them, but I doubt that there is a perfect country out there. So pointless negative propaganda isn't necesarry. I would have spoken up even if it were a post talking about canada or england or some other country.

And yes, I am young does that make me wrong? just cause you are old does that make you right?
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2014 : Europe: Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Rep, Germany, France, England

2015 : US:Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Joshua Tree NP, Salton Sea, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Mt. Rushmore. 20 states. Europe: Stockholm, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Ireland (month driving around), Northern Ireland, Edinburgh.

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Old 03-21-2004, 07:44 AM   #14
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Wow, Big debate started. I'm Canadian (duh) and I've been all over the US with my family and on my own. never with any problems (and that includes when I accidentally stumbled into West Side Miami..) but I have to admit I don't feel very comfortable in the country, not safety wise just cause I feel like they're all watching me cause i"m not from around there. Either way I don't think anyone should have any reasons not to go to the states. they do have their problems, mainly guns and fear , but the country is beautiful. so just GIVE'ER.

p.S. I'm young too... OH AND texas is the nicest... most beautiful place I highly reccomend (and bring money cause you'll wanna buy a hat)
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Old 03-21-2004, 09:05 AM   #15
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Yup I am with Molson Girl, after getting the chance to travel to 25 or so states, and not once in NYC or in Chicago, or in Boston, or LA have I ever had ANY problem more than eating to much fast food!
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Old 03-21-2004, 04:18 PM   #16
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Every country has negative and postive qualities. A traveller should hear EVERYTHING about the country before travelling there. I obviously don't live in the states, so i don't know how accurate the list is. But when I travel in the U.S. I don't feel as safe as I do in other countries. Other travellers should be aware of certain flaws. Obviously this is philbills opinion, but a well rounded traveller is one that listens to all points of view.
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Old 03-21-2004, 07:21 PM   #17
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Old 03-22-2004, 02:08 AM   #18
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We are a very diverse, unique, extremely supportive and tight community. We have become such, because we have all openly accepted each other without regards to race, color, or creed. Let's not turn this into a Jerry Springer episode with chairs fly'n n shit.

Unless, I'm reading an edited version of the original post, I can't seem to find out what all the major hooplah is about .

No matter...

Folks, all opinions and view points are accepted here, as long as it is not blatant disrespect.

Please, express your opinions. Respect others for theirs. And, refrain from derogatory remarks to one another.


Carry on....
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Old 03-22-2004, 06:09 AM   #19
 
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Yes travelpunk, My first choice was to delete my original "10 Tips" which didn't seem possible so the next best thing was to rewrite them without the political overtones, personal disgust and paranoia.

I rarely post anything about traveling in the States. But when I read one Filipina member who felt "defensive" or slightly bummed out about my "Bill's Travel Tips for the Philippines/Asia" post I thought that posting similiar advice about traveling in the States would help balance it. But then several other members with replies above jumped on my opinions making them sound like some kind of evil, untruthful, spam so I decided to EXIT, "stage left" ASAP.

Guess I'm guilty of posting some negative comments about living and traveling in the USA and like the saying goes, "the TRUTH HURTS". Maybe, I got carried away since we're getting ready to sell our house here, move back to the islands and get back to living life, "on the road" , taking 3 month international adventure trips ad 6 weeks around the Philippines every year.

I've traveled for over 30 years in maybe 30 countries and every state except Alaska and Hawaii; ever since taking off hitch hiking the summer after high school and working my way around the world for 4 years I have been ADDICTED to TRAVELING. But it's easier for me to hook up or bond with world travelers whose intentions are to stay ON THE ROAD and OUT of THE SYSTEM as long as possible than "trip taker" travelers who work hard, save up and take short well planned trips who make up the great majority of people who travel. But no negatives intended to this group; somebody has to work maintaining their jobs / careers in society. PEACE to ALL! If there's a way to delete any of my posts and you think such a deletion is necessary, feel FREE to do so travelpunk, MABUHAY Philippines! Bill
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Old 03-22-2004, 10:05 AM   #20
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PhilBill - Was your OG Top 10 that offensive that you felt you had to replace it? Cuz, I don't see what all the hoopla is about with the current Top 10 you have. And I agree with many of your viewpoints - especially in comparison to other countries once I travelled "outside the system" myself, too.

But, I think what you list are more political criticisms and cautions against LIVING in the USA, vs simply TOURING the USA. There's a big difference there. One is like being locked in a prison, the other is like visiting the prison just to see what it's like. As long as nobody gets hurt, I think many travellers here want a full experience where they see both the pros AND cons.

As Sijuki and some others said though, the US is definitely more violent, but not to the degree that you need to be afraid of visiting! Even at the height of gang warfare in the 90s, most places outside of those areas were pretty safe. Mainly only gangbangers and convenience store owners now have to worry about getting held at gunpoint.

The more practical problems backpackers might encounter here are lack of mass transit and hostels. Cities are also very spread out and not walkable, at all. I mean, it's not even conceivable to "walk" Dallas, or Los Angeles. If you do, you very well may likely get mugged, lol. You just don't see backpackers walking around like in the EU. In my 3 decades here in fact, I have never seen a single backpacker walkin' aound town. So, this place is not exactly backpacker or pedestrian-friendly.

On the PLUS side, though, due to our long working hours, restaurants and stores all open early and close late. Many convenience stores are even open 24/7. Americans have a gas-guzzling, phallic car obsession too, so roads and freeways are fairly well kept.

space_virgin - Have you lived in other states? From what I hear, Seattle is arguably one of the most well-balanced, diverse, tolerant enclaves in the nation. You have Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee coming out of there, for g0d's sakes. It is more the exception than the rule, though.
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