- Sunshine (approx 320 days a year), John Ford scenery, Aspen, Telluride, Palisade (the New York Times gave this small town - 2,700 inhabitants - three full pages). Skiing, biking, rafting, fishing on the Colorado river and the state´s wine country. Lots of artists, eccentrics, farmers and people who love the great outdoors.
- "You have a wonderful day." I mean, somebody close might have just died.
- "I have to go to the bathroom." Americans say this even when they´re in the middle of the woods.
- "It is what it is." Leaves you speechless.
- "Whatever." The ultimate put-down. In other words, "shut up."
- As the Hispanic population migrates across the US, Tex-Mex is available in almost every American city. Simple, cheap, delicious and good for you. Expecially if you go heavy on the beans and salsa.
- The roads and parking lots are chockablock with gigantic gas guzzlers. They are scary. When one sits on your tail it´s like being chased by a computer-animated movie monster. I was rear-ended twice in two weeks. In the meantime drivers (and almost everybody over 16 is one) are squealing about the price of filling up their tanks: cheap compared to almost anywhere else.
- Consumer god please forgive me. Promised never to set foot in one of these gargantuan cathedrals of consumption. But I cracked. Discovered you can almost furnish your house and not break the bank: a set of dishes (four place settings) costs 9.95, silverware (20 pieces) 9.95, a couch (makes into a bed) 119.95, a complete set of pots and pans (12 pieces, including utensils) 49.95. The shopping cart fills up fast. After you check out, the nice and cheerful staff kindly helps you stuff your stuff into your car and tells you "to have a wonderful day."
- The US is NOT a good place for a hypochondriac, especially if you watch TV. The country is obsessed with health. The airways (and magazines) are inundated with medical commercials. Have discovered diseases I´d never heard of. A lot of these commercials have to do with lawsuits. If you have this or that illness you might be eligible to join a class action suit and make a bundle. Then there´s Doctor OZ. He extols the dangers of taking showers (the head is full of bacteria), going to the loo (thousands of germs fly out of the toilet after each flush), eating beef (as dangerous as smoking). The no-no list goes on and on and on....
Lesson 36: When in America go with the flow, you know, whatever
Next week: 36 To Light, or Not To light