First US Photos [en]

[fr] Les premières photos de mon séjour aux USA.

[My first photos are online.]( Didn’t take many in Portland, but I got a few shots of a gorgeous sunrise over San Francisco earlier this morning.

San Francisco 8

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Welcome to the United States! [en]

[fr] Quelques étrangetés américaines rencontrées sur mon chemin...

Here are a few of the things I noted regarding my second contact with US culture. I’ll add things to this list during my stay.

– friendly and helpful people (besides the cashier at Walgreen who couldn’t help me use the card payment system and was a tad grumpy)
– wide, wide roads; a normal road like Cornell in Hillsboro is roughly as wide as our motorways; a small residential lane is wide enough to fit 8 cars across it
– big, big cars, to go with the wide, wide roads; they’re not cars, they’re trucks! And yeah, maximum one person per vehicle, please…
– some of the cars (quite a lot) have the orange turn signals lit up permanently (not blinking) instead of off
– in domestic airports, anybody can enter the luggage claim area
– security people have a “we take security seriously here” air about them
– breakfast seems to consist [mainly of pastries](
– cubicles; saw the real ones, after being introduced to the concept by Dilbert; they’re far worse than I had imagined: huge, huge spaces lined with grey boxes — people must feel very lonely working in them
– default mode of transportation seems to be the car; when I asked where I could get a sewing kit, I was sent about 500m/1km away, but the guy was a bit taken aback when he understood I was on foot, and then claimed it wasn’t walking distance
– many more large and extra-large people here than what I’m used to seeing
– grown-ups wearing caps
– an ATM which charges me $2 to withdraw money
– tap water which tastes of chlorine and frog (I feel like I’m drinking swimming-pool water)
– grid-like roads: very confusing when trying to figure out where I am on a map — all the intersections look the same
– nice food! Indian, Thai, burger, fish-food… yum; I’m definitely not having [light meals to help with my jetlag](
– at Portland baggage claim, a surprising number of very young mothers (or very well-preserved mothers)
– way too much choice when it comes to medicines
– toilet bowls full of water by default (I thought the first one I encountered was blocked)
– signs telling people to wash their hands!
– bathtubs encountered are wide but really short and shallow
– way too much ice in drinks
– woman next to me on the plane who gave me a rather blank look when I said “Switzerland”
– pedestrian lights in Hillsboro stay green for two seconds and then transform into a big red flashing hand; now what’s the logic behind training people to walk across the road with a big red hand flashing at them? in civilised countries like Switzerland, the light at least stays green long enough to allow you to cross the road while it’s green
– paying the bill at the restaurant requires engaging in complicated calculations to figure out [how much to tip](

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USA Coming Soon (San Francisco) [en]

[fr] Aux Etats-Unis du 2 au 12 janvier.

Just a note to let you know I’ll be in the States from Jan. 2-12. 6-11 (roughly) will be in San Francisco (yes, I know there’s a big Apple fiesta at that time).

Do drop me a note if you’d like to meet up! Maybe we can organise a dinner/party or something if enough people are interested.

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