So had a GREAT visit to my sister who resides in the gorgeous Poconos in Pennsylvania - and here are a few of my favourite things ...
Manners - USA Rocks
Seriously , not sure WHY Canadians have the rep for being "polite" - my kids and I were constantly giving each other the "look" as yet ANOTHER American held open a door, smiled, chatted in a non-stalkerish but friendly manner, said "go ahead" ... we were like WOW!!
Now, granted in the polyglot of cultures, races, religions and ethnics that make up Toronto, we've become somewhat jaded ...for frankly, a LOT of cultures sure don't' have ANY concept of "politeness" but more a viewpoint that if you don't TAKE, you won't GET .... and manners are wasted .. so it was immensely refreshing to once again revisit what used to be the norm....
But hey, dear Americans - WHAT is up with the PORTION sizes???? I asked for a medium coffee and got the equivalent of an EXTRA LARGE in Canada. Politely, I say in my Canadian way- sorry, I ONLY asked for a Medium - ...well, apparently that IS a medium. Now if those type of portions were limited to black coffee with a sweetener (how I take it) - then it would hardly be a big thing ... but translate that into fries, burgers, POP and all the other mindless, calorie crunching, non-nutritious, deadly crap OUT THERE and you are talking MAJOR health problems ... no wonder so many people I saw were larger than life! The problem with those types of portions is they become the "norm" and they are almost inevitably BAD for you.
and while I'm bitching ... WHERE are all the coffee shops??? As a card-carrying Canadian citizen, I require a coffee infusion roughly, every couple of hours - I went for HOURS and HOURS without access to an easily accessible off-road coffee shop! Wake up and smell the COFFEE - Coffee is a MAJOR food group!!
We came down past Rochester, through Syracuse, and spent a good part of our time in gorgeous New York State - what an incredibly gorgeous place! I felt like I was in Trapped in Paradise! Picture perfect farms and little towns, with storybook homes festooned with Christmas lights, snow on the ground (but roads dry)... it was so utterly lovely! And then into the mountains of Pennsylvania with its winding roads, and gorgeous trees, little hamlets and vistas that took my breath ...
just one bitch ...
HUNTERS ... are they REALLY allowed to shoot so damn close to the road? They were like cockroaches in the woods we passed ... orange vests alight between the starkness of grey trees denuded of leaves and leaf-strewn meandering paths - I swear to GOD we counted at least 150 hunters just through ONE stretch... Kealin was like "mum, isn't a little dangerous if they SHOOT so close??" - umm. YES, one would think so!
DEFINITELY way cheaper BUT... confused the hell out of us. All I can say is there has to be be a lot of Americans who steal gas! I mean, we had to pay upfront! THEN pump... very weird. We kept trying to swipe our debit card, then they told us we had to tell them how much and they would charge our credit card??? I don't KNOW how much - and just to give you an idea- doug initially said better give it $50 as we were under quarter tank ... it took $23!!! Weird - but ominous in a way as it suggests a lot of dishonesty happening ....
Black Friday wasn't
Not something I was interested in but my kids were - dropped them off, crazy insane lineups but truth? Prices were almost identical to Canada - EXCEPT add the 25% exchange rate and things were MORE expensive ... People where we were (Scranton, Penn) were fine according to the kids ... apparently the poor bastard security guard trampled to death as the crowds broke down the doors in Long Island wasn't so lucky - I'm still appalled and disgusted; same for the idiots that pulled out guns and shot each other in Toys r Us .. but thank god - except for what I noticed was MASSIVE security, no issues at all where we brought the kids.
Overall, a very enjoyable trip to the States - even the quizzing going over the border was tolerable although made me feel like a criminal!