things I've learned while in the US...
#27: DON'T buy a smoothie when it's only -8' C outside. You know how when you drink a smoothie, you normally have to wait until the crushed ice melts before you can finish it? Well it doesn't melt in these temperatures. So you only get to drink HALF a smoothie (probably a good thing for my waistline, even if I did order it with skim milk... oh that's another thing... I love it in the USA when you order a smoothie with SKIM milk and the guy STILL asks you if you want whipped cream on top... I guess they get taught to never assume...). You might ask "Cameron, why were you buying an icy drink in freezing weather in the first place?" And that would be a good question. I was looking for something pseudo-healthy. If you've been to Melbourne or Sydney lately, you might notice the total penetration of "fresh juice" stores everywhere you go. There's more fresh juice stores in Melbourne now than cafes.... almost. Not in New York, baby. You want a fresh juice? You have to buy your own fruit. Out of a tin.
#52: When eating at your local Brazilian restaurant, DON'T try the national specialty (something in black bean stew with beef and pork which made me quite ill) but DO try the national drink (something made with Brazilian white rum, sugar, and lime... delicious!!).
#56: During snowy weather, DON'T expect your flights to arrive or depart on time. If at all. My flight up to Ithaca tonight was two hours late.
#67: there is no WiFi at the US Air terminal at La Guardia. Amazing how quickly we become accustomed to something like WiFi hotspots everywhere. Do you think the part of my brain that craves internet access anytime anywhere is the same part of the brain that is affected by other addictions? It feels the same. Maybe its part of my brain that didn’t develop into maturity when I was going through that three-year-old “I want it NOW” phase. My 3-year-old twin boys are like that now. They have to have what they want NOW, it doesn’t matter how impossible it might be for me to give them that thing, if they cant have it RIGHT NOW DADDY they throw the biggest of tantrums. And that, my friends, is *exactly* how I feel when I am sitting in a bland NY airport surrounded by crap food, waiting for a flight that I got here two hours early for and which has been delayed an hour already and I am *still* waiting for a boarding call… and I WANT BROADBAND WIFI. I thank the technology gods that I have my 20Gb Zen at times like this to keep me sane. When I cant connect to the web I feel… ill. Almost literally. Its like part of me is missing. If I feel like that after only a decade of being online, what will the generation after me feel like? Is it just me or do other people feel like this when they cant jack in? I keep going to look something up and realize.. I can’t. I am disconnected. Cut off. Outside. I hear people talk about how liberating it is to just turn the technology off for a while. Not I. It probably doesn’t help that I don’t have a working mobile phone / wireless PDA while I am over here. I guess when I am disconnected back home now I am used to getting a fix with my XDA over GPRS. Slow, sure, but a slow hit is better than no hit at all. Or I can call someone. And ask them what’s happening in the world from which I am disconnected. What will the next generation feel like when they are disconnected for some reason?
#72: and here's something I learned tonight while drinking in a bar at the Statler Hotel at Cornell University. I was talking to some firefighters from around this area and I asked them if you get as many fires this time of the year... ten inches of snow forecast for tonight... and they told me that this is the WORST time of year for fires! The cause: candles. There you go. I wouldn't have figured that.