Filed Under (General) by Rob on 13-07-2006

Howdy folks! And greetings from the U S of A! Gee wizz, it’s mighty fine here!

Actually, I’ve hardly seen any of the USA yet, as I’m at the GCoMM conference at Bethel University. It’s a great gathering, with some wonderful presentations (pronounced pree-zen-tations) from all around the world. The worship is amazing, with songs and instruments from so many countries. African drums, South American flutes, didgeridoo, charango and …trombone!! Learning tonnes and meeting loads of interesting people. More sleep would be nice, but how can an outgoing chap like me sleep when there are folk to chat to???

The weather has been warm, but the university has good air conditioning – almost too good as I’m chilly half the time (but as least it stops me nodding off – see ‘jet lag’ comments below!)

Jet Lag

Here in Minnesota, the time is six hours later than in the UK. That means that I get up at 1:00pm British time and go to bed around 6:00am. Mmmm…sounds interesting! On the first night, there were a load of meetings and I was shattered. They finished around 9:00pm, but that’s 3:00am in Britain!! I had also been up since 6:30am British time (or 12:30am central time!) Still, recovering now and getting used to it.

Trans-Atlantic Communication issues…

I fell for the most obvious of these, when a guy (=bloke) said ‘There’s a drinks machine on the second floor.’ So up I went, to what they call the 3rd floor! Oops! Mind you, if I take the elevator I just press the number (and there is, of course, no ‘G’ to press).

‘Rest Rooms’ means loos and they are labelled ‘Men’ and ‘Women’ rather than ‘Gents’ and ‘Ladies.’

On the door into my accomodation is a sign which says:

“Do not prop open the door for security reasons.”

Okay, fine. So if I want to prop it open for ventilation reasons would that be okay?!? Could be an ‘Eats Shoots and Leaves’ issue!

American things

Most things are the same as in the UK, but there are the usual things which differ from country to country (ie light switches, loo flushes, plug sockets).

The food is as copious as I’d expected, but it’s the drinks dispensers that really amaze me! Six different fizzy drinks (sodas) in one machine, with an ice cube dispenser in the middle. Then there are two of these machines and a third machine for juices! Breakfast is potatoes, pancakes and scrambled egg (with a choice of ‘regular’ or ‘cheesy’ scrambled egg!) Then there’s the icecream dispenser, where you can help your self to a ‘Mr Whippy’ style icecream in vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.

I shall endeavour not to put on weight during this course! In fact, I only had ‘fries’ and ketchup for lunch as I was still stuffed from breakfast!

High points

Seeing Minneapolis from the plane was interesting as everything is organized in perfect squares on a north-south, east-west set up. I found this surprising but interesting. Flying over one of the ‘Great Lakes’ was fascinating too, but narrowly missing a view of the Statue of Liberty in New York was disappointing (I was on the wrong side of the plane, so will look out for it on the way back!)

National Symbols

It was fascinating to drive past a real ‘diner’ complete with the rotating ‘Joe’s Diner’ sign!!

Another thrill (for want of a somewhat milder term) was seeing a depot full of those yellow school busses you see on all the films!

Then today my heart missed a beat when I saw a real american police car drive by (no sign of the Dukes of Hazard though!!! Yeee ha!)

Right, must go. Thanks for reading my drivel above. Any comments? Do leave one if you have time.

Also, if we’ve not seen you yet we are around during August, so hope to catch up with you then.

So long dudes!

5 Comments posted on "Yabbadabbadoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Tim on July 14th, 2006 at 1:25 pm #

You know, it had never occurred to me that you guys don’t have soda machines like ours. I guess it makes sense, what with the “free-refills” culture here being totally absent throughout the rest of the world, but still…as you’ve noted, everything about the U.S. is set up to enable you to overeat as much as possible (without ever being aware you’re doing so–after all, if you never actually ORDER again, it’s all still the same first serving…right? I mean, right? Riiiiight….)

Paul Morriss on July 14th, 2006 at 3:37 pm #

You notice the same differnces betweek UK and US as I have. Is it your first time?

Rob Baker on July 15th, 2006 at 8:01 pm #

Hi Paul,

Yes, it is my first time in the US. What about yourself? I also noticed that all the illuminated EXIT signs above doors in the university are RED. Is this your experience? In the UK they are always green, I think!

Drop me another line if you have time. Where are you living?

Rob Baker

Paul Morriss on July 19th, 2006 at 1:39 pm #

I’ve been a few times now. I never noticed the exit signs. Our beloved Health and Safety Executive makes sure that they are consistently green. Have you noticed how the person running towards the door always faces the direction you need to go when you go out of the door – left or right? (That’s in the UK.)

Rob on August 24th, 2006 at 12:42 pm #

Nice one, Paul.

Tim, we do have fizzy drinks dispensers in the UK (or ‘soda’ as you folks call them!) but I’ve seldom seen such large ones and so many! Free refills is a largely alien concept here, although the Swedish chain ‘IKEA’ do them!

Bye for now,