America, here I come!

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Reyazul
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Re: America, here I come!

Post by Reyazul » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:22 am

The Dark Something or other wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:43 pm
Reyazul wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:36 pm
Now how are you going to publicize a trip like this and then not come back to say how it went?
What a selfish fucker. Unless (s)he died, that is. In which case, RIP.
I warned him about those fucking San Francisco bathrooms.

Or perhaps he forgot to tip. That's grounds for a justifiable homicide in many places...
Welsh "I hope you catch genital warts you slut!!!!"
Dark "Now we know that Steph swallows, not spits."
Cars "I wouldn't do *anything*. I wouldn't rape someone or kill a bear."

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KiLL HAnnAH
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Re: America, here I come!

Post by KiLL HAnnAH » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:03 pm

Alright, first of all my apologies for neglecting this. It's all due to procrastination and this thread slipping my mind. I also didn't expect this much interest in my travels. Well it seems to be mainly just Rey but 1 member in a forum of like 5 regulars is considered substantial :P.

So without further ado, here is my long overdue (can't believe its been 6 months, how time flies) "KH! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Malaysia".

Sooo...after Chandler, I ended up not going to LA + SF but went to NY for a week instead. I've always preferred NY over LA/SF but initially went with LA/SF as that was the cheaper and more convenient option travelling from Chandler, but I thought "fuck it, I don't know when, if ever, I'll be back in the States again" so I changed my plan to the Big Apple.

It was a fairly uneventful flight from Penang to Phoenix but I feel compelled to post that I was truly annoyed by a baggage handler in LAX where I was transiting. So I had to collect my check-in luggage at LAX and drop it off again at another luggage carousel for transit flights. I was walking up to the transit carousel and about to start lifting my luggage onto the carousel when the guy said "Hey buddy, need some help with that?" I was like "Ok yeah sure thanks" and he proceeded to lift my luggage up to waist level and roughly tossed/dropped it onto the carousel with a loud bang. What the fuck was that about?? Don't offer helping if you don't want to help, you prick.

Other than that shitty "Welcome to the US" gesture, fortunately everyone else I met for the next 3 weeks were great. Below are some observations.

- Seen and read so much about America via the media, it felt really nice to finally be there and experience for myself all those things that I've only seen through the movies.

- Everything in the US is big. Big cars, big parking lots, big roads, even the people there are big! Yes, America has an obesity problem. I'd say part of it is due to the huge meal portions over there, it took a bit of effort to finish most of my meals while I was there. When I got back home, initially I was always feeling hungry after a meal because my stomach had gotten used to the size of the meal portions in the US after 3 weeks there. Also, the snacks there are super salty or super sweet, which does no favours to the obesity problem.

- Knowing when to tip is something I feel you learn by staying in the US for a while. Not a problem in obvious situations like at a sit-down restaurant, but there are some curveball situations like when I was quite surprised to find out from my colleague that tipping is expected for hotel housekeeping. I was armed with this knowledge before I went on my trip but I still managed to forget tipping the one time housekeeping came to make up my bed.

- I think I managed to completely avoid using the term 'toilet' and used 'restroom' instead. :lol: On the subject of toilets, I found it interesting how toilets in America have less privacy, the gaps at the bottom of the door are big and the gaps at the side are big enough that if you really wanted to peek through it, you could.

Also, public toilets were a huge pain in the ass to find especially in New York where I was walking around everywhere. I found it amusing how shops tried to limit their toilets only to paying customers by locking their toilets with a passcode and printing the passcode on their receipts. Even places where I expected to find a toilet like at a subway station, there weren't any. Contrast this to Japan where every convenience store has a toilet which anyone can use, and convenience stores are found almost everywhere you look in Japan.

I was at Union Square this one time and needed to go. I actually tried googling 'Union Square public restroom' and I was pretty surprised and amused (not to mention relieved) to find the below article which helpfully pointed out to me that the Barnes & Nobles there had a public restroom I could use.

https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/hidden ... bathrooms/

Chandler/Phoenix, Arizona
- Arizona is so dryyyyy. First time in a desert climate. Heat was generally tolerable as it's hot as well where I'm from but while humidity here is in the mid-80% all year round, it was like 20% while I was there.
- I found it so weird how cars in Arizona have number plates only on the back with none on the front. I thought it was universal logic that cars should have plates both on the front and back, but apparently not in AZ.
- My company brought us to Sedona which was pretty with all those red rocks from the cowboy movies, but too bad we didn't have enough time in our schedule to fit in the Grand Canyon.
- The tap water there is salty.
- Giant cacti!
- Scorpion candy
- I found it amusing when my Uber driver was telling me stories about how everyone suddenly doesn't know how to drive and the accident rate spikes up when it rains in Phoenix (despite it not being heavy rain), because it rains so infrequently over there.

New York
- Magical city. So much to see and explore. I stayed in Astoria, Queens, which was a really vibrant neighbourhood
- Covered all the major sights; Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Staten Island Ferry, Wall Street, WTC, Times Square, Fifth Avenue (+Trump Tower and St Patrick's Cathedral), Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Centre, ESB, Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, Flatiron Building.
-Wanted to catch a show at Broadway but didn't had the time despite 6 days there. No time to fit in any of the museums or to catch a baseball game. 6 days and I only covered the major sights which were all in Lower + Mid Manhattan. Didn't even touch Brooklyn and Queens (aside from the Brooklyn area surrounding Brooklyn Bridge and my Airbnb neighbourhood in Astoria, Queens)
-It was drizzling on and off the whole week I was there, but fortunately didn't impact any of my plans though it did limit my visibility of the NY skyline while I was at Top of the Rock. Also, just as I got onto the ferry from Ellis Island back to Manhattan, a huge storm broke out that killed 3 people in the wider NY area.
- Love the ceramic and tile mosaics of the subway stations.

Epilogue
Due to not wanting to have any potential issues with claiming the cost of my flight tickets; it took me 2 full days to fly home, from the moment I stepped out of my Airbnb in New York to throwing myself onto my bed in Penang.
- Caught the subway at 2am in New York to catch my 6am flight to Phoenix (4 hours)
- 5.5 hour flight to Phoenix
- 8 hour transit at Phoenix airport
- 1.5 hour flight to LA
- 5.5 hour transit at LAX
- 15 hour flight to Hong Kong
- 3 hour transit at HK airport
- 4 hour flight to Penang
Fuck, that was a really long journey!!

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Reyazul
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Re: America, here I come!

Post by Reyazul » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:12 pm

Good god! That's a long time to be traveling. Hope you found some time to sleep peacefully on the plane rides.

I think you definitely made the right call in going to New York instead. It's definitely not representative of America, due to it basically being a multicultural hub with slices of every part of the world, but it's got a lot of history and is tailor-made for tourism. I'd like to see it myself someday.

I've literally seen nothing of Arizona outside the Phoenix airport, nor do I plan to, so I'll take your word on that. Too bad you didn't see the Grand Canyon! That would have been pretty neat.

Luggage people suck in general in America--no care at all with the bags, just tossing them around and stuffing them as quickly as possible. It's efficient, yes, but my wheeled luggage rarely keep their wheels for very long when I travel. A shame you had to deal with that as an early experience here.

Food comes in large proportions here, yes, but I will say this: it's also cheaper in spite of that. One of my biggest complaints in Britain last time was that they served smaller portions and then charged as much or (more commonly) significantly more for it than I'd pay for a larger meal of the same food in America. I don't know if that's the case in Malaysia too, or if they charge less for the smaller portions...but personally, I'd rather pay less for more food, than pay more for less food.

Obesity is a big issue here for sure, but I'm surprised you saw a lot of it in New York. I figured most people there walked everywhere, and that that would help burn calories. I guess exercise can't overcome all the unhealthy eating.

I have never, ever tipped the housekeeping staff, and I probably never will. I've only vaguely heard of that being "expected," and if so, I've left a long train of disgruntled maids in my wake. You're a far less egregious offender than I.

:lol: :lol: :lol: Seriously laughing my ass off at New York having pass-coded bathrooms with the code on the receipt. I've never heard of that before. They must have had a huge problem with vagrants pissing on the floor or whatnot to resort to that. But yeah, restrooms here are almost always for paying customers only. I usually just find a gas station and buy a pack of gum before I relieve myself.

I'm glad you enjoyed your time here. There's a ton more to America than that, though, so hopefully you'll get a chance to return sometime and see some new places.
Welsh "I hope you catch genital warts you slut!!!!"
Dark "Now we know that Steph swallows, not spits."
Cars "I wouldn't do *anything*. I wouldn't rape someone or kill a bear."

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KiLL HAnnAH
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Re: America, here I come!

Post by KiLL HAnnAH » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:29 pm

Yes, I managed to get some zzz's on the plane rides, so it could have been worst. In-flight entertainment was a lifesaver too in helping to pass the time for when I was awake, I managed to clear quite a few movies off my watch list.

Yep, New York is a world city that everyone should visit at least once if they ever have the chance. If there ever was a need to decide on a capital for the world, New York would definitely be one of the leading candidates.

Arizona is just desert, desert, desert. Really nothing to see there, except for maybe the Grand Canyon. As a matter of fact, I'm actually getting another chance to see the Grand Canyon. I just found out recently that I'll be going over to Chandler again for another 2 weeks business trip in mid-Feb. Unfortunately I can't extend my trip this time to include a personal trip, but as I'll be having a free weekend there, my colleagues and I are planning to visit the Grand Canyon. The only kicker here is there's a chance of snow up in the Canyon during this period, and none of us have any experience driving in snowy conditions. If it does snow, then our plan B would be to drive to Las Vegas instead.

It's not just America, luggage people suck everywhere! It's the same here as well. I know my luggage is probably being manhandled while we're not looking, but I just did not expect to see it being manhandled right in front of me. Maybe the only exception to this is (yup, you've guessed it) Japan; try googling for 'Japan luggage handlers' and watch the videos. I experienced it myself too while I was in Japan, they actually had people stationed at the luggage claim area to arrange the luggages nicely on the conveyor belts and to make sure the luggages dropped nicely onto the belt and not onto other people's luggages.

It depends on how you look at it. If it's based on converting the price to your local currency (i.e., buying as a visitor) then yes, in Malaysia they charge less for the smaller portions. But if it's based on buying as a resident (earning and buying in the same currency) then food in America is cheaper.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the huge food portion, more food for less money is always good! It does bring up the issue of food wastage but that is a separate issue which I won't go into. I was just making an observation on how the average size of a meal is quite large in America compared to Malaysia. Which in my own personal theory (which may be completely wrong!) conditions your stomach to be used to big portions of food, and because you have bigger intake of food during a meal, it becomes easier to gain weight.

Yeah, I'm not surprised if they did that in NY due to vagrants messing up their restrooms badly, judging from what I saw.

All in all, yes, it was an immensely enjoyable trip for me and I'm really happy that I'll get to go over again next month, even though this time I'll be stuck in Phoenix/Chandler for the whole trip. But I'll probably be seeing either the Grand Canyon/Las Vegas over the weekend, and as I'll be transiting in San Francisco for 11 hours, I'll have around 6-7 hours to catch the sights there, so it ain't all bad. :D

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Reyazul
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Re: America, here I come!

Post by Reyazul » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:06 pm

I'm virtually certain that you can see all that's worth seeing at the Grand Canyon in less than a day, so DEFINITELY make it a priority to spend some time in Vegas when you're free. If it snows, you can probably find an Uber or some other method of getting around. I loved Vegas last time I went and am actually a little sad that I couldn't work it into the trip I'm about to take.
Welsh "I hope you catch genital warts you slut!!!!"
Dark "Now we know that Steph swallows, not spits."
Cars "I wouldn't do *anything*. I wouldn't rape someone or kill a bear."

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KiLL HAnnAH
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Re: America, here I come!

Post by KiLL HAnnAH » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:20 pm

We're not planning to do both Grand Canyon and Vegas together as there would be too much travel involved. Grand Canyon, Vegas, and Chandler are located on the points of a triangle; it takes about 4 - 5 hours from one point to another. Going to both places would mean at least 13 hours of driving spread out over 2 days; 9 hours on one day and 4 hours on the other. Doable but tiring and not much quality time at each spot. A single place would be a much more balanced 9 - 10 hours spread out evenly over 2 days.

Uber definitely won't accept a trip that far, we did look at shuttles or buses from Phoenix/Chandler to Grand Canyon but the few we could find do not make sense for us both cost and logistics-wise.

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