To be honest folks, I haven't had a very pleasant couple of days. I do want to make it clear that this is not because I have discovered any great dislike for the people or places of Rockwall, TX. It is in fact because I have a horrid headcold. I have no idea how I would have coped with the jet lag, but my body is pretty worn out trying to cope with the loogey as well.
As I said the first night here we went to the next-door burger joint, and I see I got the spelling wrong - it's Whataburger. I ordered a #5 (bacon and cheese) and was served a #4 (chicken). I didn't complain as it seemed a combination of my kiwi accent and the poor guy's lack of understanding of the system. I guess he was new.
The next day we met at 11am to go to Walmart. There seems to have been a big deal made about this store in the past but I can't say I was particularly impressed. Perhaps our local Walmart is relatively small, but it just seemed like a large-scale 'The Warehouse.' Other Kiwis will understand what I mean I guess. We quickly scurried about buying fruit and veg, meat and salt, laundry powder and whatever else we could think of without first making a list. We gave ourselves half an hour before we had to meet up again, but (cats again) we left about 45-50 minutes later.
Our next stop was "Best Buys" and again for the Kiwi's this is like a Noel Leeming or Bond & Bond. And here might be a good place for a diverting little story.
Greg is one of our group who was actually born an Australian. We like to tease Greg and say he comes from Tasmania. It's kind of like teasing a South Islander that they come from Gore. No offence Gore ;-)
Greg's main priority as soon as he knew we were going shopping was to buy an electric jug for his instant coffee. In the appliance section of Walmart he was unable to find an electric jug. He found a perculator, but this wasn't good enough - he wanted boiling water for his instant coffee!!
After much discussion across accents and lingo, it was established by the lovely people at Walmart that what Greg wanted was a kettle! But alas, such a contraption as an electric kettle has never been heard of! He was to buy one which would go on the hot-plate of his stove, that was all he needed. Not good enough for our loveable Tasmanian, electric it must be!
Now we arrive at Best Buys and guess what? You know it! He went through the entire rigamarole again with the staff there. Again it was established that Greg must be out of his mind to want something which doesn't exist. Finally by the end of the day he caved in to the pressure and bought a stove-top kettle from Walmart when we went back for some cheap cell phones.
Right, now I've gone on about this in quite a drawn out fashion so I won't sport with you for much longer because the long and the short of it is - we went to another store today, and.... there were electric kettles for sale. But Greg's already made his purchase. Ha ha ha ha ah ha ha ha oh oh oh oh ho hoho. Bloody Tasmanians!
Right, sorry about that. I just wanted to share. Poor ol' Greg. He's a harmless soul and he just wanted his coffee.
Back to the post though. There's no point going over all our actions step by step because I imagine that's just boring so here are some impressions from my point of view.
I found I was intimidated by the idea of talking to Texans. We've been told so often that we speak too fast for them. I almost don't want to open my mouth and give it a go! I think I've done pretty well so far as I'm concious of speed and the fact that Kiwi's are very lazy speakers. (We tend to slur our words to get them out faster.)
For the most part the people here have been really friendly. I'm still undecided as to whether this is a superficial thing or genuine across the board.
We concentrate so hard when driving to keep right, and for the most part it works. I only drifted to the left after a 3-point turn on a deserted street and got distracted by conversation. However there are so many little things right/left that we don't think about.
In the supermarket car park we automatically walk down the left thinking it's out of the way but forcing oncoming traffic to drive around us. *IN* the supermarket we push our trolleys to the left to pass others instinctively - just as they go to their right which really doesn't work as we end up on the same side!!
We expect tax to be included in the price.
I might not lose my Kiwi accent as fast as I thought I would, as we are very much a group of Kiwis. I'll keep you posted on that one.
Okay I can't think of much more to tell you for the moment. I passed the theory for my drivers licence but I'm not ready to sit the practical, a few of us are doing that tomorrow. Please feel free to ask me lots of questions - I'm not too sure what to write about just now. I have some photos of the little unit I'm living in - perhaps I'll post them up next.