Sunday, September 25, 2005

Travel Diary 6: Supersize Me!

After our first weekend living in America, I feel a little like Morgan Spurlock in Supersize Me, though I'm happy to say that our diet has been more interesting and varied than his in that film; I just find that I eat so much more here, and less of the right things, and need to find ways of curbing this. We have had a friend to stay for the weekend, an old college friend from Oxford, so had the chance for some good recreation American-style, with a trip to the Buffaloe Lanes Bowling Alley (which was actually much more lo-tech than what we have been used to in Birmingham), and an afternoon at Adventure Landing in Raleigh, with go-carts, adventure golf (what we'd call "crazy golf") and lazer quest.

We had to move hotels yesterday because, well I don't want to say why; we were unhappy with the hygiene and cleanliness of the place. It was one of these cheap Extended Stay Hotels called Homestead Studio Suites; the advantage of them is that you get a kitchen with your hotel room, and the price is reasonable enough to make it viable in our kind of situation, while we await moving into our house. But there are two many downsides, and they'll get a stinker of a review from me. We did get a refund for one of our three nights there, and we are in a much better place now, if a touch more expensive. It even has a nice outdoor swimming pool so that we can exercise off those large American meals. Speaking of which, we had a fine taste of local cooking at a place called Don Murray's Barbecue and Seafood. Proper North Carolina cooking, with a buffet bar with heaps of barbecued meat and something called "hush puppies". In the UK a "hush puppy" is a kind of shoe, but here it is a kind of tasty deep-fried corn bread. I was embarrassed that I could not always understand our waiter's accent, and he was quite cross when he had to repeat, "Would y'all like menus?" But I love that culture of re-fills, and my coffee was refilled twice without my even asking.

Other interestingly new experiences included make-your-own waffles at our hotel in the morning. You pour your waffle mix into the waffle iron and it times the cooking. It was also nice to be able to catch the "season premiere" on ABC of the second series of Desperate Housewives tonight. So no more will we have to wait weeks and even months for the new shows to arrive in the UK. But that causes problems too; we are half-way through Lost on Channel 4 in the UK, but they are just starting season 2 here in the US.

I am at the point now where this has become less of a travel diary and has morphed into my observations on a new life in America, and perhaps the time has come now to wind it down and return to serious, academic style blogging. I am sure that it must be getting tiresome to read. But I have enjoyed doing this -- it's helped the process of transition and I have really enjoyed all the feedback and comments on the beginning of our great American adventure.


Michael said...

Mark, I like to read ur story in America....since it is a big transition in ur life.
And i am also looking forward ur serious NT blog coming back.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the diary Mark - interesting stuff (surprisingly). Hope everything works out well for you over there.

Matthew Page

Loren Rosson III said...

Your travel diaries haven't been tiring to me, Mark. I enjoyed reading them immensely.

Stephen C. Carlson said...

Always interesting, Mark.

I used to have a pair of hush-puppies (the shoe). I haven't worn them since the early 80s, though.

Anonymous said...

not boring at all Mark - still laughing a week later - all the best with the new life in the USA

Anonymous said...

Dr Mark,thanks for your story so far and look forward to hearing some more. Happy shopping catch you later.