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Old 04-08-2009, 04:19 PM
Location: Eastern Sydney, Australia
2,367 posts, read 2,387,002 times
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Originally Posted by minibrings View Post
The tax does exist in Oz, its built into the price.

By the way, check out hotwire.com for booking hotels in the US. You can get really good deals on hotels. Only caveat is you cannot cancel, you have to be firm on the dates, and the name of the hotel is not revealed until after you pay.

Have fun in San Francisco. Until my Mum passed away, she lived in San Francisco. She like many San Franciscans will be quick to point out its "San Francisco" not San Fran. LOL. One of my flights to SFO the pilot welcomed us to San Fran and quite a few people behind me said "its San Francisco"..
double LOL LOL..
1. Here in Oz the GST (Goods and Servies Tax) is currently 10%. Rumours abound that the government wants to increase it to 15%. Unfounded - that is at the moment. One never knows...

2. Thanks for the link. Had a look and looks like a great website. Will keep this in mind for future trips to the US.

3. *Laughs* I keep forgetting that locals don't like having the name shortened . I always have a ball in San Francisco, never get bored and so many things to do
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:55 AM
394 posts, read 1,076,033 times
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Originally Posted by Vichel View Post
Australians I've known who've traveled to the US all enjoyed it and want to go back. There's several at work. Some of them, I know were not expecting the thrill they got from the experience. And every one of them said it was really good value in the US. I agree. That's what we've always enjoyed about traveling the US. Your hard-earned money goes far and the options are plenty. We'll be there in a month, doing a two week road trip through the Southwest, out of Denver, before heading northeast. The anticipation is driving me crazy

There's so much natural beauty in the US - mountains and coast and canyons and plains and everything in between. I'm more enamoured with that natural beauty than its cities, but its cities can be pretty exciting and interesting too, and full of history too. Not as old as Europe, but still fascinating.

Europe's fantastic, there's so much there in the way of history and culture and beauty. But it's expensive. Our last trip to Italy wasn't too bad because we went in the middle of winter. The weather was fine, cool to cold, no rain, very pleasant. Accommodation half the price. And few crowds. We had a lake view room in Bellagio, lovely hotel, 75 euro a night. Fantastic deal. In high season 175 euro! We got two rooms for less than the price of one in high season. Accommodation in other places was just as good, and not too expensive, given the low-season, which I'd probably do again seeing how perfectly fine it is. I've been to southern Europe in the height of summer and it's very unpleasant, weatherwise and costwise.
It doesn't sound like you'll be heading this direction, but if you haven't been yet, I highly recommend Glacier NP in northern Montana. I moved out West from the Northeast to be closer to these national parks, and no place has struck me more than Glacier (I haven't been everywhere yet). Again, it's completely out of the way, but I'd put that on a to do list if you plan to return! It's actually a joint park with Canada, but we didn't have enough time to explore the Canadian side.
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:05 PM
394 posts, read 1,076,033 times
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Of course, as I'm thinking about my recommendation to visit Glacier, I'm realizing that you'll be here at the wrong time of year anyway! You can basically only drive through the park for two months, July and August...and possibly early September.
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:35 PM
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
2,660 posts, read 4,617,836 times
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Default America Remains the Beautiful

Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I notice a lot of Australians dismiss the US as an interesting tourist destination because they think the culture is shallow and plastic, and it's too similar to Australia.
LOL!! I always laugh when I read comments like this. One of the great ironies of the 20th century is how ignorant the international community is of the US. The "culture" they seek IS the plastic media culture. Their views are self-fulfilling expectations. So what can one reasonably expect?

I have lived in six countries and traveled to 50+ as an adult professional. In all my travels I find that American cuisine is unparalleled. Foreigners limit themselves to gross fast food and miss out on the wholesome foods throughout the US...a very innovative and organically organic cuisine.

The people are among the kindest and most hospitable. You just have to get to the "red" parts of the country. Truly Christian in spirit.

The US culture is the perhaps most diverse. 50 states that until very recently maintained dozens of distinct pockets (the is sadly in decline). Ethnically, it is not even close. Our history is about absorbing cultures. Europe is in its infancy in this respect and is struggling mightly.

The landscapes are among the most varied. Yosemite, Columbia Valley, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, the Rockies, Sierras, & our beloved Seilirk Mountains, all of Hawaii & Alaska, The Great Plains, The Great Lakes, New Mexico and Arizona, the Great MIssissippi, the Lousiana Bayou, the colors of Adirondacks & Berkshires, Vermont & New Hampshire, the wilds of Maine, the subrise on Cape Cod or Long Island, and Florida. All in one country.

The population is among the most pragmatic. Nowhere else have so many with so little inheritance and formal schooling achieved so much. Although I am a Ph.D with degrees from the finest schools, I am humbled by the skills of the average American of middle-America.

The society the most fluid and dynamic. Look around you. You are living in American culture. Don't believe it. Go back 50-100 years ago. Europe was Europe. That Europe is gone. The US has always been the place of refuge for innovators from all over the world. Still very much the case, despite the media reports to the contrary who would have you believe that India has a superior economy to the US (it has 8% size of the US GDP)

And its institutional structure the most widely copied. The top scholars in the world are trained in the US. So many rules that govern market activity are American. Our legal, regulatory, governance, research, etc. institutions remain the blueprints of the modern world.

I say all of this unflinchingly.

Maybe those Aussies you are referring to are themselves too shallow and plastic to seek any other version of America. The Aussies and Kiwis I know are not so.

Parts of California are like Australia. Most other areas bear no resemblance whatsoever.

BTW, tourist visits of 2-3 weeks have nothing to do with culture. Culture implies roots, relationships, and depth. Two week trips are about fun and hedonism. Best to call a spade a spade. The Euros that fly to Punta Cana or Sandals Jamaica, Bali, or Cancun, etc. are not there for "culture." Please. They are there for tight butts, alcohol, sun, white sand, and relaxation. Worthwhile objectives, perhaps, but not culture. Please...

If the world ever bothers to learn about the US, then it will not persistently mis-read the US as it has the past 30 years.

Note: I love Australia for what it is. I don't demand Aussies say "Crikey" or "G'Day Mate." Nor do I ask for kangaroo meat everywhere I ago or seek places to wrestle crocodiles or get sh*t faced and urinate all over the place. The ignorant masses who seek that out of Australia are of the same ilk that want to see the MIami of Miami Vice, New York of the movies, and Hollywood.

But you know...that the world is so misinformed about the US actually works well. It allows much of the US to remain Nirvana unto themselves and prevents the God-awful transplants who want life to imitate TV/Film.

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Old 04-09-2009, 03:19 PM
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
141 posts, read 280,730 times
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I went to the US on my first OE and absolutely loved it. Spent 3 months travelling around, then spent some time with an uncle in SC so got to see some small town stuff too. Since then I have pretty much travelled the world and have lived in the UK for 3 years. The US still holds a fascination for me and if I ever had had the opportunity to have worked there, I wouldve taken it up without any hesitation. The people are friendly and cant to do enough for you to showcase their country and their lifestyle. I admire their patriotism. You cant compare Europe and the US...they are completely different.
My wife & I plan to spend do a big road trip in the US when we retire one day.
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Old 04-09-2009, 03:31 PM
Location: Paramus, NJ
500 posts, read 1,156,771 times
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I notice a lot of Australians dismiss the US as an interesting tourist destination because they think the culture is shallow and plastic, and it's too similar to Australia.
I don't know about you but when I went to Disney Land for my spring holiday last year, there were a lot of Australians visiting that area. A lot of families....
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:58 PM
Location: So. Dak.
13,495 posts, read 32,051,783 times
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ALL Black Hills: Mount Rushmore, Sturgis & Deadwood

You guys, come and visit my state. Here's a preview of it. When you click on the pic of Custer State Park, wait cause it'll bring up several more pics.
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:20 PM
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,684 posts, read 38,992,476 times
Reputation: 11862
Great post sandpontian! It's an attitude that a good part of the population seems to hold, especially among my arty, intellectual, friends who seem to equate culture etc with Europe and be dismissive of America. This annoys me. Any 'enlightened' person will not fence off any part of the world because of some pre-conceived prejudice. I think every country is worth visiting, but American should be mandatory merely to understand where a lot of our culture came from. And you're right, apart from parts of California I think the US is very different to here in look, culture.etc. You know, I think I'd feel more at home in rural New England or something than here, despite being Aussie.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:18 PM
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
10,791 posts, read 7,081,597 times
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Originally Posted by Sleddog905 View Post
It doesn't sound like you'll be heading this direction, but if you haven't been yet, I highly recommend Glacier NP in northern Montana.
Hey sleddog, thank you for the suggestion, that's definitely on the list for a later trip. I tried to work it into this itinerary but it was going to be too rushed. I regret not going there back when we lived in Vancouver but we will get there some day. This trip though, we're sticking to the Southwest, which has always fascinated me. I've been before, but a long time ago and for not long enough. I am so looking forward to the diverse terrain, history, culture and food. I love American cuisine.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:25 PM
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
10,791 posts, read 7,081,597 times
Reputation: 17691
Love your post, Sandpointian.
Wish I could rep you more than once for that!
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