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Old 06-23-2009, 07:15 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,084 posts, read 34,148,649 times
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I don't know if I can really answer this question very well. I have been traveling all over the Country since I was just a very little fella with my parents, then by myself as a young person, as an adult, and now as the Father driving the kids. I would have 3 or 4 days off and just drive out 1 1/2 or 2 days to see where I ended up, no plan, no "trip" per say, just wanderlust. I don't really remember being shocked at much of anything, it was all normal for me. I guess the one thing that stands out would be when I first crossed the state line from Mississippi into Louisiana and figured the signs must mean you would get a fine if you DIDN'T litter on the road. Granted that was many moons ago, and I haven't noticed that on any trips through the same exact area later in life.

I have found that most of the time, people are people no matter where you are. Different accents, even different cultures; but when it comes right down to the real person, most are honest, hard working, and enjoy a good time. I think I have been to a festival and celebration for every veggie, and fruit grown in the US, as well as for livestock, and natural geological features. Been to festivals for insects (by the way, spell check doesn't catch it if you transpose the s & c in insect; that was almost embarrassing ), food dishes, seafood, harvest times, planting time, etc.... Anything you can think of, and some you can't, as a reason to get together and have some fun. Some people are jackasses, but most are decent. That is what shocks or stands out for me in this Country. We may not agree on many things, but toss in a Ferris wheel and bright lights and we all have a good time, even around people we normally wouldn't associate with for some preconceived notion.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Seattle
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I think what shocks me about traveling throughout the US is just how different our country is from region to region, from city to city. Rural South Carolina compared to NYC compared to Los Angeles compared to Central Pennsylvania compared to Lansing, Michigan.

What shocks me most about Los Angeles is how you can travel 5 miles and feel as if you are in an entirely different world, from Beijing to Mexico City to Whitebred America...from ultra wealthy to ultra poor.

The country is incredibly diverse from so many angles. It's part of what makes America special...it's a shame that so many people in our country resist seeing its different regions, cities and neighborhoods to really appreciate that diversity.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.
8,900 posts, read 13,232,834 times
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I've never been to CA, but have seen tons of pictures and on tv, in the movies, etc. I mean the landscape and the style of the houses, etc. I was surprised Las vegas looks similar to SoCal, except drier obviously.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
1,954 posts, read 4,503,627 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachael84 View Post
I've never been to CA, but have seen tons of pictures and on tv, in the movies, etc. I mean the landscape and the style of the houses, etc. I was surprised Las vegas looks similar to SoCal, except drier obviously.
Only parts of suburban Southern California look similar to Las Vegas. These are usually inland areas more towards the deserts. This is not true of the entire state. There are towns in rural Northern California that look more similar to small towns you would find in upstate New York.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:42 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
15,460 posts, read 25,401,064 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachael84 View Post
I've never been to CA, but have seen tons of pictures and on tv, in the movies, etc. I mean the landscape and the style of the houses, etc. I was surprised Las vegas looks similar to SoCal, except drier obviously.
That's because LV is essentially a suburb of LA in many ways. The same people that built all those subdivisions in Southern CA also built all the ones in Vegas.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:47 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
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On my first trip to the east coast I was amazed how lush and green it was in summer. In Ca, grass and many hillsides turn brown in summer and is dry and somewhat dead looking. I really liked how green and lush it was and am looking forward to heading back there in August.

My only trip to Florida I was amazed at how flat and swampy it was. Even in CA's central valley you can see hills and mountains but Florida is flat as far as the eye can see. I just wasn't used to that when I first visited at a young age.

My two trips to New Orleans I am still impressed with how incredibly friendly and hospitable the people are there. It is really refreshing and a nice change to encounter that Southern hospitality. The people are definitely one of the many great aspects of New Orleans, I can't wait to go back for another Mardi Gras.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
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This is going back aways. When I was a kid my parents took us to Washington, DC. I had never seen a black person before growing up in rural upstate NY.

In the early 70's I took a vacation I think it was in S. Florida that I saw a chain gang of prisoners working on the side of the road, striped uniforms, chained together around their ankles, and guards with shotguns over them. Scary.

Washington state surprised me with its desert in the eastern half. Didn't expect it so far north. It was also strange feeling driving across country with the vastness of it being landlocked. I'd always lived on the water.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Mequon, WI
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I was really shocked on how laid back the south is. the say the Midwest is laid back but nowhere near the south and why are their no curbs down south?
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:04 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,672 posts, read 33,671,635 times
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In the Los Angeles area, I was shocked at how close people live to one another in houses. I'm talking expensive houses and you could practically spit in your neighbor's bedroom window. I know why (taxes) people don't seem to have much property there but it didn't make it any less jarring to see it.

Long Island, NY - I was just there in May after having been away for a long period of time and I was shocked at the condition of the roads. I'm guessing having lived there most of my life, it's something I didn't notice when I was there but after being away for awhile, just couldn't believe the bumpy drives with potholes, I took. Which brings me to my next one...

I make a 10.5 hour drive from where I lived in Maryland to where I live now in Tennessee and never pay a toll. That's right, 10.5 hour drive, no tolls, a good deal of that trip going through Virginia, mostly on Interstates. But I paid $8 to go over the George Washington Bridge and $5 (or $6) to go over the Throgs Neck Bridge and $9 and change for the pleasure of riding on the NJ Turnpike when I went from MD to NY and that doesn't include the tolls in Delaware. And it's a bump, bump, bump ride or pothole dodging drive most of the way in NY/NJ (but mostly in NY and that's all the way out to Eastern Long Island). Just where is that toll money going?

I was shocked that I cried the entire time I was in the Kansas City area. There's something in the air there that makes water pour out of my eyes when I am outdoors, that I have never experienced in any other place in any other state I have been to and I've been to about 33. I'm talking non-stop water pouring out of my eyes, even when in a car.

I was surprised at how beautiful Utah is. I was in Ogden and Salt Lake City one year during Halloween week and there was some snow in the mountains. I guess with the salt flats, I just had in my mind that it was flatter than what it is. Flying into Utah is also beautiful from the air.

I was surprised at Tennessee's distinctive regional music roots and that influence on music from a national historical perspective. For those that don't know, Tennessee is divided into 3 regions: East, West and Middle. The historical influence in the East (Appalachians) is bluegrass, the historical influence in the Middle (Nashville) is country and the historical influence in the West (Memphis) is blues/rock and roll. I had been to Memphis and Nashville on visits in the past before moving to East Tennessee and music wise they are as different as night and day. I think it's very rare for a state to be so well known for it's historical impact on the national music scene.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:15 AM
 
Location: New Orleans, United States
4,230 posts, read 9,131,199 times
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Nothing is really shocking to me now, but in my younger days I would say.....

The fact that you actually have to go to a "liquor store" to by liquor and that some states even had ABC stores.

How far apart the houses are in the rest of the south. Especially Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Also how they have so much empty space and they keep building out. Just seeing that much unused land in an urban area was weird.

There is actually a such thing as water that appears blue.

Being in a place where you can turn left without making a U-turn, and places where all the streets have the lane in the middle for turning from either side.

That's all I can think of.
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