Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Travel Diary 3: Arrival in North Carolina

An enjoyable flight; I had a good sleep, read the whole of The Guardian (a pleasure I will only have on-line for the foreseeable future), watched about four episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond and read a little of Terence Mournet's Oral Tradition and Literary Dependency, which I am reviewing for JTS. We touched down at 4.20 pm, picked up our hired car, drove to our cheap hotel and had a nice meal at a place just around the corner called Perkins. I would guess that this is some kind of chain, but the food was good and it was remarkable value (half what we would pay in the UK) and friendly service. No beer, unfortunately, but it was good to taste my first root beer since arriving, with free refills, an American tradition I am going to enjoy. The kids are now in bed and so Viola and I both have a little computer time, so out comes the blogging machine.

I have found my camera so should be able to make some picture observations soon too. Some useful lessons on how to live in America have already been learnt, and we have only been here a few hours. First, a friendly fellow at the airport piled all our bags onto the shuttle that was to take us to the rental car place. I remembered that in the US you are supposed to tip everyone, so I took a stab and gave him $1.75, feeling very generous. A friendly lady from Miami explained to us on the bus that the going rate would be $1 a bag, so the ideal would have been $5 or more for our huge, heavy bags. Second, I have discovered that you cannot use the word "double", e.g. when spelling "Goodacre", "G, double o, d, a, c, r, e" etc., or "double 9" for 99 in a phone number and so on. Third, don't believe anything you are told on an internet site about a hotel you have booked into, even if you have it in writing. The kind of room we had reserved turned out not even to exist. But we don't know yet how long we will be living in this odd, interim state. We have had an offer accepted on a house here, and aim to close in mid October. In the mean time, I have a job to begin, and I go in to Duke first thing in the morning. My first class, though, will be next Monday, so I have a couple of days plus a weekend breathing space to do start doing all the other big things that need doing, social security number, school for the kids, bank, mortgage, car and more.

My clock is showing 3.04 am, so I suppose I had better get that adjusted back to 10.04 am, which sounds a whole lot more civilized.

12 comments:

Stephen C. Carlson said...

Welcome to America! Thanks for discovering the bit about "double." That explains why Double-O Seven is really British...

Michael Pahl said...

Glad you made it safely! We miss you here in Brum already, but I look forward to hearing about all your American adventures.

Jim said...

Yes Welcome!! And Perkins is indeed a chain. While in the South you will find them everywhere. You will also see plenty of Hardee's. Nasty food there- don't go in or you will be covered with a layer of grease right off. Applebees, Ruby Tuesday's, TGI Friday's, these are the mid range eating joints you will enjoy. Avoid any place called "Big (insert any name here)"- its a guaranteed heart attack.
Again- Welcome- and welcome to your lovely family too.

Michael said...

It took me a good month to get used to the 'double' thing. And forget Americans ever understanding triple or especially treble when used to spell something.

Another tip, don't use the word 'surname'. Most Americans don't know whst it is. Just stick with 'last name'.

J. B. Hood said...

My parents used to spell our last name with a 'double' O reference, but not in the past two decades. The culture must have lossed it.

Do NOT eat at Appleby's. This is subpar and you can do better in the Triangle. Outback is the best food you can get at a chain--a little pricier but worth it (and they have one of the few good lagers widely available in America). Ask around for a good N.C. BBQ place. Your best bet for "fast" food are the sandwich shops like Subway or Blimpie's. Quite good. The queen of fast food, however, is chick-fil-a. Simply the best, by a wide margin.

Michael said...

And the last American to use the word 'fortnight' died sometime in the 19th century, so...

theswain said...

Welcome to the States Mark! Truly our gain if Britain's loss! Take a deep breath, one of the sad commentaries on our society is when in the grocery store or restaurants, it is amazing at how ignorant the average American is.

Jim said...

JB! I thought everyone liked Applebees.
Anyway Mark, JB is right about the BBQ there in Carolina. It's the best stuff in the state. And Subway is ok in a pinch. Go to the coast sometime though and eat some famous NC seafood. Its addictive.

gail dawson said...

Welcome, Mark--good to have you on this side of the pond. Maybe your local Borders bookstore (there are two in Raleigh) can obtain the Guardian for you.

Whit said...

Welcome!

crystal said...

Welcome to the US! I can't give you helpful info on the south, as I'm in California. I've heard 00 refered to as "double ought" here, but mainly when choosing shotgun ammunition :-).

Dr. Joseph Ray Cathey said...

Professor Goodacre,

Welcome to America! We are so excited that you and your family are now here! We, will be the ones blessed!

Best to You
Joe Cathey