Letter 3 (page 5)

In brief

  • All paper currency is green.
  • Many shops have doors you have to push on the way in but are fully automatic on the way out.
  • Outside the airport, there are no public phones that take anything but coins.
  • There are few automatic teller machines. Perhaps this is why people pay for almost everything by writing a cheque (or checks as they are spelt here). It is such a time-consuming method of paying for groceries - especially if you are next in the queue.
  • I had thought everyone would use debit/credit cards if they didn't have cash but this does not seem to be popular. Cheques do not have to have the bank’s name on them and there is a small industry printing cheques for those for whom appearances are everything. You can have you cheques with clouds, flowers, teddy bears, fish, animals, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate bridge, cars, lighthouses, a map of America, merry-go-rounds or cherubs!
  • It doesn't seem to be possible to buy pre-cooked pasta for lasagne
  • Denver shopping centre car parks are totally devoid of tress to provide shade for even a few.
  • Chrysler sells a luxury car called the LHS. Sadly, no-one makes a matching RHS.
  • There is a brand of cigarettes called Basic.
  • The waste of resources never ceases to disturb me. Though Denver gets about one third as much rain as Sydney, our lawns are watered for 20 minutes every morning and 20 minutes every evening - even if it’s raining. In my office there is no sink to wash mugs so evryone has to use disposable cups.
  • Some of the magazines now at the supermarket checkouts have a special section on back-to-school fashions. We have been warned to look out for the back-to-school make-up sales but we haven't seen them yet. There is still a month to go.
  • A new twist to tele-marketing: I was called by a recorded message trying to sell me something.
  • PBS shows some excellent programs but they tend to put them all on at once. The documentary series about native Americans I mentioned earlier, was screened over two consecutive nights - four hours on the first night and three hours on the second. We had 4 hours of gardening one night last week and 3 hours on rollercoasters and amusement parks the week before.
  • Americans don't buy toilet paper. That would be too crude. They buy bathroom roll.
  • Americans, or at least those in Denver, don't eat muesli, so don't look for it at the supermarket.

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