Letter 6 (page 3)

Life in America

I have now had internet access for a few months and am thrilled with what is out there. Given our pathetic choices on TV, I spend much of my evenings navigating cyberspace. (I agree it is strange that I sit in front of a computer all day at work and then do more of it when I get home.) Apart from e-mail, the best thing is that the Sydney Morning Herald has an on-line edition with the main stories (and Column 8). It helps us to Stay in Touch. We log on most days and have a look at what is happening back home. Telstra has a useful web site with the white and yellow pages for the whole of Australia. If you look up a business address, it even has a map to show exactly where it is. The Washington Post is also worth a look.

We have the misfortune of having a hill between us and the NBC TV transmission tower making reception impossible. NBC had exclusive rights to the Olympics coverage so not even the highlights were on the channels. We don't get the newpaper (too many wasted trees for the amount of news) so it was the internet sites that kept us vaguely in touch with the games.

We have booked a holiday in September to Seattle/ Vancouver and then on to Alaska. If we don't go now, we never will. (The airline booking system is available on the internet which is useful for checking schedules and and to see if a travel agent has made any effort to get a good price.) With fierce competition, airline prices are low. Denver to Seattle is $89 one-way for example and it about the same distance as Sydney to Brisbane.

I continue to enjoy doing no gardening or house maintenance. It is a wonderful thing to choose how to spend your weekend.

One more on the difficulty of being understood. I spelt my name for someone on the phone and got a letter to Mr P. Zirley. When I said vee, they thought I said zee (American for zed) and my a is often confused with i. Incidentally, the people at my office are not familiar with the expression "pushing water uphill with a pointed stick", meaning something which is very difficult. I mentioned it and several of them broke into laughter. I thought it was well understood in Australia. Perhaps it's just me. While on the subject of language, it hit me recently that almost no-one swears in Denver, even among the factory workers some of whom are fairly rough.

On the way to Lan's office is section of road 3 lanes wide in each direction and a sign like the one shown at right. One day in July, all the traffic stopped while Canadian geese crossed the road to move to another pond. Lan says that everyone was smiling and the geese were very cute as they wiggled their bottoms as the walked.

Let me end this section with a joke that has nothing at all to do with us: "A man is called by his bank and the bank employee says, 'Sir, we have found out that your credit card was stolen 6 months ago. Why didn't you inform us?'. The man replied, 'I saw no need to. The thief spends less than my wife.'"

Road sign near Lan's office.

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Continue to What's news in the U.S. (page 4)

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