The first place I flew to in America was Texas. This was in August 1999. The reason for going was…erm…complicated – a whole other article again! I landed at around 2 pm after 7 or 8 hours, but I love flying, so it wasn’t a problem.
My first adventure in America, but I’d already decided it wouldn’t be my last. I flew into Dallas but needed to be in Paris – a 2-hour taxi ride away. By the time I had cleared customs – nowhere near as scary or intimidating an experience as it first seems – I got into the taxi outside the airport at about 4 pm. The taxi driver was Mexican and spoke very little English, but he was a nice guy and gave me the best price for a ride.
The ride was long, but comfortable – long straight highways cutting through field upon field of high corn, in the sun of a hot, arid Texas summer afternoon. Everybody I met in the short time I was there was polite, friendly, accommodating – not my first experience of the American people, but reaffirming my already high regard for them.
When I got back to the airport, I really didn’t want to leave – I had fallen in love with the place – I wanted to continue journeying through this wonderful country. And, whilst waiting for my flight home, I was looking at a drinks machine, but had no US coinage left, and a stranger just walked up to me and bought me the drink I so desperately wanted! Does that happen in the UK? Nope!
My second foray, was into upstate New York – the state not the city. This was to be a totally different experience. My reason for going was to attend the wedding of my best friends. I flew into JFK airport and was driven to my destination by my friends.
The wedding was in a beautiful town, in the middle of the Catskill Mountains. Oh my God, I had never seen such scenery! I visited in the middle of Fall (Autumn) and all of the trees in the mountains were different shades of browns, reds, yellows, oranges – I had been told that the town got very busy with people visiting to see the changes. My guest house was a beautiful old wooden structure at the top of a hill just outside town, and painted in sky blue.
The eating space, was a conservatory built on the side, overlooking the mountains – my comfortable traditional room was above and gave me beautiful panoramic views every time I looked out of the window. Beauty does not even begin to describe what I saw. The couple that ran the house were so friendly it was unbelievable, and could not do enough to make me feel at home.
Everybody else that I met over those few days, just blew me away – obviously all friends and family of the couple, but I felt like I belonged. The American people are so hospitable and warm that you really never want to leave the country. It was on that visit that I decided, one day I would live in America. I would certainly recommend upstate New York as a holiday destination – Sleepy Hollow, Syracuse, Buffalo, Lake Ontario and if you really feel like driving and experiencing something special – Niagra Falls!
My visit to New York, allowed me to experience shopping in American malls (briefly) – the bargains are unbelievable. It also allowed me to properly experience American delicacies – Oreo cookies, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, the great American breakfast (so much nicer than an English one), Wendy’s burgers, Krispy Kreme donuts the list is endless. Nothing, however, would prepare me for Florida!!!! I went to Florida on holiday, and then I bought a condo over there, and I kept going back!!! All gone now (yet another article) but none the less a hell of an experience.
Florida has everything – beautiful hot weather, excitement (theme parks, Daytona Raceway, Space Shuttle, alligators, manatees, dolphins), outlets galore, shopping like you’ve never known, buffet eateries (all you can eat pizza places at £2.50 a head, and all you can eat steak restaurants at £5 a head), beaches (beautiful golden clean sands, warm clear seas) and the beaches are all pretty private as there are no “proms” like in the UK, just a cul-de-sac with a beach at the end!!! Beautiful and solitary! In Florida, there are obviously a lot of tourists, but the locals are all so fabulous.
The epitamy of niceness – I have never met an American yet, who made me think twice about my impression of the people. I love them all! Florida is the only place in the USA that I have driven in, and I love driving there too – it really isn’t a big deal that their cars are large and that they drive on the “wrong” side of the road, you soon get used to it. And the fuel is so cheap, that it doesn’t matter how many miles your car does to the gallon!!
I did so much during my visits to Florida that I could not list it all here, and during the time learnt such a great deal about the culture and the lifestyle. I talked to the people and learnt that their worries, fears and complaints are just the same as ours. The beauty of America is that the standard of living is so much higher. I have friends with a villa out there, and one day they too plan on living there – like me, they have fallen in love with the country AND the people.
Florida is the ULTIMATE holiday destination – it literally has everything. It has the busy night life, bustling shopping malls, theme parks you would only dream about, Harley Davidson Motorcycle shops as large as a UK shopping centre, beaches, wild animals, space ships, countryside and country life only an hour out of the centre of any city… EVERYTHING!! You have to go at least once – but when you’ve been once you’ll keep going back!!!
The last time I went to America, was again to see my friends. He is a US Marine and Afghanistan veteran (3 times), he had just been stationed in Colorado – and had to move, along with his wife, their 18 month old son, newborn twins and all of their worldly goods, 2000 miles across the country! I went over once they’d arrived to help out.
Jeez – once again I was stunned – they were high up in the Rockie mountains (if I remember right it was a mile) and everything about it was incredible. The views of the snow capped mountains, the people, the shopping (I picked up some Levis for £15 which were unavailable at the time in the UK). My friends are two of the nicest people I have ever known, and I love their country and everything about their lifestyle – if I had the choice, I would choose to be American.
In brief America offers scenery, wildlife, natural beauty, excitement, hospitality, new and exciting foods to discover, but best of all such great people and great value for money! As for flights, I would recommend moneysupermarket.com’s travel page. If you do holiday anywhere in America, take an extra suitcase because I guarantee you will come back with more than you arrived with – if you don’t, you’ll be buying a new case before you leave! Have a good trip!!!