USA vs Denmark- which is better?

“So is it nice to live in USA? Is it better than Denmark?”

I’ve heard these questions many times already so I’ve decided to make a small comparison of things that are nice / not so nice about United States and Denmark. I’m awarding points for USA and Denmark and let’s see who’s going to win at the end.

-lack of language barriers (well, if you speak English already) +1 for USA

-5 weeks of holidays in DK vs 2 weeks of holidays in US +1 for Denmark

-New York, Chicago & San Francisco +1 for USA

-social security and more equal chances +1 for Denmark

-talkative and open people +1 for USA

-being able to afford a car and seeing such vehicles on the streets +1 for USA

-commuting and transportation +1 for Denmark

-girls on bicycles vs girls in sports cars +1 for Denmark

-free acces to guns -1 for USA

-weather in Denmark -1 for Denmark

-being allowed to drink after your get 21 years old, seriously, US? -1 for USA

-quality of the most popular beers (Bud Light, Miller Light vs Carlsberg or Tuborg) +1 for Denmark

-eating out that won’t ruin your budget (quality burgers and steaks, yummy) +1 for USA

OK, now it’s time to sum the points and announce the winner… And the final results is:

Denmark 4 : 3 USA

 

America = cars

Americans love their cars. Period.

My observations:

  • Everything has to be bigger in USA and so are the cars as well. Once saw a Smart on a highway- looked pretty funny next to the cars like this monster:
  • You can do most of your shopping without leaving your car. Drive-in restaurants are very popular. Starbucks drive-ins. How about a 24-7-hour drive-in pharmacy? Or maybe drive-in ATMs? No problem.
  • That reminds me of a movie Wall-E and people moving everywhere in their small vehicles constantly staring at the personal screens. If this ever happens in reality then I’m sure it will first happen in USA.

If you like cars and history of cars then you should definitely come to USA. Mustangs, Cadillacs, Chevrolets are everywhere and for European just watching them was a pleasure of its own. So here you go: some of the nice vintage cars that I spotted:

It’s quite popular to have custom license plates and it was my hobby to spot and capture photos of the interesting ones.

  • IGETUGLY (category: funny)
  • OMGLOL:-D (category: funny)
  • SINGIN4U (category: wannabe artist)
  • LOVADUCK (category: weird)
  • D EVL 69 (category: you’d better stay out)
  • BADPONY (category: I’m a naughty girl)
  • 4 MISIA (category: hmm, are you Polish?)
  • KRYS14 (category: hi Krysia, are you Polish?)
  • FIXURPET (category: welcome, pet doctor)
  • BEGR8FUL (category: peace & love)
Many states in USA don’t require cars to have front license plates. Well, then you can choose one of those plates and put it there. The selection is wide enough to suit even the most exquisite tastes

I seriously thought that nobody is funny enough to buy this kind of plates. I was so wrong… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the one and only “Bitch from hell” and her car.

So why cars are so important for Americans?

  • long distances to almost everywhere
  • poor public transportation system (unless it’s New York or Chicago)
  • cheap petrol. 3,5 USD per gallon (less than 1 USD per liter) makes it a pleasure to drive to the petrol station and it’s funny to hear Americans complaining about the fact that it got more expensive recently.
  • Bicycle lanes? That’s a good joke. Bikes are either for hipsters or poor people who can’t afford a car.
  • Walking is fine as long as there is pavement (it suddenly ends quite often in North Carolina)

It’s good to see you, Europe!

Long time no posts, but still so many photos, stories to be told. I have been back in Denmark for more than a week already and it’s funny how quickly one can get used to things. I got used to:

  • having no car and still being able to commute quite efficiently
  • working in the office everyday and the fact that you can’t wear pajamas there
  • the beauty (yeah, well…) of Danish language
  • having to remember to take a jacket / sweater when leaving house
  • being half-homeless (I prefer to say that I’m a couch surfer, more trendy)
  • having nice lunch at work (oh yes, I missed that)
  • beer that finally has more taste than a Bud Light

I’m slowly trying to organize myself in here and all the good people around are trying to help me feel good. By October/November I will hopefully settle in and then in December … my Christmas present is coming back.

Some other highlights:

  • first free newspaper that I read after landing in Denmark had the following title on the frontpage: More Danish people on the path to suicide. “Welcome back, Adam!”
  • “So we’ve heard that you’re looking for an apartment, Adam.” How about that one: Record number of students in need of apartment (in the article they say it’s around 1000 students in Copenhagen)

The Canyon – our last stop on the western side

This time instead of me writing too much I will let the photos speak for themselves (maybe one or two lines of my comments, I just can’t help myself).

Seeing sunrise at the Canyon was worth the pain of waking up at 4:30 am.

In US it’s quite common to see signs “share the road with bicycles”. In Grand Canyon they should post signs saying: “share the road with deers”

I don’t remember when was the last time I took so many pictures. So many that it’s hard to select one or two to show the most of its beauty.

The Canyon is so spectacular that not only tourists come to enjoy the views. Squirrels like it, too.

Female fans complain that I don’t post almost any photos of myself. So here it comes:

Sunset at Grand Canyon is said to be spectacular (we haven’t really had a chance of seing it because we had to drive to the motel in Flagstaff). It’s good that we have a reason to come back there one day… This is one of the last pictures I took before the sunset and the colors start to get more orange and red.

Grand Canyon was the last big stop during our two weeks’ trip. To sum it up:

And this is how our route looked like (you need to click on the image to see details better):

How I lost all my savings in Las Vegas

Gambling, strip clubs, drugs and liters of spirits- that’s totally me. My body was shaking and my heart was beating faster when we finally entered Las Vegas, the city of my dreams with all its charm, fantastic atmosphere, beautiful small streets, cafes. Well, in fact it’s quite the opposite- this city looks like a circus loaded with colorful crap. The degree of kitsch is high and you probably won’t find more of it anywhere else in the world.

Forget about travelling around the world and visiting big cities- to tick off all important world landmarks you just need to visit Las Vegas:

-Paris (Eiffel Tower)

-London (Big Ben)

-New York (e.g. Chrysler building)

-Egypt (pyramids)

-ancient Greece / Rome

-volcanos with lava? Why not

I am a hardcore gambler so I couldn’t resist losing all my 8 dollars savings in our hotel’s casino. It took me around 2 minutes and then I thought to myself: “damn, this is stupid”. Walking around and looking at people gambling with serious money we’ve made a couple of good observations during our stay there:

  • we realized why hotel rates are not as high as you would expect (compared to other big cities). Hotel owners make probably ten times more money on those who gamble in their casinos
  • it was really difficult to get out of the casino. The place was huge and arranged in a complicated way so it was hard to find the proper way to exit. In this way the hardcore gamblers might get trapped into another “this-one-will-be-the-last” game
  • sounds of hundreds of gambling machines play hypnotic ambient music which whispers to your ear: “it’s fancy here, stay and play again”

Other stories / observations from the Sin City:

  • looking at hordes of tourists, hotels, casinos the question arises: “where the hell do all the so-called ordinary people live here?” We haven’t seen a single residential building during our stay
  • 24/7 in-house services are future. Get your laundry done, maybe also hoovering? I wonder if those girls are kept inside the truck

  • The greatest thing about our one night stay in Vegas was being woken up by the opened curtains and TV (all automatic- technology, baby!)

San Diego is better than you would expect

You probably haven’t heard as much about San Diego as you have heard about San Francisco or Los Angeles (at least I haven’t). And this is wrong because in my opinion as a city it’s much nicer than LA and it would definitely be more pleasant to live over there- more relaxed, many nice places.

I thought that Central Park in New York must be the most extraordinary park situated in the big city. I realized that I was wrong after visiting Balboa Park. It really amazed me with variety of attractions: plenty of tropical trees, gardens, a zoo, museums, all scattered around in a big area in the center of the city.

We’ve found the university with the greatest campus ever. View of the ocean? Check. Cliffs? Check. I will send my kids to study there one day.

So you’re not funny, smart or even handsome but you would still like to pick up girls? Become a chimpanzee and all chicks are yours (well, you have to be fast because some of them might try to run away)

San Diego old town is not like the usual European “old town”. This calm “pueblo” is filled with Mexican restaurants (Mexican food tastes sooo good), souvenirs and so on. It’s good that we lived in the motel close by because after half a liter margarita (quote: “it’s not strong at all”) my wife could barely walk back.

Pick-up girl tip#2 (for tip#1 scroll up to see the story about the chimpanzee):

If being a chimpanzee is not your style then you have an alternative: buy a mask of a Mexican wrestler. Wearing it in the streets at night you will thrill all the girls.

It might be quite boring for bears to stay at home all the time. That’s why it’s recommended to take them for a walk from time to time- your bears will love it!

Goodbye, West Coast!

Los Angeles stories

After a short break I decided to continue the story about our trip. Los Angeles was the next destination after traveling along Highway 1 (read about it here and here).

LA, the so-called Angeltown should rather be called Trafficjamtown. Highways are packed with cars almost all the time and there is no excuse if it’s weekend or outside rush hours. Highways with up to 8 (!) lanes each direction don’t seem to help reduce this traffic. We’ve heard that 85% of LA residents have a car (and they weren’t talking about the households but individual people). Let’s face it- in USA (maybe except New York) public transport is for poor people and bicycles are for losers or hipsters. The photo below wasn’t taken by me- this was most likely our Polish prime minister who’s used to inspecting highways from the helicopter.

My wife is a rising Hollywood movie star so we visited the famous Hollywood boulevard to see what it’s all about. We got lucky to spot many celebrities (what a coincidence that we were there at the same moment to meet them):

-Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction

-Scarlett Johansson

-and even Michael Jackson!

I have seen some bits of a documentary movie about lives of “superheroes” from Hollywood Boulevard, “Confessions of a Superhero”- interesting stories there.

Los Angeles, City of Angels should rather be called the City of Contrasts. 100 meters away from Hollywood boulevard we saw a poor guy with a trailer full of rubbish and a woman selling clothes straight from a fence. Looked like scenes from “Edi” movie, but this time it was Hollywood, not my hometown Hollylodz.

If you have too much money to spend and would like to experience “never-ending entertainment” then you should head to Universal Studios. For a crazy fee of 80 USD (not to mention 15 USD for a parking) you can get Jurassic Park ride, Simpsons ride, Transformers ride, King Kong in 3D and many more- get entertained until you throw up. Or you can save the money, your whole day and go somewhere else just like we did.

A trip to LA wouldn’t be successful without seeing a Hollywood sign- so we saw it. It’s the most fantastic thing in the world, magnificent. Well, not really but the drive up the hill was pretty cool and we did a bit of the famous Mulholland drive (and now I need to see this movie again.

Walt Disney Concert Hall is a piece of architecture that really stands out from the rather boring LA downtown.

In the middle of LA downtown we’ve found a Mexican street with interesting shops and businesses. You could for example:

-get married and get a divorce, all in one place (wonder if they have any bonus if you “bundle” them)

-buy accessories that will make you shine and give you more street credit

Being polite on the road doesn’t always pay off. Driving slowly in the city center I decided to let another car in. 5 seconds later we got hit at the back of the car (not a good reaction time of the driver behind us). Small scratches on our bumper but the vintage car that hit us got its bumper bent more seriously. I got to learn from the vintage car owner that I’m an IDIOT with a FOREIGN accent who CANNOT drive. “It was pleasure to meet you, sir!” This is not Denmark, Adam- being polite might result in getting offended.

Being in LA we had to go to Beverly Hills. Perfect houses, perfectly cut grass, perfect trees- everything perfect. Not sure though if all the people there are perfectly happy there. We’ve met a girl asking about the nearest taxi stop- crying and looking stressed. If only money could buy happiness…

If I ever happen to come to Los Angeles again then I would definitely visit Venice Beach. This beach was full of surprises, interesting (sometimes crazy) people, music and relaxed atmosphere. It’s like Copenhagen’s Christiania multiplied by 10 and it’s on the beach!

How about dancing and listening to hypnotic collective drum music?

I am an artist and my artistic style is called iPhonism (not to be mistaken with instagramism).

Ever wanted to watch whales in California? Think again because it might get dangerous!

Highway 1 (part 2)

Even though our 16-days’ trip finished almost a week ago it’s still so fresh in my mind. I liked it so much that even unconsciously I keep having it it my head- can you imagine having the same dream every day for 5 days? In my dreams I am lying on the beach looking at palm trees or keep driving on the road- that just makes me want to sleep all the time (or take another holiday).

OK, back to serious business- this is part 2 of the loose stories from the Highway 1 route (you can read the first part over here).

A visit to Hearst Castle was a refreshing break from driving, beaches and cliffs (but there is no need for taking a break from these things). A big mansion on the top of the hill was built by William Hearst, newspaper magnate around 1940s. Looking at this house (palace?) I wonder if that guy had more money than imagination or the other way round. Enormous building in the middle of nowhere with cathedral-like towers filled with original religious art from Europe, indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Wild parties that he held for his celebrity friends in church-like interiors, playing cards and heavy drinking next to the paintings depicting Jesus and saints. A private zoo (zebras still live there freely on the hill), private cinema- and now you know how to spend money if you will ever have too much of it.

Watching seals (in Polish fajne foczki) lying on the rocky seaside I really envied them: sun, ocean and life spent on sunbathing and relax. Unless the big wave comes and takes you back to the water- they looked so clumsy and funny when it happened.

If driving a car on the beach is too hard- why not use a real horse power?

We learned that you shouldn’t feed coastal squirrels- after eating a bit of a candy bar they went crazy and started running after us. On the other hand, sometimes they can act like supermodels standing still and waiting patiently to have a photo taken.

One night on the highway we can suddenly smell something funny (and it wasn’t me this time). A very nice policewoman offered her help with changing the flat tire- experience so much better than what I used to hear about American policemen and their methods.

After we got the tire fixed we ended up in Santa Barbara and spent one whole day there. This city was way too nice!

To sum it up:

Highway 1 is freakin’ AWESOME.

Highway 1 is freakin’ awesome (part 1)

After 4 days in San Francisco (check out the previous post if you haven’t read it yet) we started our majestic drive along the coast towards Los Angeles. The route is not that long (around 9 hours driving) and we could easily do that in one or 2 days but we decided to make it in a very relaxed way in 4 days, making stops to enjoy the sun on the beaches or enjoy the views on the cliffs.

Highlights from the trip (not necessarily in the correct order):

  • Man can get crazy on the beach. When we made the first stop on the first day we were running, jumping and screaming like some crazy creatures- so much fun!
  • One can get too excited and start losing shoes. My wife has lost her fancy black slipper somewhere here- if you find it somewhere on any beach around the world then please contact me
  • Late afternoon, sunny and windy, dozens of kite surfers and the man playing a flute- I will never forget this scenery
  • we drove the so-called 17-mile drive in Monterey full of luxurious houses, golf courses. In order to enter we had to pay 10 dollars- feels funny to pay money to be able to see how others live in luxury. But still it was worth it- nice route with beautiful views.
  • there are many dangerous creatures lurking in the bushes waiting to kill you and eat your flesh and you have to remember that while walking in the forest you risk your health and life. We were lucky to survive the attack of this monstrous lizard preparing for the furious attack in Point Lobos State Reserve.
  • Being on the beach is a pleasure, no doubt about that. Driving down 2 miles on the curvy narrow road to get to the beach may be even more pleasant (Pfeiffer Beach in Point Sur)The beach itself was great as well, but extremely windy. It didn’t stop me from swimming there, even though people looked at me like you normally look at weird people (Ola also looked at me like that, covered with clothes)

More stories are coming after a short commercial break for all the men out there:

  • Maybe you would like to “balance the degree of smoothing you want with the sexy distinction your face has earned”? Try botox!
  • “Say goodbye to those love handles and go from cute to cut!” Remove your fat surgically!
  • And don’t be shy, little boy! “Nobody needs to know you’ve just been BOTOX’D, BUFFED, SCULPTED and LIFTED- just say you were at Remedy buying a gift card. It’ll be our little secret”

I’m not a copywriter myself but I’ve invented a couple of slogans (if anyone wants to use it I could sell the copyrights):

  • “Have you already had your botox today?”
  • “Has your fat been stubborn lately?”
  • “Get sculpted! Be a man!”

“If you’re going to San Francisco…”

Many things happened during the last month. I’ve decided to write about our NY trip some other time and concentrate on the latest impressions from our 2 weeks’ West Coast experience since it’s still fresh. So here we go!

“If you’re going to San Francisco… you should have warm and wind-resistant clothes with you”. I had a misconception that San Francisco must be always warm and sunny. I was wrong- around 15 Celsius degrees and warm sweater mode has to be switched on. But still, the sun can get very heavy- so heavy that my poor bald head got sunburnt. Afterwards I got more clever and bought a cap to cover it. Being on the West Coast I decided to go against the flow and bought a New York Yankees’ cap- at least I was original and it was rare to meet anyone wearing it. It was funny when some people on the street started talking to me about baseball- “guys, I’m not a yankee- I don’t even watch baseball!”

We’ve landed in the motel on the southern part of San Francisco. It was shabby and the neighborhood was shabby as well (so shabby that the taxi driver said once: “Sunnydale is a dangerous place at night”). I was angry at myself for choosing that until we found out what was the main reason for the lack of other good sleeping spaces available- SF Pride, the biggest gay, lesbian parade in US with hundreds of thousands people coming to participate. San Francisco is one of the most “homosexual” cities in USA with percentage of around 15% of people living in the city being gay or lesbian. We’ve read somewhere that it all started during Second World War- here soldiers were expelled from the army for being gay and many of them stayed there afterwards; that’s how it all started. And basically that is why we had troubles finding a safe and decent place to stay. Seriously, why did you people have to do it at exactly same time when we came? Unlucky

We decided to skip the rainbow party but still it wasn’t difficult to find some interesting people on the streets from the early morning:

San Francisco has as many hills as you can see in the movies, no disappointment here. Walking down and up the streets is a pleasure and the views on the city are amazing.

I didn’t particularly like the Chinatown in San Francisco- it looked like a plastic “tourist hell” compared to Chinatown in New York. What I found more interesting was Japantown with some nice restaurants, shops, bookshops etc. Looks like Japan has become our “to see in indefinite future” destinations, maybe one day?

On the second day we rented bicycles to explore city and its beautiful parks (felt like Denmark on one of sunny, windy days). And that’s when I burnt my head, poor me.

I’m planning to buy a house in the area. I already talked to the bank and looks like I will get a loan- on condition that not only me but also my children and grandchildren will have to pay it off. Good deal!

I’ve found a music kingdom that is called Amoeba Music (later on found out it’s a chain of shops). Thousands of CDs and vinyls- if only I had my own apartment somewhere (Pelican self storage in Denmark is not good enough) I would do some serious digging and definitely have bought some goodies there.

Baker Beach was supposed to be a nude beach. We haven’t seen so many naked people but still a few funny things happened. First I noticed an elderly gentleman taking pictures of the girls sunbathing. The same guy was then taking photos of copulating dogs- everybody needs to have some sort of a hobby, right?

Later on a guy wearing just a T-shirt (click to see a difference between a girl and a guy wearing only a t-shirt) proposed to take a photo of us. “Well, maybe next time”

When I heard that there is a district in San Francisco called Twin Peaks I decided: “we have to go there no matter what”. It turns out that the place has nothing to do with the famous TV series but is still worth visiting. Twin Peaks is the highest hill in the center of San Francisco- it was fun driving there up even though it was too cloudy to have a good view of the city. And now I think I should watch the series one more time.

Talking about driving- the last day of our San Francisco stay we rented a car that we used during the rest of our West Coast trip. I was a bit stressed about the car rental (would the Dankort bank card be good enough?) but it all turned out good. Driving the car in San Francisco was a nice experience with all the ups and downs, stop signs and the beautiful views.

In California I expected to see low rider cars all over the place. When I finally saw them one evening in San Francisco it felt almost like in Snoop Dogg music video.

I was a bit disappointed because we weren’t able to visit Alcatraz prison. I didn’t expect that you have to make a reservation at least a week before. Remember, folks- if you go to San Francisco make the reservation to Alcatraz beforehand (as well as check if it’s not the gay pride time when you’re coming, but you know that already).

Some miscellaneous notes not entirely related to San Francisco:

  • I can understand that Indians don’t feel good about the fact that Europeans basically exterminated their nation. While seeing some wooden statues of Indians for sale my wife commented “first you kill them all and then you put a wooden Indian statue in your garden”. Exploring San Francisco we’ve seen the following thought-provoking sentence.
  • Burger King bill of rights- I loved that poster saying I have the right to e.g “stand up and fight for what you believe in”. I also have the right to get fat and lazy eating junk food. By the way, there is 5 kilograms more of Adam right now- time for more jogging?
  • I bought a Justin Bieber singing toothpaste- brushing teeth has never been so inspiring
  • quite by chance we’ve found a Russian shop with huge selection of amazing Eastern European products: sausages (kielbasa, nom nom), beers (Polish, Lithuanian, Croatian), spirits (of course), salted cucumbers, drained cherries etc. It made us want to come back home even more. Just look at this selection of sausages, wall of fridges!

Bye bye, San Francisco!