One month in America

One month into my one year in the US and where am I? Technically unemployed and homeless, but still having fun!

My first two weeks were spent on the west coast. I road-tripped with a friend from LA → Las Vegas → Grand Canyon → Yuma → San Diego → Orange County and back to LA. That’s about 1500-2000 miles on the wrong side of the road. We kept a penalty box for each mistake I made… and if you don’t count the 7 times I hit the wipers whilst indicating, then there were only 2 instances… once turning left into oncoming traffic, and another time my wheels drifting across the roadside marker. Spatially I’m used to the driver’s seat traveling down the right hand side of the lane, right?

Three weeks into NY now and I’m almost set up. I’ve forgotten how ridiculous some of the systems are here, like banks which charge fees but offer no interest savings accounts, phone plans requiring $500 deposit before they will enable data, the dependency on credit ratings and the bureaucratic government offices. Actually, to be fair, the lady at Social Security in Brooklyn was very nice to me, but I think that had more to do with my ticket stub being the same as her house number. My SS number sure did come through quickly though.

Through friends-of-friends back home I am being well looked after; I have met more Australians here than Americans! Despite its claim, New York does actually sleep. A deserted Times Square 1:30am one freezing morning proved that to me. But there are always people to spend time with, and I have to find work anyway….

Pictures are better than words… read on to continue the journey with iPhone pictures from my first month in the US!

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Occupy Wall St

I made my way down to the 2-month anniversary rally of Occupy Wall Street today. The recent warm spell had dropped to an icy breeze with rain, making it difficult to operate my camera.

Because the crowds are so heavily controlled by police in riot gear, much of the rally’s energy was distracted by police/protester tensions. I saw one girl being harassed by the police because they mistook her for someone else. She began to retaliate indignantly, only escalating the situation. A fellow young male protester pulled her away, urging her to drop it. “Look at them,” he said to her of the police. “They’ve never seen this before – they don’t know what to do. They’re just frightened cats.”

I enjoyed just being there as an observer and listening to the various opinions and attitudes of Americans conversing in the street. I’ll post the other half of my OWS pictures soon – I’m struggling with a 2006 Macbook…time to upgrade I think!

Pictures after the jump!

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