Welcome to the Divided States!


What would you warn or tell a United States newby about America the Beautiful? And since I’m not @OtherMichael so I think we can be flexible about the rules… so if you feel like it, what would you tell a Canadian newby about Canada the Maple Syrupy?





Bullets are cheaper than pills in the U.S.A.

UPDATE: Cory Doctorow finally woke up :wink:


Oh sure. Change the rules right in the middle to include Canuckistan. I thought this was supposed to be about the real America.


I’m glad you mentioned that. For any U.S. newbies it’s important to differentiate between what is and isn’t real America. I’ll turn it over to a real American to explain, take it away Ms. Palin:

*Note, Hawaii is just a cruise destination for real Americans and thus doesn’t factor into this educational chart, and Alaska? Palin IS Alaska. Oh, and don’t ever even mention Puerto Rico.


Try to understand that most americans sincerely believe basketball was created by an american, that when most people make beiber/nickleback jokes hopefully they’re not being too serious, we do not have poutine (sorry,) for the most part people will be polite to you and it isn’t nearly as bad as all the scary news makes us to, we genuinely do have good medical care here… if you can afford it, but with that said… sadly white guys have an easier time of it to the point of absurdity in some cases, try to have fun.

I wish i had actual useful advice guys, but the capstone to all this is…

We do not have Tim Hortons. Closest we have is starbucks. Personally I prefer krispy kream.


Oh dear. I was just trying to make sure we weren’t calling the snow Mexicans… American. They’re nice and all. Maybe a little too nice really. But you know, America. The US owns that name.


most of the folks from the united states tend to be friendly and welcoming and will try to make obviously foreign tourists comfortable. that said, the welcome tends to be more genuine in direct relation to the lightness of the tourists’ skin tone.

if you are traveling through the southern united states you will notice a great deal of overt religiosity, particularly of the protestant christian variety.

texas and florida have some of the highest rates of per capita weirdness and stupidity anywhere in the u.s. most people in those states are fairly typical of americans but they do tend to have more than their share of careless and reckless individuals.

law enforcement agencies in texas and other parts of the south have a poor understanding of treaty obligations with other countries. if you end up in trouble there you may have a hard time getting in touch with your embassy. if your plans include the possibility of quasi-legal or illegal activities in this region of the u.s. you should have a local attorney in mind before you come.

the western and southwestern united states hold some of the most beautiful terrain in the country but these areas are also remarkably empty and desolate except at the urban centers. if you are driving yourself around in places like new mexico, arizona, utah, etc. you should pay attention to fuel and water as you travel.


Oh. We’ve got stuff out there. You’ve just got to look for it.

<img src="//discourse-cloud-file-uploads.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/boingboing/original/3X/8/0/80e028ce8da7dc4fdd0503a3c3076dabeb7800f7.png"width="690"height=“465”>

Also, watch out for trains. :wink:


You’re gonna want a car unless you are staying in one of just a handful of cities. Stuff is really far apart, and the norm is doing it without a car is a pain in the neck.

Not everyone speaks English here – especially in NYC and “border cities”. Don’t be shocked if you ask someone for help and they don’t speak English. Most Americans are willing if not eager to help strangers. Don’t be afraid to ask – but don’t assume they are being rude if they blow you off as it could be language related.

Many laws are state specific – alcohol (when and where it is sold), gun (who can walk around with gun showing or concealed), marriage, divorce, motor vehicle, insurance,etc. The most obvious at times is the alcohol rules. Sunday before noon can be dicey.


There are some Tim Hortons but not many – one just opened by me, a good 5-6 hours from the Canadian border.


I sort of feel like the ATL should be included as the “not real” America and that portions of Oregon should be included in the “real America”.


You totally do have Tim Hortons tho. It’s American owned now. :wink: just like Canadas oldest retail store The Bay. /sigh


I can’t speak to ATL (what is ATL?), but Oregon? The eastern half of it is definitely real America, the same thing applies to Washington. This is what we get when we let Palin teach Civics.


Also, confusingly, none of Austin is “real 'Merica” and neither are significant portions of San Antonio, Houston, or Dallas. These areas aren’t even “real Texas” due to the low shitkicker ratios.

Every region has different driving styles. They each have unique horrifying qualities. While Boston’s approach of pure aggressive belligerence is easy to understand, emotionally it’s difficult for many to cope with. Austin and other cities with many recent arrivals mix these styles to terrible effect. Note that while you can drive in NY, San Francisco, or Boston, there is no parking in the cities during daylight or night-time hours. Note also that taxis in San Francisco will take great delight in playing vehicular chicken and revel in seeing your flinch causing you to crash.

“American food” is a sad phrase that shouldn’t be said. Many regions have interesting local cuisines well worth trying, but these are best experiences outside chain restaurants. Some regions like Minnesota don’t have food per se, but rather bland paste, with salt, pepper, and ketchup added to make them “spicy.”

Some regions have local accents that add to the cultural tapestry of America. People from Minnesota sometimes sound oddly Canadian. People from New Jersey should be seen and not heard (and ideally also not seen), but this will never happen. People from California actually have a range of odd accents, which often serve as a kind of cultural speech impediment. Try to be nice to people from Boston, they were taught to speak that way, and can’t help it.


Atlanta! A city-state of blue, with a large African American community, in a sea of red.


The Urban Archipelago (written just after Shrub beat Kerry, I think).


Ah, my mistake. I just live so far south I’ve only ever heard of it from my canadian friends. Never seen one in the wild.