Friday, September 08, 2006

Wierd Things about the East Coast

Well, this is my second trip to New Jersey this year and last year I had one trip to Cleveland Ohio (which, I, being from the great Pacific Northwest also consider to be on the East Coast) - and I've noticed a few little "wierd things" about the East Coast that I find interesting, wierd, and sometimes annoying.

Valley: They call places where a river runs a "valley" even when it is not framed by hills (or even a slightly perceptible incline of elevation) on either side. If a river runs there, it is a valley, no matter that it is flat as a pancake in every direction (all the way over to the next valley).

You East Coasters need to look at a map of the West Coast sometime, particulary somewhere in the Rockies or the Siera Nevadas or the Cascads: you'll notice that there are sometimes cities that are only 30 miles apart, but you have to drive 150 miles or more to get to them. That's because each city is in a VALLEY: and a valley is a place with mountains framing it in on both sides such that you cannot get from a city in one valley to a city in another valley, without driving down the valley to where multipl valleys meet (at a bigger valley) and then up the other valley. You get the picture? There are NO valleys in the United States east of the state of Colorado! (Okay, an exception: there are a couple of canyons in Texas that qualify as valley).

Mountains: They seem to call anything over 25 feet high a "mountain" out here on the east coast. I'm staying right now in a place called Mt. Laurel, NJ, and I assure you folks it is flat as a pancake as far as the eye can see in every direction.

(Note: there are some similarites between the mountain issue and the valley issue.)

I've noticed you have these great freeways here called Turnpikes. The only difference between them and the other freeways that run parallell two or three blocks away is that the turnpikes cost money. They have all the same speed limits, and all the same traffic conditions, best I can tell. FOLKS: why the heck do you drive on them when they cost money!?!?!?!

is a prime example for you. You have Interstate 295 parallel to the New Jersey turnpike. The interstate is free, but the turnpike costs 6.45 to drive on. Why the heck do you people drive on the turnpike?????

Not all that bad: Well, okay, not everything I have to say about the East Coast is all bad. The people out here are really great people: all of them seem to be friendly, courteous (except when driving - but hey that problem is universal), and kind.

It is way too humid out there, but in the evenings there is a refreshing buzz of frogs, crickets, and all sorts of other creatures singing through the night. It is beautiful and green everywhere out here. Of course, all the green is deciduous, so in the winter, presumably it isn't so green at all.

There are a lot of great steak houses, and all-purpose restaurants, and a lot of great Italian Restaurants (ate at two different ones today) - the one below is a favorite lunch stop for all the folks at the place where I'm working all week (possibly because it is the only lunch stop close by?) - Palombo's
- and I've had my semi-authentic (semi because it isn't actually in Philadelphia) Philly Cheesesteak sandwich there twice now. Good stuff!

Okay, I couldn't remain on a postive note for very long, could I? I think Palombo's actually sells espresso. If you think about it: that's a no-brainer. Espresso was invented by the Italians, NOT by Starbucks or Tullies. But, by and large, in rural-suburban New Jersey, they don't know what coffee is. They actually consider the duncan donut coffee to be the best coffee in the area. Not only to people stop at the many duncan donut places everywhere (yes, you can believe it Northwesterners, not just the cops!) - but people stop there explicitly for the coffee. Not only that, but they actually sell coffee BEANS of their coffee bagged up and ready for you to grind and brew at home. Wow: duncan donuts, who would have thought?

Mexican Food: They don't seem to have any mexican food here. Now, this may not surprise some folks, since Mexico is far, far away, but, really, think about it. This is American after all! They should have some good Mexican food here, but they don't. I actually have a feeling, that people here consider "Chilli's" mexican food. Sorry, in the Northwest, you would never consider Chilli's to be mexican food. I ordered hot peppers on my Philly Cheesteak sandwich today (because some folks here order them that way) and guess what: they call those little yellow peppercornes "hot".

Well, that's about all for today.

Reporting from the EAST:


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