The USA is a very unique and interesting place. When a tourist comes here they're bound to get a culture shock. Here are their craziest stories...
Don’t Get In The Car
“I’m English and visited California about a decade ago. We’d been staying in a small town called Mariposa while we visited Yosemite National Park for a couple of days. My friends had continued their road trip on to Vegas, while I had to head back down to LA and get the plane home. I was waiting for a bus to the station in Mariposa. It was raining, uncharacteristic for April I was told. A pickup truck pulls up. The first thing I see is a huge dog sitting in the passenger side. Then an old lady, I’m guessing around 60, peers over and asks me “Where are ya headin’?” I told her I was going to LA, and she says “Me too, get in” and starts pushing the dog into the back. Partly out of politeness but mostly out of curiosity I jumped in. I think it was around a three to four hour drive to LA. As we set off she starts listing all the things we have to do before we get there. Visit her friend to move a trailer, visit another friend who has broken her ankles to feed her dogs, visit a place where she could do her taxes (“that should only take a few hours”). It was going to at least double the journey time. Now in my head I was saying f*ck no I don’t want to do any of that but I found myself saying “okay”. She was super happy. After about half an hour we arrived at her friend’s house. She had two huge dogs and I found myself carrying an industrial-sized bag of dog pellets to fill a huge automatic feeder. While my new old lady friend went to use the bathroom, the slightly larger woman that owned the house showed me photos of her daughter and asked me what I thought of her. I said she was pretty, which wasn’t a complete lie. She told me she didn’t have a boyfriend and I nodded and smiled awkwardly. Then she said “So you’re going all the way down to LA with Oldladyfriend are you?” I saw my chance. “Erm, actually, I think it might be better if I get the train. Do you know when the next one is?” Slightlylargewoman checked the train times. Then she hollered out, “Oldladyfriend! He needs to get the train! The next one’s in 20 minutes!” Oldladyfriend rushes (as fast as a 60 year old can) back into the room, shows no signs of being perturbed, says we better get going then and we quickly get in the truck. It looks as though we may miss the train. Oldladyfriend is literally speeding down the road. She turns to me all of a sudden and says “Has anyone ever told you about Jesus?” I tell her yes, that my parents have told me all about him. That doesn’t put her off giving me a little speech and I don’t say anything to stop her. I just smile and thank her. As we get closer to where the station is supposed to be, she winds down her window at some lights and shouts to a surprised dude on the street “Where’s the station?” before accelerating hard and speeding round the bend in the direction the guy pointed to. We get to the station and there’s time to spare. There’s a bit of a queue at the ticket booth and I say thanks, and take my place in line. After a few minutes I reach the front and buy my ticket. I turn towards the platform and feel a tap on my shoulder.
Oldladyfriend is standing there, apple in hand, a big smile on her face. She presses the apple into my hands and places her hands around mine. She bends her head in prayer. What she said I can’t remember, I was too busy looking at all the people staring at me, an old lady whose head barely reached my chest holding my hands. “Amen.” Without another word, she walks away. The train arrives and I leave.” Source
After moving from Africa, as a teen, I am repeatedly asked why I moved to Africa in the first place, to which I reply that I’ve always lived there. I am also asked, “So why are you white?” To which I reply, “Oh my god, Karen, you can’t just ask people why they’re white!” However, when they reply with blank stares I realize they aren’t referencing Mean Girls… Some other questions: So Africa is one country and all the borderlines are, like, states? Are there, you know, buildings? You guys have memes over there, right? Are you AUSTRALIAN??? Source
“First night in LA watched as a stolen cop car and a million cop cars flew past me down Hollywood Blvd at 60mph at 10pm, then I turned and walked back into the Thai restaurant where I watched the fugitive get PIT maneuvered and shot dead live on the news via Helicopter chase cam. Dude sitting next to us was excited to tell us we had officially “experienced” LA. Over the top car chases, action chase cam news, neon lights in Hollywood, an Asian restaurant that made me feel like I was in an art film…. he was right.” Source
Look At A Map
Was in Northern New York (near Buffalo) and a waitress overheard that I was headed “back to the Pacific Ocean”. She asked where I was going and I said Vancouver. “No honey..Vancouver is in Canada and that is on the Atlantic Ocean.” I said “Canada is from sea to sea just like America.” She replied “no that’s not right, only America is from sea to sea” The combination of her being absolutely sure about something and her total ignorance was surprising enough but the fact that she felt she should basically interrupt our conversation by telling me I am wrong about what ocean I live beside was weird.” Source
“I’d never been out of Australia before. In Australia only farmers and cops have weapons (and some criminals I guess) so I had never seen a weapon that wasn’t in a cops holster in my entire 30 year existence. We go to the US for our honeymoon and have the honor and privilege of visiting a Walmart. The weapons are just on the shelf. You can touch them. A fellow Aussie friend who was with us at the time asked the cashier if she could hold one. He looked at her as if she had asked if it was ok to breathe the store’s air. “Can I hold one?! This big one?” she asked, incredulous. “Sure. If you want to.” the guy said, confused and bored at the same time.
She picked up this big weapon and was getting us to take photos of her with it. If I had a weapon like that at home and walked outside my house with it: Someone would drive past and see me in about 10 seconds They would call the cops, which would take about 30 seconds The Police Station is just up the road so I estimate a cop car would arrive in about 3 minutes And it would take about 10 seconds for a cop to ask me politely to jump in his car and come for a nice chat down at the police station.” Source
“Canadian, was in a gas station waiting to pay (before prepay took over) and a couple of guys with handguns in holsters were in line in front of me, resting their hands on the weapons. Not so much what the heck, I knew to expect it but it’s a memory I think of often. I know nothing about weapons or the proper terminology but I have lots of questions about the exact posture in my inbox so I’ll try to clarify without angering more people… It wasn’t a threatening “I’m about to draw my weapon” pose, it was more of a “this is just a comfy resting place for my hands” pose. Like when you hook your thumb on your belt and let it hang there… except near your weapon. Anyway, my original point wasn’t that I thought they were going to draw, I was just shocked seeing a couple of weapons like that, it had never happened before.” Source
J Walking Is A Law
“When I went to Florida I was stopped by the police for J Walking. I protested that the road was clear so therefore safe to cross. He said “I don’t know how you do it in your country be here in The US we take road safety seriously”. Aghast, I explained I was from England and my only knowledge of J Walking was from Lethal Weapon 3 and that I believed it was just a made up Law that they used in the movie to sass people. He chuckled and said “That’s a great movie, I prefer the first” I agreed and said it was by far the best. After a brief chat about the entire Lethal weapon saga he said “In future make sure you use the crossings” I agreed but asked in a pretty decent South African accent ” What if I have diplomatic immunity?” He chuckled nodded his head and pointed to the crossing and said “Cross there, enjoy your vacation” and off he went. It was the highlight of my holiday.” Source
“How spread out everything is. Like, it’s pretty much impossible for me to survive without a car, while everywhere I needed to go on a regular basis back in London was in a ~10 minute biking distance. Also, the number of pickup trucks people own without needing.” Source
“I was in Vegas with 3 Danish friends, and we were very hungover (3 of us, not the driver). We decided to go for a drive in the convertible, after 15 minutes a police officer on a bike drives up next to us and just stares into the car. This lasted like 5-10 seconds, so the driver turns his head and asks “anything wrong officer?” The officer replied, in a super angry tone “Keep your eyes on the road!” He continued to follow us for about a mile, just staring at us … Super creepy. Also had bad police experiences in Florida, New York, and San Diego. Source
“My biggest what the heck moment was in Fall 2005. Google Earth had just come out, and my colleague at the University lab and I were looking at it. She was a blonde bombshell from San Diego, and I’m a portly Indian boy. When I showed her Mumbai, my home city, she was blown away. “You have buildings?” “Look, there’s an airport!” “Oh my god, you have cars?”. How the heck do you think we get around, I asked. Her reply still rings on my head. Not walking, not cows, not elephants, not bicycles, not horse drawn carts. She said camels. If I ever saw a camel in Mumbai I’d stop everything I’m doing and say “Holy crap, that’s a camel!” Source
Don’t Go Downtown
A couple, I went to University at Cal State Fresno (I was a country boy from Canada). When I was there the entire downtown of Fresno was boarded up and you did not go there after dark (actually anytime), and a full blown gang fight outside of my apartment (in Clovis – a suburb near the University). For a kid from small town Canada that was mind blowing. Source
It’s Real Money
“I’m Canadian and I went down to the US to do a little shopping. I accidentally pulled out some Canadian bills and the cashier asked why I kept Monopoly money in my wallet.” Source
First Experience In America
“I’m from Canada and the first thing I saw upon my arrival to Port Angeles, Washington (which happened to be the first time I stepped foot in the states), was a large spherical lady sitting in the middle of the sidewalk blocking my path to the bus terminal, just staring at me. Another time, I was in San Diego one summer and a woman, genuinely curious, asked me if it was summer in Vancouver too.” Source