Friday, October 02, 2009

Letter to America

I asked some questions of Daisy a good while ago. She responded and it was quite interesting to read her responses and I thought it gave us down under and even those in ole blighty a better understanding of the United States. Go back and have a look if you like here.

Dina lives in Fort Worth, Texas and I have learned more about Australia and Australians from her blog than I ever did in school. I will ask her similar questions as I asked Daisy.

Is politics relevant to you? Do you keep up with the election news?

How many people live in Fort Worth? Does it have suburbs separate to the centre of town?

Do you visit the centre of town at all?

How far to the nearest Walmart? Do you shop there?

Do you feel part of a local community?

Do you shop in a multinational supermarket? Like a large company one?

We Australians would probably think of Texas as being hot. What is the hottest and coldest temperatures you experience? Do you have cooling air conditioning? Central?

Which public utility company annoys you the most? Electric? Gas? Oil? Phone?

Do you need heating in your home? Is is gas or oil fired and is it a central system that heats the whole house?

My council rates, that is the local government authority, are around AU$1,000, equivalent to $US870. This pays for local road maintenance, rubbish collection, street cleaning and other local services. Do you pay a similar to some government authority?

Has there ever been street cars in your town? Is the public bus service decent? Is there a railway? Can you go to New York from your town by train?

Do you have a portable vacuum cleaner or a central vacuum system for cleaning your house.

Do you walk around neighbourhood streets very much?

Apart from people who might work in shops, do you have frequent interaction with Afro Americans?

Hope you can oblige Dina.


  1. Wow.

    I feel like I have homework here.

    Some of the stuff I don't know offhand. I guess it's okay for me to look it up. Right?

    1. The population of Fort worth is 720,000. What would that compare to in Australia? Well, it has less people than Brisbane, and more than Launceston. Fort Worth though is part of a multi-city type thing called DFW which includes Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, and maybe some other places. Dallas is a fairly large city. All together, DFW is pretty big. There are suburbs. I think we call them counties...maybe. I get confused about all of that.

    2. We call our center of town...."downtown". Tim used to be work there. We don't go too often. I went there a few months ago to see Dame Edna at our big theater.

    3. The nearest Walmart is about ten minutes away. I've probably been there about three times. I think it's been years since I've been there.

    4. No, I don't feel part of the local community. I pretty much live on the Internet. I have one really great friend here. However, my parents are VERY involved with the community. I know people through them, so there is that sense of connection...sort of. Some of their friends feel like family to me.

    5. Yes about the grocery store. I don't even know of a grocery store nearby that's not a large company one. We shop at Tom Thumb which is Safeway. Isn't one of Australia's grocery stores part of Safeway? I'll have to go look that up. We also shop at Target and Costco. We have a gourmet type grocery store called Central Market.

    6. It's very hot in Texas. Fort Worth has a dry heat though. It's not all humid and muggy like Florida. I don't know what the hottest temperature has been. In the summer, it's about maybe 38-40. Winter....I'm not sure in Celsius. Probably the high teens. The winters are fairly mild. The weather is a bit moody. I'm sure Australia is that way too. You can be wearing winter coats one day, and a few days later be wearing shorts. Summer heat is pretty consistent though. It's rare to get a break from the heat.

    We have central air-conditioning that breaks down quite often. We often have to have repair people come in. We keep our temp. pretty moderate. So our house can still be a bit warm in summer.

    What's annoying about Fort Worth is that many places totally crank up the air conditioning. Not only is that very wasteful, but it's really uncomfortable. You go from being very hot to freezing. Worse than that is NYC where you come in from the cold and end up sweating in your winter jackets. I hated shopping in NYC winters.

    7. We do have heating. It's gas and heats the whole house. We're moderate about that too. I spend most of the winter shivering, and too cold to get out of bed. I hate the feeling of heat though....the way it dries your skin.

    8. Well, we pay taxes. And that takes care of the road stuff, street cleaning, postal service, libraries, etc. We pay for our sanitation stuff through the water company. It's part of our water bill.

  2. 9. No street cars as far as I know. The public bus service seems to be okay. I've never taken it. I think one of the drawbacks is that the bus stops are pretty far apart.

    10. We have a portable vacuum. My parents have the central thing though.

    11. We used to walk a lot. We don't do it as much as we used to....unfortunately. I like walking in Fort Worth much less than I do walking in big cities like NY and Sydney. When we walk, it's pretty much just houses. I prefer places where you walk and see restaurants, houses, shops, etc.

    What I love about big cities is that walking is transportation. You get so much exercise without even meaning to. In Fort Worth, you walk as a form of exercise. I usually get bored looking at the houses after awhile.

    12. I rarely have any interaction with ANY humans. Seriously, I live on the Internet. I don't think we actually have that many African-Americans working in the shops. Maybe that's why I get so excited about Obama. I'm African-American deprived. My BIL is African-American, but I rarely see him.

  3. I forgot to answer the politics question. It is relevant to me, and I paid attention to the elections. I probably wasn't as obsessed as some Americans though.

    I know much more about Australian politics than I do Americans.

    Someone mentioned Joe Hockey on their blog and immediately I knew exactly who that was. In comparison, I am totally ignorant about who my representatives are in Texas. I know the president, vice-president, governor, and that's about it.

    It's kind of embarrassing.

  4. oh Dina - never taken the bus!
    It's Another World.
    Dina: counties are your equivalent to our Stonnington, and Booroondara, i.e. not a suburn name, but comprising suburbs; except ours don't include the police as yours do. We are all familiar with Marin County in CA., Dade County in FL., and Wayne County in ILL.
    Andrew: our Melbourne utilities provider TXU is TEXAS Utilities, they changed to TRU after a while, but we know they're Texan still.

    God Bless Texas.
    George Jones b Wichita Falls is just a God.

  5. Thanks Dina. Very interesting. Or course you are allowed to look it up. I could have done the same, but that does not make for an interesting blog post. Dallas we have all heard of. DFW is new to me. I think Ann with her later comment has a good handle on how it all works. Arlington? Like Arlington cemetery where Pres' are buried?

    2. Downtown. Yes I get that.

    3. Pleased you don't frequent Walmart. I don't like the sound of it.

    4. I am becoming increasingly dependent on the net for friendship. Sad perhaps, but I like it. You can connect with real people via your parents. Good. Can I slip an extra question in here? Does Doona Man and your parents get along well?

    5. US Safeway is not connected to ours. Our Safeway is about to disappear and arise as Woolworths, but I don't know that it is connected to the UK Woolworths. I think not.

    6. If it is dry heat, you could use evaporative cooling rather than refrigerated cooling. So much cheaper. I can cope with the change to freezing but overheated places in winter are awful. I have noticed this in Sydney more than Melbourne. Nights can be quite cold for you I thing, even when there are hot days.

    7. I suffer cold well. Brain works better when it is cold.

    8. But who do you pay your taxes to for the things you mention? Somewhere local or Federal?

    The rest later. Thanks for responding.

  6. 9. Yes, there is a distance people are prepared to walk to get to a bus stop.

    11. I find older areas of houses interesting, but not so much newer house estates. No more pleasurable exercise than walking and looking around.

    12. I though this might be the case. From when I taught English to new migrants I learnt that in the US there are people, in this case Polish, who have lived there whole lives there and don't speak English and live fully among their own people, work, shop and socialise. Tv shows black and white freely associating, but I am sure that is not the case everywhere.

    Haha, Hockey is a larger than life figure. But average Aussie would not know who he is.

    Got it Ann. Now I understand counties.

  7. As for integration....I think it's fairly mixed. I mean it's not mixed enough as a whole.

    There are people from different ethnic groups who are friends. But I think a lot of times people hang out with "their own kind."

    We've come a long way, but we still have a VERY long way to go.

    Arlington...not the cemetery one. That one way is way east of us. In Virginia....I think. I've never been there.

    Tim gets along VERY well with my parents...often better than I get along with them. There have been times that I've felt he's more married to them then me ; )


    I wish I had your passion for Texas. Thanks for the county explanation!!

  8. As happens here Dina, I think the next generation breaks down more, and the one after that feel proper entitlement to call themselves Aussie or American.

    I learnt a bit about Tim's background from one of your recent posts. He sounds like he is full on American type. Somewhere in the past, perhaps not on my blog, I wrote about Koreans and the difference in the the way they have sex compared to Westerners and even other Asians. Probably does not apply to Tim, as he was brought up in America.

  9. Yeah. He's very American.

    How do you know so much about Korean sex???

  10. Two different acquaintances had quite a lot of experience with Korean guys. Amazingly they both said the same things.