CS Experience – part 5: Thanksgiving in NYC

Note: Due to lack of time during my travels, I never finished my blog/posts before getting home. I’ll finish this series up and then post a conclusion + guide, so that people can enjoy the whole thing.

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CS Experience – part 0: NYC and DC

During my Thanksgiving break here in the USA I decided to go traveling. As I convinced my teacher to let me take an exam at another date I One week ago I traveled to Washington, DC and New York city. Since I did so much and I don’t want to write one big post, I thought I’d might make a mini-series from each day, with more, but shorter posts, let’s see how this turns out.

As I’ve stated before, whenever I travel somewhere I use Couchsurfing to get a much greater experience. Many of the amazing things I experience during my trips are thanks to this community. You’ll see more in the upcoming posts why.

First post should be tomorrow.

The Homecoming Week

Traditionally Homecoming is about welcoming back alumni of a school (mostly in High School) in the US.  It usually includes activities for students and alumni, such as sports and culture events and a parade through the streets of the city or town (Wikipedia). At University of Nebraska they had this tradition and celebrated it a whole week with different events, entertainment and contests. I’ll tell you here quick about some of the more memorable of these events.

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The Couchsurfing Experience: Dallas, Texas – Part 2/2

The Second host

We met our second host on Sunday, taking the tram to his place. He was a quite busy man since he had 4 (3 self-employed) jobs and did about 90 hours of work per week. But he had some time that evening to hang with us. You could really see that the work paid off, since the guy had 3 home theaters, which one of them was built like a small cinema.

We had talked earlier about having a BBQ when we arrived to his place, which we did. The guy bought steaks and drinks for about $70 since he got a raise on one of his jobs. Not bad. We had a great time discussing our cultures and talking about other stuff that evening. One thing we were quite surprised to hear that the southern accent is not really common in Dallas. Our second host told us that he was 20 years old when I for the first time heard the accent.

 

2013-10-20 19.34.13We had a nice, typical, Texan, suburban BBQ with our host (to the right)

Gun Laws in Texas

During our visit to our second host, we got to know that the gun laws here are a little bit different. You can buy an automatic rifle and he also clarified for us the fact that you can shoot someone if they walk on your property. You have to follow some criteria so that you don’t get in trouble yourself. For instance, your target has to be facing you and you have to be scared for your life. He went on to tell about a guy he knew that went to jail for shooting someone in the knee that was charging against him with a knife. The funny thing was that he probably wouldn’t had to go to jail if he had emptied his whole clip in him, since it would have been easier for him to defend that in court. Funny stuff.

The friend from the other side of the world

While we were in Dallas we met up with my German friend’s friend, who had been an exchange student himself in Germany a couple of years ago. He was kind enough to take us out with his friends to smoke Hookah at their special Hookah bars and we also went to the “Breastaurant” Twin Peaks to eat a little. We had a blast together, and since our second couchsurfing host gave us the keys to his home (you read that right), we could just go right to sleep after we had partied with the friends.

2013-10-21 19.23.47We met up with my German friend’s friend (to the left) and his friend at a “Breastaurant”

Conclusion

Based on our trip to Texas and what I’ve understood from other people, most bigger cities in the US are quite the same, with small differences. This can be good information for anyone who is looking to go to the US. If you want the cowboy-stuff in Texas, you’ve got to leave the city.

Both me and my German friend concluded that we got really good hosts. We got a lot of good experiences and had a ton of fun. I can’t wait for my next trip, which will be to New York.

Tips

  • Most bigger American cities are quite the same, with some niches.
  • If you want to experience cowboy stuff in Texas, you’ve got to leave the cities
  • If you can, try to find an interesting host that is easy to get to by public transportation. Alternatively see if they can come and pick you up.

The Couchsurfing Experience: Dallas, Texas – Part 1/2

So during our Fall Break me and one of my German friends from the exchange decided to go traveling. We wanted to visit a place which we probably wouldn’t have visited if we would’ve flown from Europe, so we went to Dallas in Texas. It’s the ninth-largest city in the US and about 1.2 mil. people in the city and about 6.7 mil. people in the metro area. I contacted some local people via Couchsurfing since we wanted to get a more genuine experience. In an effort to try to post more frequently and, I’ve split this post in two parts. In this post I’ll tell you a little about Couchsurfing and our first host in Texas. In the next post I’ll tell you about our second host and give some tips about Couchsurfing.

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The Gunstore

So my roommates friend from the Marines came to visit them for the weekend. During his visit here in Omaha, one of the things he wanted to do was to buy a gun. In Nebraska, any US citizen over 18 without a criminal record can buy a gun. Which is funny, because if you’re over 18 and under 21 you can get sent overseas to kill people, buy a gun back home, but not have a beer with your pizza.

So I happened to meet my roommate and his friend when I walking home and jumped on the opportunity when they gave me a chance to join them. We went to  a local gun shop to look at AR-15 rifles. While he didn’t find one he was looking for, we met a Vietnam war veteran who started telling us some stories about his service there as a artillery man. Apparently he had done all kinds of cool stuff. For instance hit a sniper, up in a tree, spotted from an airplane, about 7 miles (≈ 11.2 km) away from his position. And stuff like that.

In any case the gun store was interesting, they had all the normal ones you would expect, and some more. Ammunition were stocked in the shelves like in a grocery store. Speaking of grocery stores; you don’t actually have go to a gun store to buy a gun, since you can just go to you local Walmart to buy a gun.


2013-10-11 14.13.36The roommates friend looking at a new gun.

2013-10-11 14.06.39Ammunition was stockpiled like it was a normal grocery store.

2013-10-11 14.14.51Of course I had to take a picture with a gun also.