Saturday, October 6, 2007

The shows, the magazines and the ads

When I'm eating a dinner, I like to watch some TV. Everyone who saw a show in the US will confirm that the ads are way more frequent and longer than in the Czech Republic. They come every five to ten minutes and last almost as long. The show that has 40 minutes is scheduled for 60 minutes, so you get the picture.
Similarly, the magazines (The Economist, but also the Time) are full of ads. In particular, The Economist is about 2x thicker in the US than in the Czech Republic, but the actual content is almost identical! In the Time, you can go through 10-15 pages before the first article comes!
I have a feeling that the US is in a bit different equilibrium than the rest of the world. Ads are quite cheap and so everyone has a lots of them (and can them aim better to a specific groups of readers). In the EU, the ads are more expensive and there is much less of them.
I just hope the Europe will not converge to the former equilibrium.

Swimming suit

I came to the US knowing that the Speedo-style swimming suits are not OK in here. If you live with the same belief, I will reveal a big secret: they are ok. They are not typically worn on the beaches (where most people go to the water in shorts and T-shirts), but they are acceptable as "distinctly European". But when you go to the swimming pool, you are expected to wear them (the Speedos). Why? Just try to swim in the shorts and you will understand...

Getting used to...

It is about a month since I arrived to SD and I'm very surprised by these two things. First, how fast the month went by and that I'm still not used to life here. Everyday I discover something new - new restaurant, new food, new place... I hope ten months will be enough :-)

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Well, you knew it was coming. The Wal-Mart has a shop near the Social Security administration, where I had to go anyway.I couldn't miss such opportunity.
The Wal-mart's shops are probably the largest shops, but they do not seem to be particularly large to me. You could compare it to the Tesco outside of the city center (the biggest ones). The prices are good (sometimes very good), they have a good selection of cheap clothes, which I usually hate in these shops, but they have excellent prices as well as good quality, colors and materials. Except for that, nothing special. Sometimes, they were even poorly stocked on things. And it was next to impossible what you actually came for.


I had to apply for social security number and it was worth the experience on its own. To get to the closes office, it took me about 1.5 hours. There, I took the number and waiting. The room was full (about 60 people) of old, sick, poor, unemployed and generally no-English speaking people. Just two "windows" were open. Even thought the workers at the office were generally reasonably smart, dealing with very old and sometimes very confused people is difficult. So I was happy that after about another 1.5 hour waiting, I delivered my documents and left after a few minutes.
I just hope that the card will actually arrive, so that I don't have to there again.


It took me two weeks to gather courage to use the public transportation, especially after warnings from my landlady Patricia. She actually said that her sons never used public transport in their life.
I found out that I can use it for free (parts of it sponsored by UCSD), and that the bus should take my bike. I went to the other side of the city to get a Social Security Number (see other post) and I needed to change once. Well, the buses are coming every 30 minutes but they are always late (I mean ALWAYS). The drivers are nice and even though they do not help you to put the bike on the rack in front of the bus and secure it properly, they can at least explain. Moreover, once you do it properly, it is actually very simple. The down side is that the bus can take only two bikes, so sometimes you have to another 30 minutes for the next one.
The passengers are mostly poor, often black, unemployed and sick (sometimes mentally) people. They tend to do all kinds of things in the bus (eat, make-up, etc.), but they are very friendly and easily start to talk to each other (about absolutely uninteresting things).
The other "funny" thing is that all stops are "on-demand", and you request a stop by pulling a "cable" on both sides of the bus. I guess the point is that you don't need to stand up before the bus stop, because, you know, this is too much work. And of course, you have no idea what stop is next...
Except of all these shortcomings, it was great to use the bus instead of bike. Especially when you go to the public office and shop.


I have a theory that the dreams are related to how the brain sorts and stores information you learned during a day.So when you learn/see a lot of new things, you have more dreams in night.This makes me happy when I have a dream - it means I did not wasted the previous day completely.
Since changing the place where you live exposes you to a lot of new things, it was no big surprise to me that first couple of nights I had a lot of dreams. Still,I have a lot - so far no surprise.
What is beginning driving me crazy is that I keep having a nightmare. It is not the same nightmare over and over again, as it often happens, but it always a different one with the same topic!
The topic is that I flew back to CR after about a month here. Then I'm in CR, wondering why I wasted so much time (and money) on completely pointless trip back?
I'm not sure what this recurring nightmare is trying to say. Either I love it here and I don't want to go back, or I hate it here and I want to go back. On the conscious level, I don't feel either way, so I really cannot tell.