Spent most of the day driving around looking at apartments. I only actually looked at three — this was due largely to getting lost quite a few times, and also to visiting the same town twice.
The first two places I looked at sucked. You might have all the features on paper when you say “private apartment, furnished, with car space, kitchen facilities”, etc., but when you actually take a look you discover that everything is old, at least second hand, and crappy. One place in particular astounded me… it was just out the back of this guy’s garage, was filled with basically random junk furniture, and he wanted $1025 a month, plus a dollar a day to use the garage.
The third was much nicer, even though it didn’t have a proper stove, just two hotplates. It won’t be available for a week though, so it looks like I’ll have the joy of staying in a hotel for a little longer than I expected. I might try to find somewhere cheaper.
Speaking of getting lost, they do have some curious road rules:
- When you’re on a road, and it says “end blah blah speed limit”, that means you can do 55mph (I had to look this up). Everyone seems to speed by at least 5mph though, I collect nice backlogs of cars behind me when I drive at or near the limit. This is probably explained by the fact that I haven’t seen a single speed camera type device.
- They have right-turn permitted on red after stopping, but it’s the default (ie. you can do it unless there’s a sign not to).
- The right of way rules are subtly different. If you’re in an intersection first you have right of way, even if you’re turning left and the other person has to stop. I haven’t really been game to try this one out though 🙂
- When a school bus is stopped, you can’t pass it on any side of the road, no matter how big the road is. I’ve yet to see how this works on a highway.
- The parking signs are strange. It seems you usually can’t park overnight on the street, since they plough it, although many streets have alternate days parking on one or the other side of the street (the sign actually says “Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun”, etc.).
- There are stop signs, and then there are stop signs with “FULL” written underneath. I’ve no idea what the difference is.
Also, it seems to be fairly arbitrary what passes for an indicator around here — some cars have the standard flashing orange light, others flash the brake light, others have another red light separate from the brake and flash that. I saw one car with an orange light that didn’t flash (could just be a dodgy auto-electric job). It’s rather confusing. Of course, many people don’t bother indicating anyway unless they’re stopped waiting to turn.
And each state makes up their own road rules, so lots of things apparently differ from state to state. Yay for consistency!
Random observation: Starbucks here is better than in Australia (ie. not crap), however for some reason they only have Tall or “Grande” sizes on the menu, you apparently can’t get a regular size coffee any more.
Need to work out what to eat for dinner. It’s a pain waiting to move out of the hotel, because you have to eat out every time and that gets expensive pretty quickly in the US.