Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The US is how large?

Since moving here, I've come across a few French who had no idea how large the United States was. "It takes 5 hours by plane to go from one coast to the other?" is a question of surprise I've heard many times. I respond with, "Yes, and your country is about the same size as the great state of Texas".

The other night, we were having dinner at a friend's house who just had dropped off his 2 sons at a week long sleepaway camp. Just an hour and a half away from home. I mentioned that I had gone to sleepaway camp, but for a whole month. And the dad responds that a month is a long time and that must have been hard. Then I respond and say, "Yea, and it was also hard because my parents lived in Oklahoma at the time and the camp was in Minnesota". Then I get a blank stare. So then Darin pipes in and says that it's about 1500 km between Oklahoma and Minnesota. And then someone else joins the conversation and says that that would be like him sending his 7 year-old and 10 year-old to camp in...Turkey.


TinkerBlue said...

I get the same comments about Australia. Sydney (on the east coast) to Perth (on the west) is a four or five hour flight, or a four day train ride.

When I used to live in London, friends were amazed that myself and another friend would go to Ireland, or France, or Munich or Salzburg on our days off. I worked 9 nights on, 5 nights off. So 5 days was great for mini trips. Especially just before Christmas, when we would fly to Germany for the christmas markets. This was back in 91-94 and flights were cheap. London to Paris, Munich, Barcelona was $69 pounds return.

And for us London to anywhere in Europe was a quick trip, when we were used to travelling in and around Australia.

Samantha said...

It's true, people just don't understand how big our country is until they see it for themselves. I remember when we were planning our two-week American roadtrip, and my in-laws were like "We can go to NYC! And Miami! And Graceland! And Vegas! And the Grand Canyon!".

I brought out my big atlas and showed them that driving from Minnesota to New York (which is what we did) was like driving from Brittany to easter Poland. And they still didn't actually believe me until they had done it themselves.

alex said...

Well, i think your friend is not very good in geography because paris to istanbul it's something like 3000 km... In my opinion Oklahoma to Minnesota it's more like paris to porto (or lisbon).
Anyway welcome to france :)

my 2 cents.

Jennifer (the singing one) said...

And then there's the whole traffic scenario - there's actual distance (ie, 60 miles) and the time it takes to drive the distance (depending on time of day, rush hour traffic, holidays, weekends, number of freeway lanes open, number of accidents, San Francisco vs. LA vs. Sacramento, number of highway patrol on the road, etc.).

We were at a B&B in Sonoma and the other couple there were from Maryland. They decided to drive down to Hearst Castle, as a day trip (by way of downtown San Francisco). We gently corrected them.

African Kelli said...

ha! That makes sense. And who would send their kid from France to Turkey for sleep away camp? Well, if I lived in France I might.