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You’re Welcome …

Gasoline… to the land where a gallon of milk costs more than a gallon of petrol. Gas. Petrol. Whatever! Stuff that makes you car go – you know the stuff. The average price of a gallon (1 US gallon by the way = 3.785 litres) of milk is $2.99, whilst petrol is about $2.20.

To save you doing all the head scratching and conversions I’ve tried to do all the hard work for you – please tell me if I’ve cocked this up.

Unleaded back home when I left was on average about 96 pence per litre, which would make it ๏ฟฝ3.63. Using’s exchange rate of ๏ฟฝ1.76 to the dollar today, I do believe that makes the equivalent price of what we pay here be $6.39. i.e. it’s almost exactly three times more expensive to fill up your car in the UK than it is in the US. And having worked all that out, I still don’t know the difference between their ‘regular’, ‘plus’ and ‘supreme’ – but I’m guessing it’s something to do with the octane ratings which do appear to be a lower value than ours.

Welcome to Charleston

Anyway. I’m in CharlestonSouth Carolina, but actually few into Charlotte in North Carolina before heading south, and have also since nipped over the state boundary heading south some more to go to Savannah in Georgia for a day – so have done three out of the fifty states so far in one trip, although bizarrely my flight back is via Philadelphia which will mean techincally I’ll have done Pensilvania as well.

Dr PepperSo congratulations to Ian who I think it was in the previous post for actually saying the ‘C’ word first, a unique bottle of soda that you can’t get in the UK on its way to you sir. Perhaps you’d like to try Black Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper which I saw yesterday too!

Sullivans Island SunriseThere was indeed a rather huge clue in my gallery section which I posted yesterday – a picture of sunrise (yes, I got up early!) at a place called Sullivans Island, near Mount Pleasant, but still a district of Charleston – which is strictly where I’m staying and was the winning word I was looking for.

Charleston (originally called ‘Charles Towne’ when established in 1670) has seen off one major civil war, earthquakes, its fair share of hurricanes (the most recent being Hugo in 1989), is home to the classic Charleston Dance, and also at one time had the most churches per capita – but it’s now down to ‘just’ 187 in the downtown area alone. (Interesting church sidenote: Do you know the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? Answer at the bottom…)

There’s a lot of money here. You get the feeling that it’s a bit like an english seaside retirement home where all the rich people come to spend their last few years, spending money on its expensive property, and in the many unique shops – with a heavy art & design orientation.


Everything is neat, clean, pretty and organised – although I get the feeling that my ‘tour guide’ has only shown me the nicer parts of the city! I have seen no crime, or nasty bits – the closest thing being a finger raised and a ‘fuck you!’ muttered (my lip reading skills are much better than I realised when it comes to identifying swear words) by one driver to another when they were having a brief altercation at a crossroads. Sorry – I mean, intersection.

Lightswitch (Upside down)Other random observations:

Their light switches are all upside down. No kidding. To me, you flick a switch ‘down’ to turn it on, and ‘up’ to turn it off, right? Uh hu – not here. Up is on, and down is off. Oh and all their lightbulbs are screw fittings too, and not bayonet which I’m used to. Please don’t ask why I’ve been changing lightbulbs though!

Also – you can turn right on a red light – sometimes. It’s generally accepted that you can turn right on a red, unless there is a sign telling you that you can’t – and even then it might be between certain times of the day. It’s confusing! I think I’d elect always to stop on a red, but then I’d probably get hooted at by the car behind me.

If you’re in a restaurant, and you don’t clear your plate – it’s almost accepted that you will want the leftovers boxed up to take home with you. Back home, you always have to ask if you want that to happen, and even then you sometimes get looked at as if you’re a weirdo for wanting to take away the food that you’ve paid for. Here you get a weird look if you don’t.

Everyone of course (yawn) knows about sidewalks/pavements, elevators/lifts and pants/trousers, but some of the more esoteric nuances which you only discover after submerging yourself in daily banter for a while, would have to include ‘longitude’ – spelt the same, but pronounced with a soft ‘G’ like you would in the word ‘sponge’. That sounds funny, but not as funny as when you hear a southerner say the word ‘parmasan’ (the cheese) though, which again is spelt the same, but pronounced ‘parma-joooohn’ instead, with a huge drawl.

Also, when driving and map reading, whenever you choose to drive down a road, you don’t take the road, you just take ‘road’. What do I mean? Ok, well I wouldn’t drive down the M25 back home for example. I’d just drive M25. Or here : “Take I95 (Interstate 95) south”. Me: “You mean take the I95″. “No – take I95”. Cue: Argument about who’s language is it anyway.

I’ve been getting used to a new look all week as well. It’s at that moment where I’ve been introduced to someone, and they say “Hello”, and maybe a little bit deliberately, I’ve adopted the fashion of saying “How do you do?” back to them in the most eloquent fashion I can muster, and there’s this split second in their eyes where you see them think “Oh he’s British, should I mention it? No of course not – he already knows he is”, and then they carry on talking to you.

Funnier than that though, is when I engage in conversation with someone first, my ‘tour guide’ gets slightly annoyed when the person that I’m talking to also assumes that they’re British too, just because I am. I keep telling them it’s because they look British and have a secret yearning to be really …


I keep hearing music in shops and stores though that I’ve never heard before, and have frequently found myself asking the counter staff what CD or track is playing. One girl in particular (telling me about the Ben Lee version of Modest Mouse’s “Float On” ) even gave me her card with her number telling me to call her if she wanted her to burn it onto CD for me. “And my names Katrina” she added at the end, scribbling it on the back of the card “As in the hurricane”. Yes, thanks for clarifying that one.

Starbucks JeffStarbucks continues to make me feel at home when not at home. The layout, smell of the place, and taste of the drinks is exactly what you get worldwide – but I’ve come to realise that each country has its own unique cookies, muffins and cakes etc … and I am sorely going to miss the Cinnamon Twists that I’ve never seen anywhere else in the world except for here. Damn they’re nice.

Oh, and when they don’t ask how to spell your name, everyone just assumes that you’re Geoff with a ‘J’. Tsk!

I’m heading back north tomorrow (Wednesday), up to the Appalachian mountains in North Carolina, to a town called Linville. After a few days there, it’ll be time to head home (eek!) back to where average daily temperatures aren’t 17 degrees centigrade and the sun isn’t out. Dammit.

Oh – and the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? A graveyard is attached to a church, a cemetery is a plot of land with a path or road – something inbetween it and the church – which separates it. The Geofftech iBlog continues to educate!

Have a good day y’all …

43 responses to “You’re Welcome …”

  1. Charlotte says:

    I’m gonna be boring now and tell u why (supposedly) they do they’re light switches upside down. It is apparently so that if the light switch breaks and falls down it won’t turn the light on! I don’t know where i learnt this. That is my random fact for the day.

    As for the differences in pronunciation i obviously watch too much friends as most of it seems fairly normal to me. I did hear one thing that was annoying me today though – they were talking about what route to take to vegas, but they pronounched it ‘rowt’ grrr.

    You gotta love them though.
    Have u had a mcflurry yet?!


  2. Chris says:

    Traditionally, a Graveyard requires a church. However there was a move away from Graveyards to Cemeterys because of the better protection afforded to the graves. Therefore Cemeterys do not (generally) have a church.

  3. Richard says:


    How about some more frankness regarding who yout ‘tour guide’ is and how you came to know her?

  4. Black Cherry Vanilla coke, please. Diet if they have it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I don’t think milk is the best comparison. At 45p a pint, milk in England is around 80p a litre; only relatively recently is that cheaper than petrol. And if you take the tax away… I blogged about this a while ago…

    I think, logically, up being on is better, in a fail safe kind of way, with gravity and all that…

    So, have you bought a new camera yet?

  5. Jeff/Geoff–

    Milk in Hawaii is $4.25 per gallon. Gas is now $2.79 per gallon. In Europe your cars are smaller, much more fuel efficient and you get better mileage to make up for the high cost of gas. Plus you have better transport systems, such as trains and Tubes, so you don’t have to drive everywhere like we do.

    In California, we’d say, take “the 405″ someplace or the Take the 101 south..” . We’d never add the letter “I” for Interstate like they do on the East Coast. In Hawaii, our highways have names, so we’d say “Take the Queen K south to Mile Marker 97….”On Oahu, we’d say “Take the H-1, Kokohead bound (i.e., toward Diamond Head crater)…” because Hawaiians have always used geographic features to indicate direction (“mauka” means toward the mountains, or upcountry, while “Makai” means toward the sea.)

    Temps in Hawaii today are a balmy 81F ( 27C,) like it is every day.

    Lastly, our light switches are in no way shape or form upside down.

    PS.: #4, don’t count on it!!

  6. Changing lightbulbs…. I think you’ve missed the Opportunity to title this post “We All Feel Better In The Dark”

  7. For god’s sake, Ian- don’t enourage him!

  8. geofftech says:

    #7 – not really, my tour guide likes the light left ON!

    Big Grin

  9. Oh puleeze. There are only two good reasons to have Geoff around, and they both have to do with height….one of them is to change a light bulb and the other is to reset the smoke detectors… which you definitely need him to do when he’s the one cooking!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Anthony says:

    ” I’d just drive M25. Or here : “Take I95 (Interstate 95) south”. Me: “You mean take the I95?. “No – take I95?.”

    You mean you haven’t heard this being used to annoying excess in everyday conversations in England yet?! “I’m goin’ Waterfront”? No, you’re going “TO THE Waterfront”!

    This country is turning into a state of America. It won’t be long befoe the language is called American.

  11. Hey, you just added that bit about the leftovers! I think Geoff remembers the time in the pub when I embarrassed him by asking for a to-go box. The waitress looked at me strangely and Geoff had to explain it’s not usually done there. So it’s kind of nice to have the tables turned on him!

    Also, regarding the cinnamon twists, Geoff, get yourself a big box of them cheap at Costco, that’s where I buy mine. They go great with tea. ๐Ÿ™‚

    On another subject please everyone go vote for Ian in the 2006 Bloggies ( awards. I’ve nominated him for best blog title and tagline, since he clearly couldn’t win in any other category such as writing or photography. But his blog title is damn clever.

  12. geofftech says:

    I did indeed go back and add in the left overs bit. and the turning right on a red bit. and tweaked a few other spelling and grammatical errors! it’s my best post for weeks, i wanted to make it even better…

  13. CV says:

    Hey Geoff, I’ll be taking a right on 1 north tomorrow, stopping at some stop lights, traversing some intersections, taking on ramps and off ramps and even driving I-95 for few miles (what a long road! I’m sure the road from Miami to Fort Lauderdale is the I-95 too), though round here it’s known as the New Jersey Turnpike. I even had the very same ‘can you? can’t you?’ debate this morning with a colleague about turning right on red! See you at Heathrow later?

  14. Alan Perks says:

    Hmm, Octane ratings. Don’t you remember 2, 3, 4 and 5 star Geoff? Probably too young I guess. I don’t think we have proper octane ratings anymore due to the advent of lead free petrol. Is the stuff over there lead free?

  15. mavis says:

    #9 – too much information!

  16. N.o.rthener says:

    Sorry 45p a pint for milk? Even city centre Sainsbury’s is only 31p, where on earth do you shop?

  17. Chz says:

    The gas is the same (albeit a bit more sulphurous, due to the Venezuelan stuff that makes it into the mix), but the Octane is rated differently. There’s the RON and MON ratings for octane – in Europe, we use the RON number and in North America it’s (RON+MON)/2.

    And unless there’s a seperate light for it, you must still come to a stop at a red light before proceeding to turn right. And you can’t do it in New York or Montreal, if memory serves…

    God I was such a car geek when I lived back in Canada!

  18. “he clearly couldn’t win in any other category such as writing”

    i am speechless with indignation.

  19. Geoff's Mum says:

    I was going to query the price of milk too, but someone beat me to it, you pay roughly 56%
    more in a corner shop/garage i.e. about 50p, unless that garage is a Tesco or Sainsbury
    outlet. In Redhill milk is 32p or(33p in M & S) even cheaper if you buy larger sizes.
    Geoff & Neil got a mention in the Daily Express yesterday, in ’10 Tube facts you were dying to know'(on the letters page).
    When I was at school spelling was crucial, therefore I cringe when I see Parmesan spelt with
    an a in the middle, and Cemetery has 3 ‘e’s by the way, and the plural of Cemetery
    is ‘Cemeteries’, heh but I’m just an old fogey.
    BTW, The Oxford Modern dictionary defines’Charleston’as’a lively American dance of the 1920’s
    with side-kicks from the knee’ Have you see any side-kicks?

  20. Tim says:

    I actually think it would be $1.76 to the pound, not ฃ1.76 to the dollar – but I think your calculations are correct nonetheless!

  21. geofftech says:

    #21 Corrected! Oops … You knew what i meant. I’ll go whack that extra ‘e’ in cemetery too. thanks MOM! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. #19–LOL!! I got to YOU!!! I couldn’t win in writing either, and I’m a professional writer…I readily admit my blog is a perfect example of lazeeeeeeee writing and lazee spelling too. I don’t take the time to make my writing perfect unless I’m getting paid! How bad is that.

    #20–It’s hard to believe that because Geoff’s mum (Mom?!!?) is such a spelling stickler..he would not have also inherited the spelling gene…. but he is getting better lately. At least no “its/it’s” stuff. Most of us Americans do not say “Parma-Jon.” Shiver… (And since visiting Florence, I use only freshly grated, not packaged.)

    Are you having so much fun there, did y’all also not know there is a Tube strike going on?

  23. samantha says:

    Charleston’s just made a list of top ten up-and-coming places to visit, alongside Goa (up-and-coming?!?) and Glasgow (see for more on the inclusion of the fairest of them ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).
    So you can knock another thing off the ‘cool things to do before I’m dead’ list.

  24. Geoff's Mum says:

    Yes, the ‘Daily Express’ did a double page spread on Charleston in their last Saturday, issue, it really is THE place to visit now. As usual Geoff was there first.
    Re.spelling, I went to school in the 50’s dammit, when all that rote stuff was rammed into us, at the expense of imagination. At least Geoff has that, and he gets his artistic/imaginitive streak from the paternal side, not moi!

  25. geofftech says:

    “rote stuff” ??

    Charleston’s the place to be then. I think that’s the first time I have done something before it’s become popular. It is quite cute in terms or architecure too – i should have posted about this or taken photos, because of all the houses that are there are kept in their original condition on the outside – made of wood, and most beautiful. Not many ugly (!) brick buildings at all.

    Oh, and nice direct AV console link Sam!

  26. Rote: to learn by repetition, not by understanding. Honestly, do they teach you nothing nowadays?

  27. jeff says:

    How can you update the blog when you in america.

  28. Kathleen says:

    soooo tell every1 what theyre dying to know. Who’se the tour guide?

  29. 25: You are too modest, Geoff’s Mum. He got his charm and wit from you, obviously. Not to mention the eyes, you both have the same eyes! We’re still all hoping you do a blog soon. How are you enjoying the new grandson? ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. geofftech says:

    #28 – Er… they have this thing called ‘the internet’ too here in the states! and wireless internet all over the place – and i have my laptop, and so… that’s how! easy.

    #29 – The ‘tour guide’ ? Lol… but that would sooo be telling wouldn’t it and then I’d have no fun!

    Admit it, you like being teased ๐Ÿ˜‰

  31. Geoff's Mum says:

    Geoff, send me $1000 now or I’ll spill the beans about your ‘guide’!
    Kris: After seeing pictures of the beautiful place where you live, what
    could I possibly write about that would interest anyone?
    ‘Pensioner in Redhill tower block’ doesn’t quite seem as enthralling as
    life in Hawaii, although there’s quite a nice view on sunny days, of which
    there aren’t many at the moment. I must get out more.

  32. Alan Perks says:

    I could spill the beans too, but I’m far too honourable to consider that. Mum blackmailing son, despicable!!

  33. Moley says:

    Geoff, I too could do with some cash if you dishing it out ๐Ÿ˜‰

  34. Peter says:

    #30 – They both share the same eyes? Blimey, that sounds complicated. Is there some sort of rota system involved?

  35. #32 Geoff’s mum: Well thank you! I think you should come on over to Hawaii for a visit. You can take G’s place; he’ll never make it here now that he has ‘tour guides’ and such to visit with on the other side of the country.

    Besides a person can have all sorts of beautiful photos in their blog, but not ever equal the English wit you’ve got. (Did you notice, however, along my sidebar is a photo that you took?!!) “Prisonor of Redhill Tower Block” sounds like the ideal blog title to me! I think you should try it. Geoff, help her get started please.

    Geoff…send me $2000 or I’ll do the same!

  36. geofftech says:

    Prisoner : Cell Block Redhill

    it could happen …

  37. Geoff's Mum says:

    It was ‘pensioner’ not prisoner, I am allowed out as I get a hand-out from the state each week for all those years of slaving over those account books and dodgy computer programs, and caring for my children.
    It is only a pittance, just enough to stock up on Wooly’s pick and mix each week (highlight of the week), and pay my mobile ‘phone bill. As Geoff once wrote about shopping in the day in his local area, day-time shoppers are usually young mums, the unemployed and the dreaded pensioners , raking thru the dented cans and broken packages in the supermarket looking for bargains.
    Kris: no I havn’t spotted this photo, was it one I sent you?

  38. Alan Perks says:

    Liverpool 1 Spurs 0
    Arsenal 7 Boro 0

  39. geofftech says:

    Yes yes yes yes yes … I think you’ll find we’re still above you in the table!

    Anyway – Greetings from departure gate D13, Charlotte aiport, North Carolina. Where my tour guide just dropped me off.


  40. OMGosh!!! It was “pensioner!” Not “prisoner!” How silly of me. I still think “Prisoner” makes a better blog title. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I chastised Geoff about that same post… the one where he gets grumpy with all the strollers (sorry, “prams.”) in the shops during daylight hours. Once he has a pram of his own (will it be soon?), it will be really fun to see Geoff try and push his way through the crowds. It could be quite an intimidating sight. I know I would leap out of the way and let him pass.

    The photo you took is the one of young Geoff and old Kris sitting on the couch displaying the new iPod (which has already had another NEW one take its place, sadly) and also the Hawaiian car seat covers which I am certain are now stuffed in a closet somewhere.

    Safe travels Geoff!

  41. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes…. Games in hand…

    But congratulations. I think St Totteringhams day will be quite late this year.

  42. Geoff with a J,

    I was screaming with laughter at your latest adventure in the U.S. Didn’t I tell you last year that your accent alone will get you tons of attention of the with American women. OK the part about circumcised men made me fall out of the chair howling. When I came to Europe I did not realize all men were not circumcised until one day Rick and I went to a spa in Baden-Baden, Germany, where I was shocked to bits (my new favorite Brit saying) that EVERYONE was naked. Ok, I’m trying to blend in and act European, but I had to stare, I could not help it. Then I got very concerned… the men did not look anatomically correct to me. I’m from the Midwest where our percentage is 100%. I swear to God, I thought perhaps it was a genetic birth defect. I’m over that now since I’ve been to German spas zillions of times and have had my fill looking at all the twigs and berries. Gotta love cultural differences.

    One of my best friends is from North Carolina and we tease her relentlessly about her accent. When she has been drinking we can hardly understand a word she says. Have you heard the song Red Neck Woman?

    In Nebraska we still refer to the Interstate as “take the I-80” Rick, California Boy, calls it “take 80”

    I’m glad you enjoyed your trip, South Carolina looks very beautiful. I’m looking forward to taking to you again in person.


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