Two things about America I never got used to: toilets and taxes.

Taking the former first, to me a toilet filled nearly to the brim is blocked.  In America (or Florida at least) the toilets are full to the brim by default and then flushing drains the water away (in a nice whirlpool effect) at which point it refills.  Seeing a full toilet is disconcerting. Also I wonder what sort of evaporation occurs: The room I was staying in listed the temperature as 75° F on the wall (which is 23 in UK money and felt a lot less). Surely that body of water with that much surface area must loose quite a bit?

The latter is to do with taxes. Take when I was moving into a new ‘apartment’ (self catering). I ask how much per night. The lady says ’49 dollars’. I say I would like 3 nights and hand over $150 in travellers cheques.  She looks at me like I am mad and asks where the rest of it is. Apparently it is $49 plus taxes.  And this is not an isolated incident.  This happened a lot of times (even for a bottle of water).  Why can’t you tell me what the cost is including taxes? I have to pay that amount anyway, and not being from around those parts I haven’t got the foggiest what the tax rate is and therefore have no idea what the final amount would be.

Finally the joke used to be that as soon as an American found out you were British they would immediately say Monty Python and ask if you knew the Queen.  Now they mention Monty Python, Will & Kate and finally Jeremy Clarkson.  Jeremy Clarkson?! As one of my American friends said: It’s a weird cultural niche that man has carved out for himself.