- I was always wary that there could at any time be a random shooting. This is part of the reason that I prefer not to travel in the US. I never feel safe there because of their lax gun laws. I did feel a little better knowing that my brother-in-law was along, he's an RCMP who is part of the Prime Minister's security detachment, so I figured if something bad went down, he'd keep us safe.
- I felt guilty all. the. time. Here we were on a wonderful vacation and probably every person who waited on us at a restaurant or served us at a store was making minimum wage and living without a social safety net.
- The palm and orange trees never got old, but the rest of Florida was pretty scrubby looking.
- The beef was terrible - tough and chewy.
- The disparity between rich and poor was much more obvious than here at home. Gated communities with large homes were next to trailer parks with crumbling single-wide trailers.
- I almost never heard anyone speaking English. Virtually every person I overheard was speaking Spanish. Even the tall, blond, germanic looking people.
- My husband claims that everyone was much fatter than Canadians, but I didn't notice a significant difference to be honest.
- My husband also noticed how few people had tattoos. Once he pointed it out I saw it too. Unlike the Medicine Hat or Calgary Stampede, where virtually every person in a tank top and shorts has at least one tattoo showing, I saw virtually no tattoos on the people at the parks. When I did, it was someone extremely tatted up who looked like they would knife you if you gave them a wrong look. I guess Americans are just more conservative than Canadians (as if you didn't already know that!).
- We went to the largest Wal-Mart I had ever seen. It was a 24 hour Super Wal-Mart. (I must point out that I normally do not shop at Wal-Mart due to my issues with their employee policies and profit margins, however, there wasn't anything else near where we were staying and we didn't buy that much, so I'm giving myself a pass on this one.) When you entered the store, you couldn't see the end of the building and that is not an exaggeration. We were there to buy some groceries and since I purchase produce for the Good Food Club, I was curious as to the price differences. I was shocked to see that produce prices were almost identical to what we pay in Medicine Hat, even the oranges! Processed foods, dairy, and eggs were where I saw the biggest price difference. They were so much cheaper. I'm not sure the reasoning behind the cheaper processed foods, but I know that American dairy & eggs are cheaper because they don't have a supply management system in the US. They also allow growth hormones in their dairy and egg production, which Canada doesn't. This leads to increased production and cheaper product.
Here's a picture of a some alligators that I took at Gatorland and a sea turtle from the Clearwater Aquarium.