No snakes on this plane

I’ve had an enjoyable first few days in the US (Boston, MA). My apartment is really nice (considerably nicer than the student places I’ve been in for the last 2 years!), plus Dave (flat mate) and Seemant + Aimee have been really helpful in terms of getting me settled in.

I’ve figured out the public transport system and ventured into the city a few times. As I don’t start working until September, I’m enjoying having the time just to wander around with a slightly alienated feeling (everyone talks funny, drives on the wrong side of the road, etc) and no real commitments as of yet.

A few things have struck me while trying to get on my feet:

  • The banking system is weird. The high street banks here seem to lack the efficiency which I’m used to back at home. And what’s this about paying monthly fees just to have a basic account? Savings accounts which offer only 0.40% interest? Having to pay to get a cheque checkbook?
  • Holes in the mobile cell phone network… Having a tri-band phone on a UK network allows me to connect to any GSM network out here, but reception of any network in my apartment is basically non-existent. Things don’t even get much better in the local town area, although it was OK in the city.
  • Lack of any decent pay-as-you-go cellphone plans — I don’t see myself using a cellphone too much if I can’t even get signal at home, but it looks like all “prepaid” phone plans really suck out here

It has also been an educational experience. I now know the value of a dime (why is a 10 cent coin smaller, thinner and lighter than a 5 cent coint!?), and discovered what a corn dog actually is (haven’t tried one yet, but this Americanism had been bugging me for a while).

On Friday (my 20th birthday) I met with Dave & Megan and friends, Seemant & Aimee, Mike Frysinger and Joshua Nichols. We ate at a nice bar in the city, which was fun. I hope we can meet up again soon, once I’ve adjusted to the timezone.

3 Responses to “No snakes on this plane”

  1. Donnie Berkholz Says:

    You should be able to find a free checking account if you look around a bit, but yeah, interest rates universally suck with a low balance.

    Pay-as-you-go cell plans are largely nonexistent in the US, but there’s a new company called Cricket that offers something like that.

  2. Decibels Says:

    I stopped using ‘banks’, see if you can get in with a Credit Union. Same thing basically, but they don’t have all those
    stupid fees ‘banks’ try to charge you. Your typical normal ‘bank’ pretty much wants you to pay them to store you money
    there.

  3. Chewi Says:

    I hate the fact that the ATM machines give you your money BEFORE they give you your card back. I walked away and left my card in the machine once. Fortunately I realised after about 20 seconds.

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