Usual rules apply - picture belongs to Chauss513
Whilst not quite what I thought when I came to America, certain parts of it have definitely left their mark on me; I certainly weigh more than I did before.
Anyway, some random thoughts:
1) From a purely aesthetic view point, I can understand why David Ogilvy hated billboards. These things are EVERYWHERE. From advertising to any form of religious or nationalistic message they can stick up. So I can understand why the consumer (at least on t'other side of the Atlantic) has a dim view of advertising.
2) The exchange rate meant I could buy lots of cds/beer/clothes/women/John Deere hats (one of those is a lie). This was a very good thing.
3) Alabama, and indeed, the whole south of America is far, far, far, far, far more cultured than I gave it credit for. It's very easy to rely on some form of stereotype, and I suppose that's true, especially when they like to propagate the dixie ideals to such a great degree (yes, I saw the odd Confederate flag). However, talk to the average American and they are incredibly articulate, thoughtful and considerate. It's sad when the liminal elements of society have such a hand in making it (and the same is true for the UK).
4) Nashville is a great city. Brilliant bars, great music (indie, not country - though more on that in a bit).
5) IHOP is the way forward in eateries. And open 24 hours to boot. I would weigh 5 times my weight if this ever came to the UK.
6) The overly English accent does well out there. Natch.
7) Beer, whilst it doesn't come in pints, does come in fluid ounces. You can order a 36 fl oz beer there. Admittedly, it's Coors Light, but damn.. that's a lot of beer.
8) American radio stations are brilliant. Especially classic rock ones, and those with loads of local adverts.
9) You can win a lot more drinking games if you are English/shameless. I'm saying no more.
10) I secretly like Country music...yes, even the ultra religious stuff....but especially the uptempo, almost bluegrass kind. Like folk music, but quicker.
11) Playing a game where you can compare how many fast food places there are to churches is fun. Though you are never quite sure which wins.
12) I rescind my previous allegation about American sweets; Paydays & Butterfingers are damn tasty. Hershey's still tastes like grit and sick mixed together.
13) I still find it strange that American teens can tote around a massive truck at 16, yet can't drink until 21, nor gamble at all. The aforementioned truck is far, far more dangerous than our little cars - it has a crap stopping distance.
14) America has no squash. Just (bleurgh) Gatorade, which tastes oddly like a combination of medicine and weak flavoured water.
15) I need to see more states, and with more local people.. the only times I've been out to the US has been with American people I know; it's by far and away the best way to do things.
Anyway, just a few notes on this post - check out my flickr for some pictures of the trip. Not enough there, I'm sorry to say.