Questions for Americans

9508707233_4acdef5fb7I just came back from my honeymoon – a two-week road trip around California. America is a foreign country. Well that’s not news for most English people, but it was news to me. My new husband and I wrote diaries each and in a month or so, we’re going to share them with each other to see if we want to stay married. No, not really; to see how differently we saw what we thought we had shared. I haven’t written a diary consistently even for two weeks since I was a teenager and it was fun, and interesting. But it threw up more questions than answers. Here are some of the questions. Perhaps any American readers can help me with the answers:

  • I think we saw a herd of zebra on Highway 1, or maybe it was just the sea fog rolling in from the Pacific. No, we really did. Zebra in California?!
  • Where did the expression ‘holy cow’ come from? Ron, (from Denver, married to Jeanie, lovely man who liked to ask us questions each morning, like ‘can you get fruit in England?’ and would reply ‘holy cow’ when we said could get any kind of fruit he would care to name), liked to use it regularly.
  • I could probably find this out from Google, but when are bears most active and can they see well in the dark? When we were locked out of our remote cabin (a whole other story), we found bear poo by the rubbish bin. Definitely bear poo – berries and all. Never saw the bear though. Anyone got any bear stories they’d care to share?
  • Why do US signs in the woods, like ‘keep off my land’ start with the word ‘Posted’? I could see that they were posted.
  • Are there still independent diners in America and how do I find them? I was so disappointed not to be able to sit in a red vinyl booth and eat apple pie in my whole two weeks. The closest we got was one of the Black Bear Diners, which is a chain and wasn’t that great, but we were served by Jesus. Really, we kept the receipt to prove it.
  • Is it usual for hummingbirds to look through windows? We saw lots of hummingbirds in America. They were very exotic and exciting to us, but no Californians seemed to get quite so worked up. Perhaps they are the equivalent of our wood pigeons. Anyway, several times I saw them hovering in front of windows. Were they looking in, or just admiring their own reflection?

All answers gratefully received.