This is the longest trip back to my homeland in a very long time. Since it is not a business trip I am basically experiencing life again like when I lived here. Which is fun and slightly eye opening since for the last 10+ years I have been centered in Asia.
Around my home area, where I am staying, it feels like nothing has changed much at all. Everyone is older, as I am, and all the same houses are there but with new faces in many of them.
Things that still amaze me are the big box stores that have huge boxes of everything- massive amounts of home electronics, tons of people and the inability to escape the cash register for anything less than 300 USD. I go every trip though to stock up on socks and underwear.
The growth of whole food’s like stores and whole food’s itself is something new. I assume most of it is overpriced nonsense but the selection and quality is pretty amazing. So far this trend hasn’t hit Asia but I can see that it might over time.
What’s strange to me is it still feels like I can buy a pair of shoes made in Asia cheaper in America than in Singapore. Not sure how to grok that one yet.
As we make our way down to Disneyland I am reminded that America is huge and pretty useless without a car. Once you have to live in rural America you must have a car. Must. It’s only the cities that allow non car living. I enjoy the convenience of it but back in Singapore I don’t have or feel like I need one.
Everything is too big. Everywhere you eat the portions are insane and it seems people’s bodies slowly catch up to being able to consume the ultra large portions. People look bigger to me.
Although the market is huge in America I feel like the opportunity to build things and carve into new markets that have better connectivity and a proclivity for mobile devices feels more appealing. It may not be true but it I like building for Asia and the globe more than for America and the globe but it could be that it’s just a feeling more than reality.
That being said I am stunned how bad mobile data is here outside the cities and how crappy rural Internet is. Coming from even Thailand I feel like the Internet is more expensive and slower in rural America than Thailand – apart from the great Thai firewall issues.
My parents live in Alta, CA and they have DSL from ATT that is just crap. I think it is a 5mbps line that barely gets 3 on a good day. There is no other option for them except for some line of sight service that isn’t very reliable.
Might be okay if one could tether their mobile phone but ATT gets like 2 bars there and TMobile won’t work at all. As we drive I5 to Disneyland from Alta I am amazed at how often both our phones have no signal or have edge versus real data. It’s like I am in an emergent market or something – just stunning how America got into this backwater Internet position.
What is absolutely amazing and what gets me thinking about moving back at times though is how beautiful California is and how much I miss the outdoors. The walks, the trees, the oceans, and the mountains are just incredible. Really is no other place like it on earth.
Back to the roadtrip and my shitty gprs connection.