Back at school I took part in an international student exchange scheme and for one year attended a secondary school in the US. I stayed in an american family, who were fine well educated, cultured had stayed in different parts of the world. But apart from that it was a huge culture shock. Towns with no people on the streets everyone locked in their cars or barred homes. No real food. Wanna buy flour? Forget it! You get all kinds of pre-mixed baking powders and stuff but nowhere a normal flour. Very poor choice and very poor quality. Most people I met there led a joyless gloomy life. The american dream perhaps? And what also shocked me a good deal is how oppressed they are. The police are everywhere, carrying a joint is almost as serious offence as a murder and in some US states it's illegal to have oral sex!!! Ridiculous? Yes. And very sad. I'm glad I've seen it.