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Welcome to... USA
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-07-19 18:33:37 | Washington City, Washington, D.C., United States
Keywords: Welcome to
For the second chapter of my 'Welcome To' series, I present you the USA. Normally, I should have published that while I was in DC, but I had some problems delivering it. So, it was placed on the back burner. I initially intended to present you these articles when I would enter the country... but after reflection, I figured it would be better if I presented it to you while in the capital... but as I'm writing you this I decided I would change my mind again and present it to you when I enter the country. Next chapter will be Mexico, in early October.

If I was a US citizen, I'd be an American and I'd present you America. But since I'm Canadian, I know that the America isn't limited to the USA (United States of America). But here's the information about this country nonetheless.

First, geographically, USA is in North-America and with its more than 9.8 millions square kilometres, it's almost the size of Canada, yet because of the geography has about 10% of the coastline Canada has. Canada and USA share the longest unprotected border of the world, more than 5 000 km.

The USA have officially only one official language: the English. However, throughout the country, you'll see a stronger and stronger presence of Spanish, due to immigration (legal or illegal). It initially affected only Florida and the states along the Mexican border, but now it has spread all over the country. I even saw bilingual (English and Spanish) signs in Boston!

The USA officially count 50 states and many depending territories. The national capital is Washington, which is not part of any state, but has its own district, Columbia, which has a special status. The national anthem that is sung on the 4th of July (anniversary of the declaration of independence in 1776) is 'The Star-spangled banner'.

82% of the roughly 315 millions people in the USA live in cities. The largest ones being New York (about 20 millions), Los Angeles (about 13 millions), Chicago (9 millions), Miami (almost 6 millions) and the capital Washington, DC (with a bit more than 4 millions). Most of the population is either Protestant (51%) or Roman catholic (24%).

On the economy front, the USA is the first economical power in the world for now. It used to be mostly oriented into manufacturing before that was moved to Asia, now the economy is mostly centred around services. The current national unemployment rate is around 8.5%.

The currency is the US dollar. Just like the Canadian dollar, it is subdivided into 100 cents. In the US, they have coins of 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents (50 cents coins exist, but not in common circulation). For the bank notes, they exist in 1, 2 (rare), 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. All bank notes are the same size an same colour. There are some other higher denominations, but not in general circulation.

In terms of cost of living, here are some prices, from Washington DC area: $1.79 for a litre of milk, $3.50 for a sliced loaf of multigrain bread, $1.90 for a dozen eggs and $3.80 for a gallon of gas... so roughly $1 per litre. Lodging is very pricey around the capital, so you can expect to pay between $1000 and $1500 a month for a 1 bedroom apt, and be prepared to add another $500 for a second bedroom.

Related posts:
Welcome to... Honduras
Welcome to... El Salvador
Welcome to... Guatemala
Welcome to... Belize!
Welcome to... Mexico!


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