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Across America

Greenbriar | Nashville | Memphis | St. Louis | Chicago | La Crosse | Badlands | Black Hills
North Dakota | Montana/Canada | Banff National Park | Columbia Icefield | Montana Return
Jackson Hole | Salt Lake City | Zion & Las Vegas | Observations


OBSERVATIONS

These are several observations that I have made on this trip. Carol has convinced me that I should memorialize them. Unfortunately, they remind me of similar insights that I recorded years ago in letters to Mark and Mike. Not very useful or interesting to anyone else. But here goes.

MANSI0NS

Every city and town has one or more mansions that dominate the area. They are often on a promontory. In larger cities they are on one or more streets (Washington has 16th Street). These homes are huge in comparison to the surrounding houses. Today, we derisively refer to such mansions as "Tract-Castles" as homes that are meant to show the world that the owners have arrived. I wonder if they statistics would show that the numbers of these "mansions", new or old are in a similar proportion to the income of the areas.

In the same vein, every town has a Main Street. It was, and seldom still is, the place where all commercial activity of the town was done. Today, most of these streets are de facto museums. Some are revivified, or attempted to be, with a few made pedestrian malls. Most of the latter seem to fail.

CANON FODDER

This topic is less harmless. If one read science fiction, a theme that reoccurs is that a portion of the populace of the society conjured up in the story is bred for food, war, or breeding. During the concert on the evening before the 4th, I cried as I watched and listened to the ceremonies. These people are proud that their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, friends go to war and die. No one questions that the cause is right or that they and their loved ones are expected to serve. The next day, the military participated heavily in the 4th of July parade. They handed out fans that had inscribed on them the fact that anyone who enlisted would be paid $40K and have up to $65k of tuition loans paid. This sum of money is a fortune to many of the people I was looking at.

SCARS ON THE BODY

As you travel across the southern part of West Virginia you are struck by the incredible beauty of the area. And then, all of a sudden, you come to a river and that river bank is populated by factories. These factories make no pretense as to what they are. Big, ugly, sprawling obscenities. Sort of like a beautiful woman with a scowl tattooed on her face. I recognize that we need this industry to be our society and that they were built years ago but still, it is a shame and a scar.

BLIMPS

I am truly amazed by the weight profile of the average citizen of the South (Chicago appeared to be less obese on the average). If people were counted for the census or for voting on the basis of average weight, the South would have at least twice the electorate power. They also tend to dress if they purchased their clothes at the Salvation Army.

FOOD

Possibly the reason that the Blimps exist is that the food served in mist of America is so bad. Huh? Really, the typical food establishment throughout America operates on s shoestring. It depends on the typical local who eats out - the elderly and alone - who wouldn't recognize a good meal most of the time and on the occasional tourist who hasn't that many choices for establishments. The cooks are not gourmet trained and are short order at best.

What's fun is that he menus read as if the food is going to be special. But the ingredients are canned, or hopefully frozen. Never fresh. The food is overcooked, fried, or raw on happenstance. But one has to eat.

AMERICA IS CLOSED TODAY

Amusingly (or not), many of the places we wanted to go (yesterday it was a major collection of art galleries) are closed because it is Saturday, Sunday, Monday or a holiday or they are repairing or remodeling. Downtowns are most susceptible to this phenomenon as the population tends to flee the environs after work ends.

INDESCRIBABLE

I have been at a loss over the past couple of weeks to spontaneously describe many of the sights I have seen. Like the camera whose picture doesn't quite capture the grandeur of the view, my words are equally inadequate. Some things appear to be, for some people, indescribable.
     
Greenbriar | Nashville | Memphis | St. Louis | Chicago | La Crosse | Badlands | Black Hills
North Dakota | Montana/Canada | Banff National Park | Columbia Icefield | Montana Return
Jackson Hole | Salt Lake City | Zion & Las Vegas | Observations


HOME  |  AUSTRALIA 2003  |  ACROSS AMERICA  |  IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA  |  VIETNAM  |  AFRICA  |  AROUND THE WORLD 2009  |  SOUTH AMERICA 2009  |  LEGENDARY CULTURES 2011
  |  TURKEY AND GREECE  |  CIRCLE THE ARCTIC