Archive Page 2

Sandcastles and disasters

sandcastle.jpgThis is the castle that Paul built! Spending my time in important matters whilst sunning on the Floridian Gulf coast I built the mother of all sandcastles and am expecting George to stop by to liberate it at any time. Enjoyable lazy week in Seacreast though marred by no internet connection (can you image such a problem!). Also went to visit the town of seaside an idyllic community where the Trueman show was filmed and where a little seaside cottage with 3 beds will set you back a cool 2 million dollars. Onto New Orleans next for Jazz and Bourbon street.

Get me an alligator sandwich …

Well I’ve now seen an alligator, in the flesh so to speak, and dsc_8679.jpgcouldn’t resist the rather kitch offer to hold a baby ‘ gator which was 2 years old and about 4 feet long (any attempt to bring the USA into the metric system seems doomed to failure. Travels to Key Largo in th footsteps of Hemmingway and then through the everglades was followed by a visit to the Florida Strawberry festival which was just as it says on the tin. The strawberries were wonderful and the carnival and the shows were also fun; I can really recommend pig racing as a fun activity! To food again was something else mostly fried, fatty and fullsome. On thr road again to the Florida panhandle and a week by the seaside – quite literally as the town is called seaside.

Diners, Beaches and Bikes

bikes.jpgAn introduction to the ‘real’ USA, or at least some of it with small town diners, or rather off interstate diners with the kind of food that makes your arteries harder as you walk through the door. The local idea of vegetarianism seems to be an omlet or the pickles off the hamburger so a trip to the local market is on the cards. On the postive sides the beaches on the East coast before you hit ‘condoland’ are spectacular and the local wildlife is also very fine. In Daytona beach we took part (in a spectator sort of a way) with the annual motorcycle festival where 500,000 bikes converge on a small Floridian seaside town. Quite a spectacle.

Initial impressions

Well, after about a week in the good old US of A and a tour round CNN and a few of the world’s biggest (many things seem to be!) a few reflections. It stuck me again as it always did how prevelant guns are. Everyone at the airport seemed to be sporting a gun as well as many people in town and the guard at the drugstore, as well, of course, as the more official sorts. The other thing is the number of hugely overweigh people, as in as wide as they are tall overweight. This is the land of supersize me – it is not surprising given the size of food portions and the, realtive, cheapness of food.  Eating out seems to beimage.jpg very popular as there are large number of food emporia at most malls both ‘fast’ and, I guess slow, food outlets. Back to the gun issue the most shocking was on visting an Atlantan Children’s Museum the sign on the door (see picture).

Revenge on Bill Bryson

flag.jpegEver since reading Bill Bryson’s “notes on a small country” I’ve felt the need to travel across the US making similar remarks – so I’ve sharpened my pencils and am ready to embark. Last time I was in Florida I did eat at the IHOP (that’s international house of pancakes – of course international has a different meaning in a country where the
world series can be contested between Canada and the US
!) and a “small” serving of panckaes was cng050wfull.gif4 the size of dinner plates and about 2cm thick so it might be food I’ll be commenting on. On the subject the food is Texas the best place to be a vegetarian? Well just the packing to finish now – maybe that Guantanemo T-shirt isn’t the best thing to wear through customs?

What’s going to be the best thing?

adventure.jpgIt’s hard to know which is going to be the most exciting thing on the trip and I hope that there will be surprises. I’ve always like the idea of driving past the sign saying ‘world’s largest ball of string!’ or somesuch. I’m looking forward to seeing an alligator, perhaps drinking in Hemmingway’s bar in Key West, listening to a Dixie band in New Orleans, catching a river boat [ever since reading Tom Sawyer as a teenager] and visiting Gracelands. Yes, I know it’s kitch but I’m informed it is also rather amazing. Then to Nashville and Memphis, Atlanta and Savannah before we even set off to the  West. Navajo country should be special but then so should be the Grand Canyon or the Petrified forest not to mention that tree which you can drive through and seeing the Golden Gate bridge at dawn. And that’s just the things that I’m expecting to see – who know’s what else is out there?

And now the time is near

images1.jpegSo I’m getting quite excited now and am looking at how I’m going to get all the toys into the suitcase alongside any clothes. I hope that I will get loads of great photos and also some good video footage. Will be keeping my eye out for interesting shots as well as the standards toursity things (like the GGB above!). Can’t believe that we are nearly ready to go only 6 days and it’s Gatwick here we come.