after spending two weeks in the United States of America, what’s the appropriate way to reflect on it? Well, first of all, measure it by its entertainment value: it was bucketloads of fun. The best girlfriend ever and myself sitting in our enormous Lincoln Town Car, listening to BobFM (which seems to be ubiquitous in the U.S.), cruising through the backwaters of the Mid-West and Texas, happily chatting away, looking at the strange sights outside our rolling fortress and connecting with the locals (“How are y’alls today? Would you mind if I’ ask you for one of your fancy foreign coins?”) had a blast and thanks to Theophilia and Theophonia (the two Town Cars) it was one of the most relaxing drives ever.
I am already thinking about getting one of those over to the UK, but I think they might not fit in my garage. Having a walk around three Mid-Western campuses was certainly enlightening, and I find it reassuring that students are still practising the ancient art of dancing at lunchtime in the middle of the campus (huh?)
We where exceedingly lucky that everywhere we went the sun was shining, the autumn leaves were still on the trees and hurricane Sandy huffed and puffed in a safe distance from us, especially as we took a flight to Houston to check out Austin and catch some serious sun (I promptly burned by scalp. Again). Interesting place, Austin. One of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., the place oozed casual coolness, and even on a Wednesday morning, you would see hipster geeks sitting in open air cafes, nursing their lattes and drafting memos to their future investors.
Loads of ‘Texans for Obama’ stickers, loads of live music venues and one of the coolest hotels we ever stayed in: if you can manage to stay for a night at the ‘W’ in Austin, please do. And just to worship in front of the altar of Mcintosh: yes, their bar’s audio setup is made out of vintage Mcintosh. Have a look.
No proper geek could visit Houston without popping along to NASA, so the best girlfriend and I drove down to the coast to Houston Space Centre, did the grand tour, marvelled at the Saturn V, sat in the chairs behind the old Apollo control room and examined Moon rocks critically.
So, after two weeks of driving up and down the country, one can’t be helped but be bowled over by the cheerfulness of the locals, the vastness of the place and the weirdness of its politics. The U.S. continues to refuse to follow the path of secularisation that the rest of the world has taken and is still steeped in the language of the bible (or the book of
moron mormon, whatever your tickles your fancy). Once they get over that hurdle, I am sure we will get along spiffingly.