While driving around, I mostly listen to public radio and local radio. It’s interesting to see how little attention foreign news gets. Sofar, I’ve only heard some tidbits about Georgia and the Olympics and even then mostly to report on what the US government was doing in the matter or what the US athletes managed to achieve. I’ve actually looked for radio or TV reporting on outside events, but it seems that the American (or at least the Californian) with an interest abroad needs to rely on news papers and even then, you have to pick the right ones.
The quality of radio shows is not bad though. If you look for it, there’s a lot of good talk radio and some good entertainment. But scanning the bands does show there’s a lot missing too. Nowhere did I find classical music. All the music stations are playing rock, 60’s and upwards pop classics or evangelically inspired music. Rarely you find something a bit more modern with R&B, hiphop and their derivatives, but I was hard pressed to find anything more ‘alternative’ than Coldplay and that’s just plain sad. With so many stations on offer (both on TV and radio), it seems strange that the diversity is so low, especially considering the huge audience. There’s a lot, but it’s a lot of the same.
Driving through the desert, from Palm Springs, California to Kingsman, Arizona is everything you expect from a US roadtrip. My ride even included a bit of historic route 66 which has a lot of tacky stereotypical stuff surrounding it, but still manages to convey a sense of authenticity, driving down it. The weather worked out beautifully as well, as I drove through the desert in a baking sun under a bright blue sky. Driving into Arizona, a small thunderstorm gathered and poured down some rain, making the colorful look of this state even more intense. Everything as ordered and a great ride.
A tip: if you ever decide to go on a roadtrip through the US, get an AAA membership card. It’s easy to find food and lodging here at a fair price and it gets even cheaper if you have one of those. Sofar, the inns I slept in all offered the same cookie-cutter room layout with similar services. The slightly more expensive inns tend to have a few more TV channels and some tiny extra luxuries in the rooms, but apart from that you get far more room for your money than you’ll get in the average European inn. Also, the basic rates are a lot lower here. you can get a more than decent room starting as low as $25 plus taxes. About those taxes, 14% is not too bad, but remember that prices advertised usually don’t include them and if you pick a slightly more luxurious place to stay, it really weighs in.
Note: I’ll put up some pictures soon, I’m just getting started 😉