Dodging Raccoons

Illinois is the state that feels the most like Europe sofar. People have told me that California is a lot like Europe in many ways, demographically and politically. But it feels definitely foreign, especially since the Netherlands are closer to Scandinavia than Spain. Illinois reminds me of Germany and France in places and is flat like theĀ  Netherlands itself in many others. It’s green, cities have compact city centers with concentrated shops and even the names on the streets have a clear root in Western Europe.

Before driving south, I checked out St. Louis’ Zoo, which is free, though free is a relative term if you need to park your car somewhere in the middle of a city center. It’s not bad as zoo’s go, but all in all zoo’s depress me. Having apes sit at a window, looking back into their pen tells you something about their state of mind. From there, they don’t have to look at all the humans gaping at them and they can survey their empty living area, pretending the zoo is not there. Seeing the bears, elephants and rhino’s hide in remote corners of their living area’s pretty much sends the same message. Only small creatures seem unfazed by all the human attention. Zoo’s are a necessary evil if you ask me, to raise awareness, but I don’t think anyone could seriously argue these animals are in the right place for them.

Illinois offers plenty of wildlife in the … wild too. I actually had to swerve dangerously twice in order not to kill a raccoon. Judging by the roadside however, I’m pretty much alone in that effort. On a 100-mile trip I have seen at least 5 recently killed raccoons. Then again, perhaps the automotive public needs to help evolution along and kill off all the poor raccoons that think it’s a good idea to sit in the middle of the road. Onwards to Memphis at any rate. And I promise to get some nice pictures online soon.

McCain and all that jazz

Before you read on, you need to realize that what you’re reading was written by someone who closely fits the profile of the anti-christ. All I need to do is go into politics and pretend to be a Christian and I’m there, 100%. Or so I am informed by preachers on local radio, driving from Kansas and Missouri to Illinois. All political views held by my personal party of preference in the Netherlands (D66) are immediately identified with the Prince of Darkness by these extreme right Republicans. Continue reading McCain and all that jazz

Fast forward

The best part of traveling – perhaps even the reason for doing so – is seeing new things and if you’re on a roadtrip, one of the things to see is landscapes. Most of California strongly reminded me of parts of Spain and Portugal. Driving in Colorado, northeastwards to Denver is a lot like driving around Austria. In fact, in both cases I would prefer their European counterparts for their look, though the American landscapes tend to be a bit more spacious and empty, which has its own charm. Continue reading Fast forward

History in the making

It wasn’t easy, getting there in time, but I managed to squeeze through traffic fast enough to be at Denver’s Invesco Field at the Mile High Stadium to see Barack Obama accept his nomination as presidential candidate for the Democrats. It was electric. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world and neither would 84,000 other people apparently, since the entire stadium was sold out. Continue reading History in the making

Like driving on the Moon and Mars

Considering the trouble I had getting through the gutbuster of a breakfast that is Denny’s Lumberjack Slam, I was amazed at seeing some old geezers at the next table do the same. Obviously, they had a wasteline to match, quite unlike mine. But still, making your way through a stack of pancakes, a pile of hashbrowns, a couple of poached eggs, a honeyed and grilled slab of ham, some strips of bacon and a bunch of linked sausages isn’t something you should be doing every morning, in my opinion. Continue reading Like driving on the Moon and Mars

Rolling down Route 66

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. Continue reading Rolling down Route 66

Shopping craze

San Diego seems to have it all. It’s close to the beaches and its position on the coast keeps it relatively cool. The shopping in the downtown area beats many European cities with the main difference being that shops are larger on average, but manage to offer a far broader selection as a result. The downside ofcourse, is that even in a concentrated shopping area like downtown San Diego, you still really want a car to get around to get things done. It’s not as bad as LA, that could never exist without cars as a primary need for everyone, but it’s still noticeable. Continue reading Shopping craze

California Living

In Britain, a ‘continental breakfast’ makes sense, when compared to a ‘real’ breakfast as it is served in a proper British restaurant: eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and all the fat and sugar your stomach can take on an early day. A continental breakfast only amounts to some juice, cereal, toast, maybe an egg and some coffee and tea there. Over here, in these inns, a ‘continental breakfast’ turns out to be coffee and donuts. Don’t get me wrong, I like coffee and donuts and I was in the mood for them, but to call it breakfast? Not really. Still I prefer it to ‘breakfast burrito’s’ or ‘egg mcmuffins’ which is what the street has to offers. The sight of people working their way into a nice hamburger at 9:30am is enough to take your appetite away until lunch at least. Continue reading California Living

Online in the USA

Sorry for taking this long to get online folks. But I’m on the ground in the US and moving eastwards, so read on.

The best laid plans and airports… what can I say? After the recent tragedy in Spain, the last thing you want to hear before take-off is that technicians are looking into an engine problem that is preventing take-off. Which is exactly what happenend on Heathrow and which delayed my flight by well over two hours. Apparently they fixed it properly though, since we made it to LAX without a hitch and five hours later I was standing on the pavement of the LA airport.

Continue reading Online in the USA

What is up with widescreens?

I’m in the market for a new laptop and have been trying to find something that fits my preferences. It turns out that finding something that really does is going to be very hard because of a single reason: nearly all laptops currently being produced have a widescreen display. What is up with these widescreens? Continue reading What is up with widescreens?