Posts Tagged 'Photos'

End of part three

With the west coast at my back, I find myself facing the long haul back towards the sunrise and the east coast – and home.

The west coast has been a hugely interesting experience, very different to the south, which in turn was very different from the Appalachia/south-east region. I covered most of the elements that I found new in the California post, but Portland and Seattle have their own (slightly damper, colder) personalities too. As I said, there’s this sort of assurance to the north-west. The youthful, freewheeling personality of California turns into a somewhat more reserved and adult – but still essentially liberal – area that is supremely self-confident and a touch elitist. Not that I think that’s necessarily a bad thing at all. The northwest reminds me of Britain, in fact, more than anywhere else I’ve been and it’s not just the weather. I like it here. Santa Barbara and Seattle are both places I could imagine spending a stint of time in, maybe a couple of years, in a couple of years. Who knows? The future is an interesting place.

Tangent: By the way, the Seattle Art Museum is pretty great, and free on thursdays. It has some mesmerizing glasswork, a couple of fantastic pieces by Nick Cave (the artist, not the singer, though they share a similar mental aesthetic), and a brilliantly-done main exhibit, currently about destruction in art. Really good. No photography allowed, however.

The last day of PAX was short but sweet, the outstanding moment for me being the three-times ascent onto the big stage to play Beatles Rock Band, for which I joined forces with job from waaaay back in West Virginia (so long ago!), the sadly illiterate devlEric (<3), whom I will see again in Minneapolis, and Arminas, who I will be visiting in Chicago. The songs were Can't Buy Me Love, HelloGoodbye, and I Feel Fine. Ominously, Snappy was on scene to diligently record all these endeavours, and I will fortunately/unfortunately have videos to post later. I'll edit them into this post and link back to them when they are in my hot-handed possession.

As it happens, I have kind of said most of what I had on my mind during this leg of the trip, so instead of repeating myself, I will turn my attention forward. Irritatingly, I missed the bus this morning because it was unexpectedly full and I had no way of getting a ticket earlier – despite efforts to – due to various debilitating policies operated by the company. So, I am an extra day in Washington, and a day cut short in Yellowstone. No matter; I shall survive.

The area I'm headed to/through is commonly collectively called the Flyover States. It's apparently a whole lotta nothin'. I'm hoping that the batteries on my various electronic amusements remain in the green for a long time though, as this Yayhound trip is a stonking twenty-seven hours in length. Fun times. I’m hoping however that, once off the bus and the dreary tameness of the main roads, I will stand a chance to catch some of the more majestic scenery that I associate with – at least in my head – the evergreen north of America.

Plus I am dead chuffed to be able to wear warm clothes again.

Enough prattle. Here’s the third album, with a few as-yet-unposted highlights:

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To the east!

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Have camera, will travel

Another bumper photo update for you guys, here covering San Francisco.

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The difficult second album

Update: Here’s the album.

Okaaaaay. Thanks for bearing with us, folks. We here at the blog really appreciate you sticking through us in the difficult past week with its utter lack of USB connectivity (seriously, sorry for not uploading sooner but I’ve literally not had a chance). As a reward for your continued interest, we’d like to finally share with you some of the best pictures from Part Two of the show.

Colorado:
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The Grand Canyon:
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Las Vegas:
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I’ll throw up the album when I have time, so hopefully in the next few days or so. I’ll link it when it’s done.

Part Two is over.

End of part one

So, it’s two in the morning and I’m sitting in my underwear in a flat in Baton Rouge.

Look, it’s really hot, okay?

Anyways, just before I set out, I took another look at my route (check out the mileage!), and decided that there were some fairly clear demarcations to be observed. Five, in fact. This is the end of the first.

Time for some reflection.

Thus far, America has been close to my expectations in many ways. Ideas I had about its scenery, demeanor, passions and fears have shown themselves to be much similar to what I’ve seen. But there has been a capacity to surprise as well. The underlying sense I get, irrespective of who I talk to or what views they may hold, is actually one of constant, low-level crisis. Everything seems to be a bit of a battleground here, some more serious than others. But whether it’s sports teams or states rights, it’s a zero-sum world. All or nothing. My side, your side. And God help you if you switch sides, because everything is always about to go catastrophically wrong, and so much is at stake.

In a way, I love it. I love that people over here have ideas and causes and commitments. The currency of enthusiasm has seemed long devalued back home, and whilst that might arguably lead to a more level-headed approach to things, there’s a sense that politics and beliefs and aims are something that happens to other people, which is why we get neo-nazi white supremacists elected to the European Parliament. The Britain I know is not one where one in ten people want to sink immigrant boats with the immigrants still in them, but when turnout is at 33% due to apathy, the zealots are going to get a bigger slice. At least that’s not a problem here.

Anyway, enough of politics. It extends beyond that. Almost every American I’ve talked to has some kind of passion or raison d’etre in their life, and that’s tremendously… well, gratifying. Maybe I’ve talked to a really unrepresentative sample in the UK, or here, but back home so many people just don’t seem to care. The contrast is noticeable.

Elsewhere, there’s been a much bigger emphasis on food than I had expected. Perhaps I should have seen that coming (it’s a joke!), but the tradition of the diner is something interesting to me. I will gladly confess that up until about 2000, England had really bad food. We’re better now, honest. But because we never really established a culinary tradition outside of the greasy back-ends of chip butties and Very Questionable Pies, we didn’t develop the idea of ‘quality’ everyday food. America did. I’ve eaten at a tonne of diners now, and whilst there is a certain (if often only slight) processed, mass-produced feel to even the most gourmet fare, it’s undeniably tasty stuff, and you sure get a lot of it. In the Mariatta Diner, Atlanta, $13 bought me a chicken and spaghetti dish where the ethos apparently involved taking a whole chicken and pounding it flat, then frying it. Twice. It was so much that I had to take half of it home in a polystyrene box, which I have learnt is a common thing over here, and did I mention it came with a complimentary bowl of soup and a weird little feta-cheese-puff-pasty-parcel-with-spinach-I’m-not-quite-sure-what-it-was?

A lot of bang for your collective buck, that’s for sure. And of course, in the south they take things like this seriously. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Twenty-pound steaks on fire off a 2000C grill. I watched french fries sizzle in the pan near a bucketful of liquid cheese. All those calories will be lost in time, like fat in oil. Time to eat.

You better have got that reference.

Anyway, what else… people are friendly. I heard folks say down here that people in, say, Philadelphia, are jerks. And it’s true I’m sadly missing New England and I won’t get to sample the legendary philanthropic delights of Boston etc., but I gotta say I think we’re operating on a different standard. People are much more ready to talk here. I mean, unlike in England, you can make an observation without fear that you’re going to be glared at, run away from and or punched. It means I’ve talked to a bunch of strangers whilst travelling, and gleaned a whole heap of interesting anecdotes, information and other titbits that I only wish I had the time to transcribe in full. For each story I’ve told you, I’ve missed a dozen others. Someday we shall sit around the campfire and talk as men.

However, I’ve gone on far too long now. 45 minutes have passed since I started the post, and I promised you all some media. So, I hope you, uh, enjoy these little moments I’ve tried to capture and not had a chance to show you before. Here’s the link to the hi-res album, where you can find more.

The first leg of my trip is over.

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Camera Man

Here are some of my favourite photos so far:

Philadelphia back streets

By the roadside

Constitution Centre

Italian Market

Murals

Inside the City Hall

LOVE in JFK Memorial Park

The album is here.


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