Country Number 26

Posted: Jun 4, 2005 12:31:45 PM


Hello everyone! Yes, I'm off on another trip, to a new continent. The United States of America is country number 26. I'm flying out tomorrow, and I'll be around the San Francisco area for the next ten weeks, seeing the sights, lounging around, and of course writing the occasional report. In contrast to my last long trip (the archived reports are here) I'm not going to be travelling intensively, but instead sitting back and trying to find out something about the real America.

Golden Gate Bridge

Ah yes, America. Everyone has an opinion about the United States, about its politics, its society, its media, and I suppose that's because the States is a huge influence on the rest of the world. We can't avoid it. America is the new Roman Empire, and all roads lead there. Or away from there, if you prefer. America is amazingly large, and amazingly influential, and these facts mean that it is also a large target for criticism. One of the most common criticisms I've heard about America is that it does not look to the outside world, for approval, disapproval, or commentary. That the average American is profoundly ignorant of the rest of the world, and that their perception of the rest of the world is tainted by this ignorance.

It's an interesting criticism, but it occurs to me that most of the people I've heard this from haven't actually been to America. The sheer presumption in this observation is, therefore, fantastic. How can you criticize a nation for being oblivious and prejudging the outside world, without yourself having seen that nation?

Well, I'm heading to America. I'm not aiming to criticize - because every American I've met has delighted me with their bluff honesty and genuine attitude - but I do want to see what all the fuss is about. I want to see America from the inside. I'm going to Rome. My disjointed and undoubtedly biased observations will be recorded here so you can laugh at them, agree with them, disagree with them, or ignore them. If you want you can just skip the words and go straight to the photos - this time I have the capability to upload pictures while I'm travelling, and I plan to.

James T. Farrell once said "America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true." But then, he also said "There's one good kind of writer - a dead one", so don't pay too much attention to him.


Comments:

siobhan   Jun 4, 2005 5:42:06 PM

Woot! That is all.

Mo Jo   Jun 5, 2005 1:21:23 PM

And so it begins... again

Oh Damon! What do I do in case of fire?!

Frazer   Jun 5, 2005 2:11:18 PM

Ah yes the Good old Us of A aye... What is the first meal you should have wile your them hmmm, let me think. oh i know IN-N-OUT BURGER! I can only hope that its a good tip. Yo Peace. & Give Wack-o Jack-0 a high 5 for me if u see him.

Mo Jo   Jun 6, 2005 1:06:42 PM

Hey Damon. Feel free to inform us of your arrival in the States - safe and sound - hmmm? Or if Siobhan could do this for him?

Cher bro.

Damon   Jun 6, 2005 7:11:29 PM

Ha! Hi guys, sorry, we sent a txt to Gareth but I suppose it didn't go through. I'm here! Made it. Customs was suspicious, but :)

MumE   Jun 6, 2005 8:37:24 PM

Thanks for sending a txt No we didn't get it. Glad you got there safely. Miss U already. Hi Siobhan! Look after my darling for me?
It's minus 1 degree here this morning wish I was there.
OK I'm off to work now speak to you later.

PS did you see any birds?

Frazer   Jun 6, 2005 10:35:07 PM

in-n-out HAVE IT!

515k4   Jun 6, 2005 10:50:14 PM

hey Damon :) hope your having a mighty fine time living the high life in the old US.

Well not "high" but ... uh what was that about customs again?

(hmm "life in the old us" sounds like I have a name for my band ...the one Im going to start when I learn how to play something.)

(whoops thats right MB's do something odd to my thought processes)

Mo Jo   Jun 7, 2005 8:18:56 AM

Yee haa.

I suppose customs was suspicious of the "Signs" pamphlet Gareth put in your bag. May be they thought you were as missionary come to convert the heathen masses.

frazer   Jun 7, 2005 9:46:17 AM

or you could convert to in-n-out, yummy

Mo Jo   Jun 7, 2005 12:44:26 PM

Dude! Enough with the in-n-out already!

fangler   Jun 7, 2005 11:35:06 PM

welcome to the states, dude! and i know you plan on relaxing in the bay area, but if for some odd reason you end up cruising south to LA give me a shout.

MumE   Jun 8, 2005 8:33:43 PM

Yo Damon, me again, wotsup?
R U 2 busy to send an e-mail or report?
Weather here's a coooool 1 degree this am howzit there?
What are u eating in-n-out?
K gotta go to work some people have to u know!
Take care, Love you, Mum

Terry Pratchett thief   Jun 8, 2005 11:06:32 PM

hey damon, glad to hear that you made it through customs ok.
Can you bring some of that heat back, please? If you get too suntanned will they let you use your passport, considering you wont look the same?

I am going steal another book soon, I'm getting bored again
Have fun in the sun.
TPT

siobhan   Jun 10, 2005 1:57:03 AM

Hi all! Damon is here and fine, I'm taking good care of him via letting him get sunburned. But that's his fault. Seriously though he's fine and will have regular internet access starting tonight so I'll bug him to send you all an email. Hi to all Ellises!

Damon   Jun 10, 2005 6:08:49 AM

Hi everyone! Yes, I'm here, and finally with some kind of internet access. Hopefully I'll have a new report written soon, but until then, keeping well, catchya later!

(hiya Fangler! I am indeed not planning to go to LA this trip, but thank you for the invite! If by some chance I end up there I'll send you an e-mail)

Mo Jo   Jun 11, 2005 12:29:42 PM

Right back at ya Siobhan.

So Damon's a nice shade of pink? Nice. Send us a pic if you get the chance. :)

Fraz   Jun 12, 2005 4:22:46 AM

good call, i wanna see what the California surf bumb looks like

Damon   Jun 12, 2005 5:49:15 PM

Ha! Radical, dude. I'll have a new (longish) report written up tomorrow.

Frazer   Jun 13, 2005 2:21:37 PM

The wait is killing me


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