Monday, April 4, 2016

'Murica, Round 1

America:  Land of the free.  Home of crazy Republicans.

I had not been to the USA in 3.5 years so I was a bit overdue for a visit.  There really isn’t all too much to report as my main activities were visiting friends and family and eating more food than you can possibly imagine.  There are no major highlights, but here’s a quick rundown of my time in the USA, just so you all don’t think that I just skipped a month of the blog.

Coral Springs, Florida – in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area – is my hometown and there is absolutely nothing to do there.  It’s a big, boring suburb.  I have two friends from high school who remained in the area and I caught up with them.  Aside from that, I did a bit of shopping, saw my mother, sister, and a few other family members, and spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning up my old room.  There was so much shit in there.  I saw a few friends’ mums and went to my favourite pizza place and my favourite ice cream place from when I was a kid (and the owners of Larry’s Ice Cream still remember me!)  The only new thing I did was pay a visit to the Green Cay Nature Center & Wetlands – a bit north of my hometown – with some family that wanted to go.  I saw a crocodile and some swamp birds.  Typical Florida.

I flew to Austin, Texas from Florida to visit a good mate of mine who moved there from Australia.  We did a few nice walks through some parks but most of the activities revolved around food, like going to Chuy’s – my favourite Tex-Mex restaurant.  There were also tacos for breakfast and burgers on doughnut buns.  Because America.  And Texas.

From Austin, we drove to Houston to visit my old university stomping grounds.  There was BBQ.  There was my favourite brunch spot.  And there were lots of visits with friends from my university who still live there.

Fort Worth:
From Houston, I travelled north to Fort Worth, Texas.  As flights were prohibitively expensive for no apparent reason, I had another first experience on my gap year: a Greyhound bus.  The bus ride itself wasn’t too terrible, but the Greyhound station in Houston was terrifying.  It was way dodgier than any of the bus stations I went to in Laos or Vietnam.  I got approached by a homeless man asking for money to help get him back to Louisiana.  I was eating breakfast at the time.  It made my yoghurt taste bad.  Our bus stopped halfway at a gas station/Dairy Queen combo in some quintessentially redneck town.  There were Christians with bibles awaiting our arrival in the gas station parking lot.  Oh, and I also got yelled at by the bitchy driver on my second Greyhound bus for boarding before she told me to board – though mostly everyone else had already boarded.  I guess I’d be a complete bitch too if I was a Greyhound driver.  And yes, I had to change buses in Dallas, like on an airplane.  Except it would have been the world’s shittiest airplane.  Like a box with wings.

In Fort Worth, I ate more Mexican food and more BBQ with my grandmother and a bunch of other family members. I was also reminded of why America can be so terrible at times:  Republicans.  It was local election season and there were signs everywhere and flyers touting politicians’ accomplishments on anti-gay measures, anti-abortion measures, and pro-gun measures.  These “courageous conservatives” were a solid reminder of why I moved to Australia.

I had had enough of the USA for a while and I was itching to get back on the road and scope out thirteen Latin American countries before returning to visit a few other parts of the US in July.  But first, let me take a selfie.

Me with Bobby and Cade at Hermann Park in Houston.

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