Travels in Amerika: Part II

Like me, you might have an erroneous impression of the American south as a semi-tropical savannah where the matrons stroll with mint juleps in a white-gloved hand while twirling a parasol in the other. The reality is frigid winds blowing at gale force through a city that reminds me more of Winnipeg, except most of it is owned by Ted Turner rather than Izzie Asper. I walked two blocks this evening for dinner and almost expired on the sidewalk from hypothermia. My ears might have frozen had I not been walking with my coat pulled up over my head.

As usual in America, I am most impressed (or unimpressed, rather) with the gap between rich and poor. It seems that when one dines out in America, one has a choice between upscale, trendy and expensive restaurants with (mandatory) valet parking, or KFC. There isn’t a lot in between, at least not anywhere easy to find when you don’t know your way around. Most of the employees of the expensive places are African-American, most of the guests white (though the growth in black wealth does appear to be growing slowly more evident). In the cheap places, employees are often Hispanic, the guests a broad assortment of races.

The two things you can always count on in US restaurants are televisions (tuned to either CNN or TSN) and a large quantity of food. In most restaurants, an average meal for one would feed an entire Canadian family. For three days. If you want a steak less than 14 ounces, you have to order the child’s plate. And forget about anything green on your plate, unless you count the parsley.

Alas! I need sleep. This rant will have to continue later. I shall now retire to my giant bed with the five pillows.

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