Sunday, 7 October 2012

One Week In

9th October 2012
Well, it is just over one week since landing in the USA - New York.
I have visited two prisons and driven about 1200 miles (or nearly 2000 km's) 
Once you get used to driving on the road - it is OK. Siobhan (my GPS has a lovely Irish accent and has been named Siobhan) regularly reminds me to drive on the right side of the road. The most frustrating things that always produce a wry smile are: seeing my windscreen wipers go on when I go to make a turn, getting into the passenger side of the car and reaching for the seat belt over the left shoulder. All talk or thought of super cheap fuel should also be forgotten. It costs about $42.00 (US)  to fill the corolla I am driving; I think that is about the same that we pay in OZ (someone who drives a corolla will no doubt correct me) .. so if it is cheaper than OZ - it is not that much cheaper. (I can't work out the whole gallons thing; I find it quite odd the US still use imperial measures for liquid, weight and distance) 

A comment on Homelessness in the USA - well it is obviously there. It was very obvious in New York, particularly after hours and in the early hours of the morning  In more the smaller country town areas of Virginia that I saw,you only had to detour a few streets back from the main roads to witness many dilapidated houses in some neighbourhoods (I have heard about this phenomenon but it is quite challenging to see it first hand and such a contrast New York. There is obviously  a  food stamp system as many stores I visited had notices that indicated whether food stamps were or were not accepted. 
A Squat 
Another unusual thing is the treatment of rubbish - particularly in New York, but also seen else- where.. it is put on the streets (only side ones - I think) and left in plastic bags. I assume there is a rubbish collection service but it just seemed odd and not very OH&S savvy (picking up bags etc. ) - just another social comment :)
Rubbish in bags

Diet wise - things are going fairly well I think.
Asian food has become my best friend and savour - the universal stirred fried vegetable (with or without meat or fish) has provided a great source of fresh vegetable (particularly green) and is a light alternative to the pizza that I succumbed to at Dewey Beach, MD. 

Yum Yum  One - number one diet food (maybe the salt is an issue?) 

Yum Yum Two - this has to be good for you? (OK - may be not the spring roll) 

USPizza is worth a comment: if you like margarita then you will do OK (tomato and cheese +++ (what is it with the USA and cheese!) .... but.... I needed to add some olive, mushroom and "pepperoni"; at $2.50 extra for each topping, I had a very average $20.00 small pizza) 

There are olives, peperoni and mushrooms under the cheese! (I had yoghurt for breakfast -right!)

Dunkin' Donuts (USA spelling) keeps calling me; "Phill, Phill, Phill!" I will have to fit them into my breakfast routine. (Isn't there a theory that any "carbs" had before lunch don't count?

and finally, finally, (on food that is )  I saw a policeman getting a coffee and donuts (plural)at the 7-11 in Gettysburg (needless to say he was a big man) ....

And yes - I am now in Gettysburg.

On the way to Gettysburg I detoured through Lancaster - Pennsylvania which is Amish Country:
It is very pretty country - very organised, today and somewhat patchwork.

Just a eye catching bridge 

There are many farm houses like this - I assume the tower is a grain store and NOT a missile launch site!

The horse and cart thing is more a tourist thing, now.

Halloween is coming!

Tomorrow I make my way to Somerset PA, to be ready to visit the Laurel Highlands Prison. The driving has been great for thinking over the whole older prisoner issue. There are SO many questions to answer - but there is one certainty to all of this - everyone here recognises the issue. When I have been asked by people in stores what I am doing in the USA and I tell them; the responses have mostly been with understanding of the issue; a general understanding that there is an issue. A very different response to what I have occurred in Oz.

But before leaving I will take some time to take in the history that surrounds me here: a borough in the county seat of Adams County, Pennsylvania, United States, and the area for the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg and President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Why was the battle of Gettysburg important? 
  • It was one of the most influential battles that led to the result of the civil war.
  • It is considered as one of the most bloodied battles in the history of the United States.
  •  It is important since it became one of the turning points in the civil war for the United States. 
  • The Union was able to defeat the Confederate group and because of this the Union was able to gain control of the political clout of the confederates. 
  • The Union was also able to lead the army of General Lee.
  • The victors in the Battle of Gettysburg got the power to rule all of the United States.
  • It is significant because as President Abraham Lincoln has said that battle changed the meaning of why wars should be undertaken. He explained this statement in his Gettysburg Address. He made this speech at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
  • In so many ways it defines the UNITED States 

Lincolns Adress:

1 comment:

  1. Greetings Phill from the wide brown land. The reason the Yanks haven't embraced the Metric System can be explained in true capitalist terms...The Cost! Very interesting Blog. Cheers, Peter from Peter(Greens)Borough.