I did something I never thought I would, I rented a car and drove myself from Houston Airport. It was nice to sit in a car that didn’t have a funky smell. I miss New York…
The challenge was to drive on the wrong side of the road. Americans drive on the right side but South Africans drive on the correct side. I got myself a nice big car ya’ll, so I would be safe in case someone finds themselves on the left side of the road with me approaching. It’s all about self-preservation. It was dark and it was raining so things got really interesting. It was better once I turned on the headlights. The hooting stopped as well. The GPS lady was slightly annoying, insisting that I’m exceeding the speed limit. I don’t know what her problem was, I never even got to a 100. Oh wait, you guys use miles right? Shit.
I didn’t see much of the city as I had to travel to Bernham which is basically 70 miles to nowhere. There I had me my first Applebee’s experience and it was suprisingly good. Did you know that Wallmart is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week? What for? Do people wake up in the middle of the night with a craving for bread, dishwashing liquid and jewellery shopping? Americans are weird, but in a nice way.
After my meeting I rushed back, only to sit and wait before boarding a plane to Grand Rapids. Hey, guess what, I’m back in the Midwest. A very friendly, American cab driver recommended a place to grab a bite. Two things should pop with that sentence. One, being that it was an American cab driver, and two that it was an American cab driver. I stated my surprise on which he replied dryly, “It’s because I’m under-employed.” I’ve heard of employed and unemployed but never under-employed. Do you just invent words as you go along? I went to Founders, which is a spacious, buzzing tavern serving their own brewed beer. Here I was exposed to more American culture. I learned four things:
- The sun never sets in Grand Rapids, well technically it does, but only after nine, and that is way behind schedule.
- Grand Rapids consider themselves to be the unofficial small-brewery-beer drinking capital of the world, but they’re not pretentious about it.
- A lot of the men around here, half my age, have long, bushy, somewhat unkempt beards. It looked like I was attending a casting call for extras on Game of Thrones. (Yes, I’m jealous.)
- A Sudanese cabdriver that ends up in the middle of the Midwest doesn’t know his arse from his face.
Tony the friendly, American cab driver, drove me from hotel to meeting to meeting to airport and we discussed all the important stuff in life. His history as a boxer, his struggle with depression, his love of chocolate, his obesity, his awful, vindictive, conniving ex-wife, his out-of-control 15 year old daughter (who’s juts like her mom) and the time he assaulted a New Yorker for not getting out of his way…Needless to say, I didn’t talk much…
Now Buffalo, New York. (Connecting through Chicago.)
And guess what, it’s cold again. I feel sorry for my body’s temperature control. It probably doesn’t know what the hell is happening. It’s like I’m living in a giant loft with a broken thermostat.
I’m wondering if there is something written on my face that invite people to share their shit with me. I got hit on by a recovering addict on the flight to Chicago. I know she’s an addict because she told me so. She just came out of rehab. With her loud voice she was actually telling everyone on the plane. Then she blurted out that she was really happy to have some eye-candy next to her on the flight. I blushed profusely and couldn’t get my headphones on quick enough. Women can be so shallow sometimes.
With her total lack of inhibition sober, one can only imagine what she must be like when she’s high. Oh, by the way, she is from Philadelphia, 37 years old, mother of three and had a really hard life with wrong choices. She normally drives everywhere, has only flown twice and she loves to smoke weed, like all the time. Her brother can’t even go to work without having a joint. She herself can go to work without smoking some marijuana, but only if she has too. She must be such an inspiration for her children.
The sad reality was that she completely ignored the absolute desperation on my face as I wanted to jump off the plane to get away. Eye-candy or not. Americans are weird.
Had me some Buffalo wings in Buffalo and opted for the barbeque sauce. I chickened out on the hot variety but know this, at my age anything remotely spicy turns violent in the morning. Got up at the crack of dawn to see the Niagara falls which is a little waterfall close by. I could see Canada from where I was standing and have to say they have the better view. It remains a spectacular sight but it was extremely cold. Blocks of ice were still hanging around like stand-by passengers at a terminal. My fingers turned a rosy shade of pink, so I left before frostbite could set in.
I reached my final connection, Atlanta. I was tired of being harrasssed which implied me having headphones on before boarding the plane. I only removed it at the hotel. I was taken to downtown by the slowest cab driver in history. Maybe I should quit complaining and focus on the fact that I’m arriving safely. I need to give a shout out to Jeremy and Kate for being awesome human beings.
What does Atlanta have to offer besides museums and trees and Delta airways? I don’t know and I don’t care. I just want to get home. Goodbye America and thank you for the memories. Until we meet again.