I hope everyone is well. The last week has been a highly intriguing one, and has led to a couple of new experiences of the American culture.
With the World Cup only hours away, I am amazed at how little enthusiasm and passion America has so far shown for this event. Normally living in England I would expect every news and sports show to at least mention the World Cup, newspapers to have both their front and back papers dedicated to it, and many houses and cars flying the English flag. Although many American houses and cars are indeed flying the Stars and Stripes, this has nothing to do with the World Cup, but instead down to national pride and patriotism. From living in America sometimes I think it's a shame that flying the English flag is seen as an act of racism at any times other than when the World Cup is playing.
Even though every World Cup game is being played 'live' on American TV, the only advert I have seen attracting peoples attention has been a 1 minute collage of clips showing how the American soccer team is portrayed on the world scene. This includes the negative reaction, taunts, boo's and nasty 'go home Yanks' banners that greet the team on their travels. Basically all that Americans are getting on the World Cup before it actually starts is how much the world hates America! Personally I think this portrayal of one of the world’s greatest sporting events, alongside the Olympics is a farce and a disgrace. Surely it would be much better to show the World Cup for what it really is, or as one of the camera men decided to do during the last World Cup final, just focus on the attractive Brazilian women in the crowd instead of the actual game!!
So instead of seeing the build up to the World Cup and learning of up to date team news, I have been forced (actually I lie, as I admit I have found them strangely addictive) to watch numerous hours of Women’s Softball, Lacrosse and the national Spelling Bee Contest, which I’m not quite sure how this classifies as a sport, but it does!!
Earlier I mentioned that the main sports channel is showing every game of the World Cup 'live.' Unfortunately in the state of Kentucky (I don’t know for the rest of America!) when they say live, this means that it is taped live and in fact shown an hour later to fit in with the normal TV schedule. So the first England game is being shown an hour later, so that they can keep the Good Morning Kentuckiana breakfast show in place. It is interesting as in England, the whole TV scheduling is placed around the World Cup, where it seems in America, the World Cup is placed around the normal TV scheduling!! Luckily I have found a Spanish language channel showing the games at the original times, so I won't miss out too much, other than the commentary!!
Also this week I partaked in my first ever Putt-Putt competition, mixing shoulders with the best local Putt-Putt professionals. Credit where credit's due, these people are unbelievable. I have never seen so many holes in ones and unbelievable shots in all my life. These are the John Virgo's of the Putt-Putt world. I have a feeling though they must spend an unhealthy amount of time and obsession playing the sport!
Professional Putt-Putt definitely attracts an interesting blend of people, the type of person who you would always see getting bullied for their dinner money at school, and who you thought would have no chance of making it through life and in this world. One trip down to your nearest Putt-Putt course and you will indeed realise that these mentally and socially scared school recluses and misfits are alive and kicking, resurrected amongst understanding and compassionate compatriots, forming their own circle of friends amongst people who understand and accept their issues and differences. Although these aren't the sort of people I would normally find myself surrounded by, it was refreshing to see people accepting each other based on their love of something, rather than what they looked, walked or spoke like. Society can definitely learn a lot by taking a trip to their local Putt-Putt course!!!
Taking all of this in, I still managed to card a 3 under par total for 54 holes (where 2 shots was par) and win 3 free games of Putt-Putt for the 2nd best score for a newcomer. After so much Putt-Putt in the last 2 weeks though, I don’t think I want to see another course again for a long, long time. This is a professional sport I’m not prepared to take up full time!!
Other than this it's been a pretty non-eventful week. I finally decided it was time to make arrangements for Peru, which have now been completed. Being the idiot I am I didn’t realise that to do the Inca trail in the main tourist season you have to book a year in advance, but this has worked in my favour! For the sum of $374 we have arranged 5 days worth of activities, including trips to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machupicchu. We were quoted prices as low as $240 for the same things, but when you get someone asking for your credit card number and not your names then alarm bells start ringing!!
I have a friend over visiting now as well, so this weekend we are going down to Nashville and Memphis to take in some of the famous musical history that America is renown for, including of course Sun Studios, Graceland, and the grave of Elvis Pressley. Seeing that the topic of graves came up, I thought it would be rude not taking in the grave site of someone who has changed the world, some would say for the better, but I am not quite so sure. Buried only a few miles from where I am currently living is the legendary Harland 'Colonel' Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). I bet he never thought that he would indirectly help create one of the world’s current biggest killers and worst types of malnutrition, obesity!!
Well that’s all for now. I am off to watch the World Cup in Spanish! At least this should help slightly before going down to South America!!!
'Say goodnight JV'