Well after finally pretending to be travelling for the last 9 months, the past week I have partaked in some serious road travel, embarking on a beautiful 55-hour bus journey from Kentucky to California via the legendary Greyhound.
Before making the trip though I had to spend a tedious couple of days preparing for the next leg of my travels, which amongst other things included 5 hours spent in various supermarkets around my old home of Louisville. Now I know supermarkets throughout the world are basically the same but a couple of things did intrigue me. First off, the rubber gloves were placed next to the condoms (I only know this as the toothpaste was the other side of the condoms, which I was after). Secondly there were no travel sizes of washing powder, but there were travel sizes of adult diapers and KY Jelly. I'm not quite sure how that works!!
Also in preparation, I decided to have my hair cut ridiculously short as well and while in the chair, the guy next in the queue proudly exclaimed that he had become a father yesterday. He then ruined the whole moment by adding that it was a 5 month old girl. I thought this was a little on the trashy side, but from the response of the hairdresser it was as if every other conversation was exactly the same as this!! Before leaving, I also sneaked in one more trip to the races, and had my most successful time yet, walking away with $175 winnings. It's probably a good job I’m leaving as I could see myself becoming quite the gambler!
The actual journey on the Greyhound Bus went remarkably fast considering the length of time, and apart from the first few hours when we were stuck in a traffic jam for 2 hours, I can safely say that choosing to travel by bus instead of air, and therefore save $70 was one of my better decisions in life. Trying to save even more money by eating nothing but a diet of peanut butter sandwiches for 2 days certainly wasn't though!
From what I heard before about travelling on the Greyhound, I was expecting this trip to be a near death experience, surrounded on all sides by toothless crazed freaks and recently escaped prison convicts. It was nowhere near as bad as this, though I did come across a few interesting characters along the way, all of which seemed to have brown, rotting, terrible teeth, which is strange considering it's the English that have such a bad teeth reputation and not the Americans!!
Such characters included a young man wearing a mini skirt dress and no make-up, a guy sitting opposite me who was happily deep-throating a mentally challenged lady and for part of the journey I also had the pleasure of sitting next to a young guy, who I assume thought he was one of the biggest gangsters on the east coast! Unfortunately there wasn't that much conversation between us, as I had problems understanding his gangster talk, and he had problems understanding my English accent, but of the little conversation that we had highlights included questions such as 'Where is Kentucky?' (This guy was American!), 'Is a Pound the same as a Dollar', and 'Why do you English guys say bloody all the time?' In response to this last question I explained that the use of the word bloody in this sense was a cuss word very similar to the word 'f***ing. I could see from his expression that he didn't quite understand me fully, and that he now thought the English used the word 'bloody' in the sense of having sex. At this point I was far too tired to put the guy straight, and he left the bus a little while later obviously thinking that the English were a very strange breed indeed!
Other than this there were only a couple of incidences worth noting. One was waking up with a bad case of morning glory and strange glances from a Mexican family sitting opposite me, and the other was in the city of Albuquerque, where we all had our bags searched by police and they came across my brand spanking new Swiss army knife. I was made to feel like a right criminal and had to leave the bus to hand in my knife to security and pay the $5 charge to have it posted to my destination. To make matters worse, while waiting to have my knife posted, I was asked by a man in front of me if I was a war veteran. I mean, don't you have to be quite old to be one of those, or am I dreaming?
I must say that the best part of the trip was getting to see a bit more of America and it is a truly amazing country, with breathtaking scenery to match. The journey took us through a variety of landscapes from the lush cornfields of Indiana, to the baron, empty ruggedness of New Mexico and Arizona, with the stereotypical cacti that this part of the country is reknown for. We past through Tornado Alley, Route 66 and the city of Amarillo, although I think if I had uttered the words 'I’m on my way to Amarillo' even once then I would be a single man again!! While passing through Texas, liking my freebies, I was very tempted at treating myself to a free 72oz steak that one restaurant offered. On closer inspection I realised that it was only free if you managed to eat all of it, plus a large baked potato, a large house salad and a desert all in the space of an hour. As I wanted to live for a little while longer without having any heart attacks I decided against taking on the challenge, especially as it would have cost $56 if I hadn't of managed to finish it, which was a virtual certainty!
New Mexico was an interesting place, as it was more like a Mexican or Middle Eastern city than an American one, as many of the buildings are characterized my flat roofs and pastel colours. Passing through the town of Gallup before leaving New Mexico, I noticed it was proudly stating to be the 'Heart of Indian Country'. I felt a little sad at this, as this town seemed built in a virtually desert environment and from the looks of it, it seems the first inhabitants of this country have now been pushed to the outskirts, on land barely possible to survive off.
So after 55 hours of constant travelling, peanut butter sandwich eating and no showering I am now in California, which is totally different to anywhere else in America I have been, and a place I could happily live in. The streets are lined with palm trees, and where I am currently staying with my girlfriends family, the mountains are only a 100 metre walk away, although I am not going to venture too far into the mountains as a couple of weeks ago a runner got attacked just up the road by a mountain lion!!
Well that’s about all. As per usual I was unable to watch the part of England's win over Ecuador as the TV station decided to show the religious program 'Mass in the Air' instead. After being likened to the legendary Sean Connery a few weeks I have also been told that my 'angelic' voice sounds just like that of John Lennon. Personally I am not convinced, no mater how many times I sing 'Let It Be' at karaoke!!
It’s been beautiful 100 (38c) degree temperatures here since arriving but I am now leaving to Las Vegas for a few days, which is supposedly even hotter!! I don’t think I will be gambling too much though while I’m there!!