Sunday, April 30, 2006

A kiwi view of America...

I have mentioned Gareth Morgan a couple times here in his professional capacity of economist.

He is equally (more) famous in NZ as one of the shareholders in "Trademe"which was sold recently for some NZD170 million to Fairfax.

But the reason that I really like the guy is his ability to write about the adventures he has. The last was his journey from Turkey along the Old Silk Route to China.

By motorbike.

This time he is going from Miami to Rio Grande to Prudhoe Bay and back to California.

By secondary roads...

The whole adventure will be recorded on the net here.

His opening to the first entry...

“Backblocks America” is a roadtrip of discovery. From the Rio Grande to the Yukon, Bimini Island to Death Valley, we're on the continent of personal liberty, rugged individualism and frontiersman courage. Legend has it these are the values that made America. In these times of George W Bush, the Religious Right and the terrorist threat - how much of it remains?
They say you can cross the North American continent on metal roads still, you might have to open a few gates but it sure beats being locked up on the Inter-State. Our route meanders along as many of the secondary roads as possible cutting a north west diagonal from the outer reaches of the Bahamas where Columbus first saw land in 1492 and where one of Chinese Admiral Zeng He's fleets arguably sailed 70 years earlier than the Europeans.

And this caught my eye too...

What I like about America so far;

No motorcycle helmets, even on the open highway
No bicycle helmets
Proper Internet access - every motel has FREE, high speed wireless connection to the web (NZ government and Telecom take note).
Petrol at USD3 per gallon (that's just NZD1.28 per litre)
American friendliness

What I don't like

The electric wheelchairs of the fatties lined up outside the Waffle shops. They still manage to stagger in and full their faces with stodge.
The way all the menial jobs are filled by African Americans or Hispanics
US white bread - it is full of sugar
The ubiquity of flagpoles draped with Old Glory, giving the impression of a rabid nationalism as opposed to more-measured national pride

To be very clear.

If I knew that Gareth and his crew were going to be in my town I would be out bells and whistles to meet him.

He is not your ïvory tower intellectual.

He is a westie, a bogan, a petrol head and a bikie before he is anything else. He is as kiwi as the day.


Dave Justus said...

I don't know if it is different where he is writing from, but I can't think of the last time I saw a motorcyclist without a helmet on. It is against the law in almost every state (I think New Hampshire might be an exception.)

In many places, bicycle helmet are law too, and typically when you see a serious cyclist they are wearing them (kids in neighborhoods 50-50.)

The probligo said...

If true, Dave, then Gareth will learn... and fast I suspect.