Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Off in the USA

This is the first post since October. I have been to see my sister and her family in Idaho in the North West USA.

Blanche, my eldest sister was a GI bride in 1946. Like a good many young women just after the second world war she made the 6000 mile journey by sea and by train to California to marry an American serviceman.

She has been there for 60 years and this, to my shame, was my first visit. I went with Nic, my partner and my son and daughter Tom and Erica.

Emmett and Horeshoe Bend are the two towns where the family live. Well out in the country with no buses or trains, so a motor vehicle is a must - everyone drives and no one walks.

Horseshoe Bend has 770 people living there and Boise the capital of Idaho has about 180,000 population. Boise is about an hours drive away from Emmett where we stayed.

We happened to be in the USA at the time of the mid-term elections, which saw the Democrats gain control of the Senate and the House of Representatives. In Idaho though all the main posts went to Republicans. However, the Mayor of Boise is a Democrat. TV political adverts are something to behold - incredibly negative. I hope we never get to that stage here!

What a country though - mountains and valleys to die for and everything from cars to meals much bigger than I have ever seen before.

I thought of Combe Down and the efforts made voluntarily by individuals to keep the village clean when I discovered that Families, groups, companies and institutions can 'adopt' a highway. Signs at the side of the road give the names of who has volunteered to pick up litter at that particular spot. They get about a mile of highway to clear about once every 3 months and it seems to work quite well.

In the land that invented chewing gum, there is very little gum litter on the streets. In some of the pedestrian areas, as a way of financing the paving, people can pay to have their names inscribed on small paving blocks.

Altogether a different culture, but up in the 'wilderness' there are hot springs (see picture) just coming out of the hillside, where people can bathe in all weathers, very much like our own waters.

Local news will get back to normal just as soon as I recover from 'jet lag'.


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