In America, bigger is better. That goes for their portions of mac n cheese, their gun crime and their canyon. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long. To put that into perspective, especially for someone from Essex, that’s Basildon to Durham. It’s huge. We spent a day walking around the Rim (ha, rim) and everything we could see only accounted for ten percent of the total of the Canyon. It’s 1.2 million acres. That’s 1.2 million times what your dream property in Thorpe Bay has, to put that into perspective for someone from Essex. A week on, it is still hard to deal with what I got to see and enjoy in my time in America and it helped me understand why only 46 percent of Americans have a passport (and understand that Asia is a continent and China is a country).
Here are some things I observed about America;
– Everyone is really nice. Too nice. I was highly suspicious
– You can buy knives and hot dogs everywhere
– Nobody said they loved my accent even though I was purposefully being more English
– A small is a medium. A medium is a large. A large is a bucket with a straw poking out of it
– Biscuits and gravy are not a suitable breakfast
– You have to tip everything. I slipped a dollar bill into an automatic door that opened for me
– A pavement is a sidewalk and an idiot is called a Trump
– There are so many more kinds of processed cheese than you realise
– Knowing how to wrangle a horse is expected of all men
– Everyone has nice teeth
– If there is space for it then everything has a gift shop attached. America is big and there is always space
– Both time and Vegas are constructs of man and are entirely separate
Despite how problematic America can be, it doesn’t change the fact that the landscape is beautiful. We drove from Las Vegas out to Arizona and back again and the views rivaled those out of Morocco. It’s strange and beautiful and then you get to a truck stop and feel like you’re on a set. It’s the best of both worlds.
As far as the trek goes, it was the first time I have trekked with a static campsite so we were limited in how far we could go out before having to turn back. We also, to paraphrase Crowded House, took the weather with us, and were presented with more rain than Arizona had seen in the last year. The canyon is a weird place to hang out. A lot of the time you’re so busy making sure you’re not about to walk over the edge of something or tread on a spider that you can forget to look up and see these incredible geological lines cut into the sides of the thousand foot walls around you. The vibrancy and the colours seem to have been ramped up, the saturation is at 100%. I met some amazing people and had a brilliant time. I climbed and I fell and I bashed my knobbly knees, I ate and ate and ate, I gambled and walked away when I saw for myself what could happen to people. I met a tattooed entrepreneur from Scotland at a roulette table called Ian, I got referred to as One Direction by a security guard who would later show me to the Business Suite and I finally got to eat a mythical corn dog (well, four of them).
The problem now is that I want more. I want all the America there is. I want to get in a car with my lady and drive from coast to coast and never look back. I want to eat burgers and smoke Marlboro. I want to live it and love it and be. There’s just the short issues of having to work and not having the money. I’ll get there though. In the meantime, I have National Novel Writing Month starting in a couple of days and a bonny new travel story to write.