Friday, 5 September 2008

Mount Rushmore

We've just left the famous Mt. Rushmore Momument in South Dakota. Most people would recognise the gigantic face of the four past presidents immortalised into the granite rockside of Mount Rushmore. But how many people could put a name to those giant busts? Not these three travelling folk, nope, we struggled to find this grand memorial on the map just a couple of months ago, let alone be in such an informed position as to be able to impart huge swathes of knowledge on unsuspecting bystanders. So, as Washington, Jefferson, Rooservelt, and Lincoln (left to right.... check me out! Knowledge!) looked on all ponderous and whatnot, we sat in an ampitheatre awaiting both waht promised to be a glorious sun set and what we'd been told was an informative and entertaining talk and light show. Well.... firstly we had managed to cock up crossing a timezone barrier thingy and thus took out seats in the auditorium an hour before we needed to, and baring in mind we had planned to get a placve 20mins before we thought the show started so as to land directors box quality positions, this mean't that three over-eager Britons set up camp a cool 80 minutes prior to anything actually being due to start. If it hadn't been for a handful of holidaying Germans routinely having towels laidout in preparation as per normal for them at 7AM that morning we could have felt a wee bit silly!

Then this mis-named "show" began. A a burly woman in the guise of a park ranger emered on to the stage and began what can only be described as 30mins of American self-gratification. The loose theme was freedom, but if America ever needs a little reminder that it is a great country, does great things and stands for all that is truely great in the world then is need look no further than this little spectacle. I don't wish to sound bitter, I'm all in favour of patriotism, we could definately use a tad more over in our little corner of the owlrd, but this felt forced, over the top, and stank someone plugging a cause which had lost dight of what the four chaps on the hill had worked so hard to create.

That all said an done, Mt. Rushmore was a very interesting, nice place to go for a visit and is set in some spectacular scenery. I asked as to the criterea required to get ones swede (head) up on the wall, but it appears my two Managers Player and one Players PLayer of the Year awards aren't sufficient acolades to warrent whacking my mug up there, seems my days as centre defender supremo for Duffield Dynamos may have been all to no end.

Anyways, off now to visit a new place, meet new people, and attempt to find a decent cup of tea.


Having spent a night in one of the most dodgiest littlest motels we could find, such a motel that is regularly found in generic US horror films, we arrived in Chicago about 10 in the morning. Unfortunately we couldn't check into our hotel until about 3 so we took this as time to go exploring and to stretch our legs after the previous days 12 hours spent driving from Buffalo.

Illinois' Windy City manag3ed to keep us well and truely entertained for 5 days and through such wonderful activities as military airshows, trips to the top of the worlds 3rd tallest tower, and eating pizza in the exact place the deep pan variety was concieved, we managed to further expand our knowledge of this small insignificant country.

Inbetween leisurely jaunts around some of the most impressive and unique architecture to be found in one place, and learning about the delights of 'freedom' in a museum devoted to this very american buzz term. We made time to sample a truely American obsession. No, I don't refer to fast food (which we do in fact sample on a far to regular basis) and no, not a Starbucks 'Thin-Mochachinno-Latte-Expresso" (which I've descovered roughly translates into English-English as 'coffee') Nope, none of these i make reference to. Our first experience was to be of the all american sport, Baseball!

We opted to attend a match of the Chicago Cubs over their local rivals the Chicago Sox, due mainly down to the explosive and blatently massively biased reaction of a resident Chicago-er over which team to see, but also slightly because i refuse to take a team seriously that is named after an item of footwear, the Florence Flip-Flops failed to get a visit either when i was in Italy, for very similar reasons! As it turned out, the Cubs were playing the Cincinnati Reds (you'll never guess what colour they play in!?!) later that week, so when the day arrived, we packed up our day bags, complete with Bologna "ham" sandwiches and jumped on the Metro bound for the home of the Cubs, the Scout Hut Arena! Nah, it's actually called Wrigley Field, but with a name like Cubs i had to get a joke in there somewhere, they're just lucky i didn't go with the one i had for woggle!

Our plans were to buy tickets then head to the beach for a few hours before kick-off, or throw-off, or whatever starts this new sporty concept. But, as with all things we're attempted to plan on this trip of continual cock-ups, we were scuppered by some ludicrous rule that said once you'd bought your ticket on match day, you had to enter the ground. We didn't really fancy this, yet we didn't want to risk not getting a ticket at all, so a compromise was struck where-by we'd sit in a bar just outside the ground, I'd eat my body weight in burgers then we'd dash over to the ground if it looked to be getting busy. We got tickets, all be them standing only, and thus our first exhilerating Baseball experience began.

I say exhilerating... well that'd be a bit of an exageration to say the least. Baseball lasts for 3 hours and consists of 9 innings with the winner being the bunch of knee sock, tight trouser wearing chaps who has the most points on the board at the end. I always understood the best way to get points was to hit the ball and to occasionally amble your way round the pitch passing the three mounds of sand as you go, but alas, it would appear not. For the first 7 innings and over 2 hours, it would seem the aim of the game was to miss the ball three times and then to go and sit back down in your little hut again. I'm sure all this is just a plot to get the public to continually exchange Dollar for food stuffs from the widest array of consumable-goods-dispensing-agents I've ever been priviledge to see. These peddlers of snack based wares offered pretty much anything and everything a bored hungry ball fan could want. This was good news because by the 8th innings (and the 23rd hotdog) arrived, the players finally decided it was a good time to start trying and the Cubs manged to notch up 5 scores against a Cinncinatti team who failed to get on the score board at all, in fact their batters looked as though the could of been swinging blind, with a trout instard of a bat, and not even a good trout at that, a trout that was poor at sport and always got picked last! So with out 'team' winning 5-0, and out grasp of the rules still nowhere nearer absolution, we traversed the Chicago Metro singing the imaginative team chant of "Go Cubs Go" all the way home!

All this excitment brought to an end our Chicago adventure and the beginning of the road trip to San Francisco. We all agreed Chicago was a lovely city, picturesque buildings, tuneful Jazz bars, tastey pizzas, and a very very tall tower, but for 1 of us it was time to head home to the UK, proper food, proper washing, proper pubs, and best of all.... proper tea! Lucky girl if you ask me. For the rest of us, it's onwards to where-ever we land next!

Buffalo (upstate New York!) and Niagara Falls!

**Coming soon... maybe**