Despite the fact that I was on holiday, I did a bit of thinking. A nasty habit, I know, but what can you do about it.
Anyway, what I was thinking was this: the US is quite different, isn’t it?
First off: they seem to have much more labour-intensive ways of doing things. Cleaning the street, for example. Over here, you’ll have one guy driving a street-sweeper, and another one (maybe two) with a broom. Over there, it seemed more common to have the same vehicle, but with half a dozen folk around it. And the street was no cleaner than it would be here, and it was done no quicker.
Or look at a ski life: on the continent, you have a guy at the bottom, with a stop button. You have a guy at the top, also with a stop button. All gates are electronic (like on the Tube), so these two people are all that are needed. In the US (at Breckenridge and Vail, anyway), you have four at the bottom with scanners (to replace the electronic gates); two people to guide people onto the chair, one with a rake to move the snow about, and one with a stop button. At the top, you have a guy with a rake, and a guy with a stop button. Six more people, and the job isn’t done any faster or with any more security (especially at the pass-checking stage, the amount of people who just skipped by was alarming).
So many people were doing simple, manual jobs that are automated or done away with over here. It was a little disconcerting. The only place where it made sense to have noticeably more people than in an equivalent Yuropean place was on ski-patrol, and still a guy died on our last day there.
Secondly: the food. Man, it was delicious, but there was so damn much of it. It probably didn’t help that the appetite suffered from the altitude, but there was no way I could finish a main course, let alone a three course meal. But it was cheap enough that I didn’t much care about leaving it on the plate.
Thirdly: the cars. I don’t care if they’re wasteful, or it they’re huge. But they were so fucking ugly. Not one of them was the least bit exciting to watch; not one of them made me go “I want one of those”. Of course, because we were up in the mountains, with plenty of snow, 4x4s were necessary (trust me, it’s quite worrying to see a street full of wheel-spinning rear-wheel-drive cars), but still, there is no excuse for everyone choosing shiteheaps. When the best looking car is a dog-ugly Scooby Impreza, you know something is wrong.
Finally, but not least, there’s the way that sometimes they’ll bend over backward to petty statism, and other times they’ll kick up a stink so big that no statist would dare go there. They’ll put up with the no smoking rules, the no buying drink on a Sunday, the throw salt over left shoulder on all days with T in the spelling, but try to get ‘em in a seatbelt, and you’ll end up in a situation where the words “second” and “amendment” are very prominent in your mind. If only there were more of the second and less of the first, I think that the world would be a much better place.
Oh, and regarding the fingerprinting and photographing nonsense, I don’t mind it as much as those travelling with me expected. Hell, it’s their country, if they want to make everyone entering it feel like a criminal, it’s up to them. Nobody has to visit. However, try and do it to me visiting my own fuken land, and thing change. Obviously.
I’ve only seen one car here that I actually want, and it’s 65% ’cause of the noise it makes – the Mustang. Drove one and it was a lot of fun, but a bit like driving a very noisy, fast lorry.
Not the most practical of vehicles on the coast road, I would imagine. What with there being corners, and other un-American things like that.
(I went through a very short phase of wanting the ’04 Mustang. Then I got over it and decided that, come the Revolution, my official Tyrant Of The World car would have to be a good ol’ Aston Martin. Like the DBS.)
No arguements here. I’d take the Aston any day. Vroooooommmmmm….imagine hitting the Coast Road in one of those. Fun-tastic.
Alas…I can’t spell “argument”.