Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Greetings from Asheville NC USA

Well, Hello everyone,
I am in Asheville a small city in the mountains near the North Carolina Tennessee border, last exit on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Where the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains join. I arrived today on the dog
The dog or the Greyhound as it is more “formally” known, is the principle Bus Line available to travelers in USA. The best way to travel here, is to rent a car, but this is a real budget buster. These Greyhounds are okay busses but definitely not engineered with the passenger in mind. For instance there are no curtains even on overnight busses. We were on an overnighter from Orlando Florida to Fayetteville North Carolina. They stopped the bus for “routine cleaning” at, (are you ready for this) 5 in the morning. Woke EVERYBODY on the bus up, and then made us all get off the bus into a bus station for an hour while they swept and mopped!!! This, mind you when we were only one hour away from our destination stop!! Our 900 mile trip took 25 hours because of 9 hours of scheduled “layovers”…this tells me the people who run the company don’t ride their own busses and they certainly don’t ride busses in other countries…

It is May 11. I have been in USA since April 25 and I have not eaten any fried food except one order of french fries at a greyhound bus depot. I have been eating too much meat the last 3 days of April so I have quit eating meat for May. It gives me nightmares, I think. I am not so sure if I will take up this habit of eating other animals in June or not. I feel better but i am really craving some fried chicken!! All this time in Florida and North Carolina and no fried chicken. What a long strange trip its been.

I am staying in a friends house and this weekend we will go to a big music and arts festival Called LEAF which is an acronym for the lake Eden Arts Festival. 3nights and 2 days of camping in a tent and listening to music and checking out artisan works and taking classes in things like yoga and woodcarving. Partying Singing Dancing Frolicking and Reveling…Ah yes the life of a world traveler…

Finished off the last of my stash of Flor de Cana Nicaraguan rum, with my friends the Professor and Ning in Chapel Hill North Carolina. Where I spent the last 4 days lazing around their house and eating Vegan feasts or hiking in the woods. A plague of ticks of biblical proportions has struck his woods…but we survived this and the dreaded red ants of Boynton Beach Florida. We were in Boynton Beach from April 26 to May 4, This is a very antiseptic little town on Florida East coast. Mostly old retired people from the Boston-New York-Philadelphia Megalopolis live here. We stayed with my parents and visited with my two brothers and my niece and nephews The whole family was together for the first time in almost 4 years to celebrate Fathers 80th birthday and Mothers 75 birthday.

So…the first thing I noticed about the USA. Customs is really relaxed. Walked right through after hardly even stopping. No bag searches at all, barely even a hello and good bye. It is a lot more expensive here than I remember. The price of food and of course gasoline is way up from my memories of 3 years ago. The place is really clean and manicured looking.

The people dress a lot differently than I recall too.
I just love this "look" where the kids are wearing some clothes 8 or 9 sizes too big on him and his pants are falling down. Whoaaa thats so cool man!!! In general the population seems to have gained weight. Some incredibly large folks in the doghouse (greyhound bus station). The long term results of the double quarter pounder with cheese diet plan.

All they serve to eat in these stations is the worst fried junk food you can imagine.
Street food is nonexistent here. The fast food is all giant multinationals, and giant multinational wannabees. Not much character just uniformity, conformity, and mediocrity. I am getting nightmares when I eat meat. The restaurants are much better but alas not what you would call cheap. Tipping of 15 or 20% is considered normal and not tipping is considered rude.

The people seem a little on edge. A little tense maybe or even maybe angry about something. Its a little weird. Do you think its the grub? After the last two months in Oaxaca the contrast between the laid back lifestyle of Southern Mexico and the East Coast USA is astounding. I just came from a place where no one is in a hurry and no one is ever on time, or late. People just come and go. But on the other hand, I feel like I have never seen such a lovely Mountain/Forest springtime ticks and all, as this one I am in the middle of right here in North Carolina. Fields of beautiful colored flowers in tall green grass. Red Cardinals winging about, Saw some cool little owls in Florida and flamingos and Herons and crocodiles.

I will be here in America for another 8 weeks or so. I fly to Ireland on 10 July.
Next update will be from Colorado.
Reporting to you live (well sort of) from the land of the free
And the home of the brave
Rambling Robert


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