Quick and incoherent thoughts on my return…

Most important: go to Texas, because virtually everything you think about Texas and Texans is wrong, and since coming back I’ve decided it’s actually Europeans who are dreadful people – snotty, self-important, dismissive, ignorant, petty, humourless nations with a proud history of persecution and a propensity to dictatorship. (Post-holiday blues, moi?)

Texans are great. Humour as dry as a bone, enormously hospitable and all consumed with an honest curiosity about why on earth anyone would come visit them.

I am going to be saying “Awesome!” a lot for the next couple weeks.

My mates are also great people. Ten days hanging around with such focused, straightforward, do-y people did me the power. Thanks, guys.

Swimming is awesome. I need to do more.

Tubing is not just awesome, it’s totally awesome, but doing it on the Guadalupe River at 40 Celsius is going to be rather nicer than doing it on the Thames in October, so that’s one to save for a future trip.

Aside: the ice-cream place where M bought me a bakewell tart ice-cream in Richmond today is also awesome, but is not Diet.

The Ford Escape is the worst, sorriest, most appalling excuse for a simulation of something which might under the right circumstances qualify as a vehicle that I want to write to its design team and invite them to explain themselves very briskly indeed. Whether it was drifting round corners if taken at above 2 mph, creaking as though it were ship-built, or just being completely and utterly gutless, it never once gave me a moment’s pleasure. Driving it for a week ought to be reserved for people who hurt kittens for pleasure.

I have now eaten in a revolving restaurant. (In the linked page, I am the diner on the right, enjoying a typically low-key soft drink.) And we got there by going along the River Walk — a successful urban regeneration project for once….

Perfect final activity: watching beer be bottled, sterilised, labelled and packed in the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, “the cleanest little town in Texas”.

Texans are proud of things; it seems to come naturally to them. On the odd occasion they do have to go looking a little harder for the prize, though. I was constantly expecting women to mention in passing that their son, Skeeter, was the tallest pre-pubertal Caucasian teen born south of San Antonio on a Thursday since 1972.

Should more spring to mind, there will be updates.

San Francisco (without enough hair for flowers)

The Golden Gate Bridge


  • World Traveller isn’t that bad
  • 10.50 is still a lot of hours on a plane
  • It is possible to get sunburnt in October (I suppose this is the whole point of California, but somehow missed it before)

The hotel room has small vignettes of life somewhere (I think) South American and crushingly poor — I’m not sure whether this is the interior decoration equivalent of a Freudian slip…. (“Oh, me, this place is dreadful and Spartan… but it could be so much worse!”)

In the bathroom there’s a shot of a 900-year-old woman doing that L’Oreal move with water from a mountain stream. Perfect ad-antidote.

(Obligatory photoset, excluding the Peruvians, is at Flickr)