Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wrapping up my US trip...

Fell asleep at 10pm yesterday, finally breaking -- I hope -- my jet-lag insomnia (two hours sleep or less in the past few days). Hence, I did not blog last night.

I still have some stuff related to my US trip (not all directly, though):

My "fellow travellers" were mostly Americans. Interestingly, even the registered Democrats among them disliked President Barack Obama. One even agreed with the sentiment of Republicans who wanted to see him impeached! I do not know enough about American politics to understand why Obama is such an unpopular figure there.

But I think many of the Obama critics I met will agree with this item which CC sent to me:

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon. The pigeon knocks over all the pieces, shits on the board and then struts around like it won the game."

~Vladimir Putin

Thomas Jefferson (third US president and key author of the Declaration of Independence) may also have his share of controversy -- such as his continued keeping of slaves in his estate -- but his legacy is assured and he has a memorial to his name:

Here he is looking a little bit like Darth Vader...

More light please! Ah, now it looks like the Force is with him...

We bought a tee-shirt at Monticello, Jefferson's estate in Virginia, now a heritage site...

The Pursuit of Happiness... try the Coolidge Effect!
I also learnt something interesting about Calvin Coolidge (30th president, 1923-1929) though not from my trip but from an article in last Saturday's Straits Times:

So, now we know... one of the 30th president's legacy is the "Coolidge Effect" (fairly or unfairly attributed to him)!

I have this now fading tee-shirt, bought many years ago, when I was in the US...


Our bus coach driver, Wali, was both skilful and ever alert at the wheel. We always felt safe in his hands. We certainly did not have this obviously made-up "highway experience":

Sitting on the edge of the highway waiting to catch speeders, a state police officer saw a car driving along at 22 mph. He thought to himself, that car is just as dangerous as a speeder. So, he turned his lights on and pulled the car over. Approaching the car, he noticed there were 5 old ladies, two at the front and 3 at the back, wide eyed and looking like ghosts.

The driver, obviously confused, said, "Officer, I don't understand, I wasn't doing over the speed limit! What did you pull me over for?" "Ma'am," the officer said, "You should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be dangerous".

"Slower than the speed limit? No sir! I was doing exactly 22 miles an hour", the old woman said proudly.

The officer, trying not to laugh, explained that 22 is the route number, not the speed limit. A little embarrassed, the woman smiled and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.

"Before I go Ma'am, I have to ask, is everyone ok? These women seem badly shaken and haven't said a word since I pulled you over."

"Oh! they'll be all right in a minute, officer. We just got off Route 142".

We also visited an Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Amish are known for their emphasis on traditional family values. They may be often depicted as sombre, humourless folks, but I think that's not true. These items in their souvenir shop certainly were not lacking in humour:


Finally, I met some long-lost relatives and sort of "lost my head" while exploring the wonders of the Museum of Natural History in Washington DC:

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