The Little Yellow Journal of Another Trip To America

Another winter has been spent being bewildered in the States! This year I encountered (beside all the usual bigotry, gun worship and emotionally manipulative advertising) the fattest chihuahua I had ever seen, mailboxes that looked like they were alive, and a different take on the self-service vending machine. I ate an obscene amount of tacos too, for all meals of the day. You can’t do that in Britain!

And then I flew home, and wondered what just happened. Here’s how it looked through my eyes:

Chasing the Capybara

This is pretty much the highlight of my Holiday holiday this year – today Lilly and I got to meet an internet celebrity – Caplin Rous, the giant coconut capybara!

He is pretty much the coolest creature in the world. He is so gentle, so smart, and so charming! He makes the coolest little noise too, which you should be able to hear in the below video.

He also really likes blueberries! We were feeding him frozen ones. We didn’t get to feed him a popsicle, but it was probably a bit cold out today.

So if you didn’t know what a Capybara was, you do now! They are the world’s biggest rodents – just like giant guinea pigs! I like guinea pigs. Capybaras come from South America natively, but Caplin was born in Texas. Apparently there are a handful of people who keep them as pets, but none as well trained as Caplin – he could stand up, shake hands and twirl around when pried with the right treats. If you want to know more information about Caplin, or capybaras in general, you can find a lot more interesting and fun related stuff on Caplin’s website, GiantHamster.com.

Thanks to Melanie, Caplin’s owner, for being kind enough to let us come to meet him.

Petite Fireworks Excursion

I still haven’t decided if this Blog is purely professional or still borderline personal, so here is a non-work-related post. I might decide it’s rubbish and delete it in a few days, but for now, it shall live. Anyway.

Happy new year! Yesterday Lilly and I had a tiny fireworks excursion for the occasion, partially in the name of her brother, who is out in The Gambia, West Africa, in the Peace Corps. He is a fan of fireworks.

We managed to find this tiny fireworks stand (pictured above), run by vaguely redneck-ish (but friendly!) people. We figured we’d start small for our first fireworks excursion and only got a few little bits and bobs, and I took a few nice pictures – more than I would post on Flickr in one chunk, so I thought why not write a blog about it! Continue reading “Petite Fireworks Excursion”

Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong

Lilly and I have made it back to Austin TX, to visit her folks for a Holiday holiday, and enjoying the easy life right now! America is a special place. This isn’t my first visit, so despite only being here a couple of days, I am beginning to spot some of the terrifying things about the States that only an outsider would notice. I was pretty unimpressed to see pharmacies sell cigarettes here (sure they sell a load of other tat too, but selling cigarettes just seems counterproductive), but I also discovered something worse when out for a little walk to the nearby grocery store:

These two signs are either side of an intersection, which is what made me notice the issue at hand- as much as I tried to get them into the same shot, it didn’t work as there was a big old tree between them, but hopefully it conveys the desired point-

Petrol is CHEAPER thank milk here!

I like to think I’m not some green hippy eco-warrior, but I do consider myself reasonably environmentally aware, so this just seems really really wrong. I don’t get how a substance produced from finite resources, and which causes pollution and war, can be cheaper than a liquid produced from cows. And there are a lot of cows in Texas too!

To think Americans complain about the price of petrol too- for any readers out there who aren’t so good at maths, at current exchange rates, that works out to about 39 pence a litre. The last time I filled the vespa up it was about £1.15 a litre, so that’s about a third of what we pay in the UK.

Maybe Berocca Obama should do some european-style taxation on petrol- he could use the income to bail Arnie and the rest of the country out, and it might make the environment a bit happier too.

America makes me hate cars, it really does.

 
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