Ramblings from Flagstaff

373A9564 So here we are in Flagstaff, Arizona. It's a weird little town that seems to have the hippy vibe going, but it's also a major distribution and freight railway hub. I like it though.

In the past week we've been to the Valley of Fire, Zion National Park, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. I never intended things to be that hectic but it's just the way it turned out.

While waiting for sunset at Hopi Point in the Grand Canyon I got chatting to Brian who is a full-time "accomplished enthusiast" photographer. He mentioned that the places we'd been to weren't what he expected the average tourist would be visiting. My initial reaction was "well, why the hell wouldn't they" but I also realise now that we have driven 2400 miles (3800km - nearly equivalent to Sydney - Perth) in under 3 weeks. We've zig-zagged a lot, backtracked, gone out of our way for things and taken the scenic route…all things I've usually been dead against.

I'm really enjoying the USA: food, culture, landscape, people. Plus they are so much better set up than Australia in almost every way (except for the obvious: healthcare). A favourite musician of mine recently wrote on twitter after arriving in Australia "Hey America! Greetings from tomorrow, ten years ago (Australia)!". I kinda took a bit of offence at the time, thinking that maybe we weren't that bad but the truth is that we are.

There are also the good old-fashioned things that made life a little bit sweeter. Things we used to have but got too busy and efficient to keep, like the little switch to keep the fuel pump going when you fill your car up. Or like the cherry on top of a milkshake, or crushed nuts on a sundae at McDonald's. Even a small town has 5 lane roads and even the most deserted of areas have good roads that are easy to drive at 75mph.

Or maybe these are the things you notice when you haven't worked or watched TV in a month.

All the rumours about fat people, guns, mountains of ranch dressing and dangerously unhealthy food are mostly untrue (although I did see a guy wearing a NRA hat today). I had the best Thai meal I've had for a long time in Flagstaff, and we've had no problem getting fresh fruit and I got a sandwich with baby carrots on the side a few days ago. Bad food might be easiest to get, but good food isn't hard to find either. We've been using Foursquare a LOT to find good food and coffee and it hasn't really let us down yet, we've pretty much had consistently good food the whole trip. I can see how people go wrong though. The two things that are hardest to resist and are so ingrained in the food 'system' are butter and soda. In most restaurants/food places you can buy a soda with unlimited refills for about $2. I challenge you to have a Coke with lunch and then not be tempted by a Sprite, Cherry Coke, Dr Pepper, Root Beer or Grape Fanta afterwards. After all, you've already paid for it…