For the past four days or so we have been touring around Virginia with Dad and Mom T and I must say I have laid eyes on some of the most beautiful sights in nature that I have ever seen. The Shenandoah Valley surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains are just stunning. Everything looks like a postcard. I really couldn’t believe I was actually walking around amongst these extremely beautiful sights.
And yes I’m still seeing and experiencing new things on a daily basis and I love it. Here is my list of observations for this post:
For those residing in the US, can anyone answer this little dilemma of mine? Why are public bathroom doors so short? I mean, why does everyone have to see my legs when I’m doing whatever I choose to do behind those closed doors? I feel it is an invasion of my bathroom privacy somehow. Am I the only one bothered by this? I wonder.
As I understand it, any trip to the US is not complete without a visit to the one and only Wal-Mart. On my first visit I saw some things with which I was unfamiliar. First was an almost blatant display of obesity. Oh my God! I have never seen people that obese in my whole life. I kept looking at one woman while trying to decipher what I witnessing. Then I decided to stop before I made a fool of myself. I saw people packing extra weight in places I never knew people could carry fat, like on their back for example. Somehow, this made me feel good about my weight.
Another interesting sight was the Mennonites. When I first saw a woman with a small cap on her head I thought it was some form of fashion statement. But when I saw a second woman with the same white hat, I knew something was going on. Luckily, the husband was there to provide me with the answer.
I’m now in the process of Americanizing my accent. While in London I spent some effort Anglicizing it but it didn’t really work out. Let’s see if my efforts pay off this time. The first thing I’m working on is pronouncing the word "water." Instead of saying "wa-ter," which I guess is the British pronunciation, I’m trying to say it the American way: "wa-der." I guess I still sound weird but I will keep trying none-the-less.
That’s all for now. More to come as time allows.
Jim, I understand your position a little better, your fam having felt the effects. The “mom and pop” stores I grew up with in Lake Tahoe made a fortune fleecing the locals who had to drive 60 miles to get stuff other than gas and food. The ones my hubby grew up with in cenral IL closed when Dollar General came, not Wal*Mart. In Jordan, we actually forgo Safeway to shop at the mom-n-pop stores in our neighborhood.
Credit card comment came from Calif friends, who can afford the brand-name stuff only because their credit cards are maxed. Meaning, no charitable giving and high anxiety levels.
No tweaking intended. (Except for Linda, this is her passion and she has some great ideas about it)
The doors on the toilets are high so people can mop under them more easily. Nobody cares about seeing people’s feet. Also, it is a security feature so people don’t have sex in the bathroom, or whatever.
Mom and Pop stores, the kind that dominated most of America before chain retailers, were usually owned by families either new to the area or the country. They always remained competitive due to other stores locally that would quickly garner business if one fell out of line.
My family owned a general store, a la Sam Drucker on “Pettycoat Junction” for over 40 years. When grocery chains like A&P appeared they swept the smaller stores away. (A&P was actually the reason many monopoly laws were passed in the U.S.) Once you factor in centralized distribution, group buying and volume discounts it is extremely hard for individual stores to keep up.
Out of hand credit card balances have little to do with Wal-Mart and I’m not sure where they come in to the discussion. If it’s an attempt to tweak me I’ll just point out that that if you’re not prepared to pay for what you buy then you shouldn’t buy it.
As far as investing in Iraq goes I think Iraq is uniquely positioned to come out of the current turmoil as a Middle Eastern country with tremendous advantages both in investment and infrastructure. Much of this will come from foreign investors but a significant portion will come from Iraqi citizens. If, again, you’re trying to tweak me then the answer is “Nuts!”
FYI: I live in Minnesota where we have the 3rd highest taxes in the country. Darn communists. (lol)
Jim, I’m glad in your sphere Americans are doing so well financially. Vast majority? Maybe in Virginia. And paying off the credit cards every month? Other than your taxes, any getting invested in Iraq? I’m not being sarcastic, and I am smiling. 🙂
Rest assured the vast majority of us can afford to shop at Mom & Pop stores. Unfortuately Wal-Mart has driven most out of business.
Natasha I wish I knew where you and your husband were going to be in VA. My uncle and family live in Vienna, VA and I might be able to arrange a nice dinner.
Virginia is truly beautiful this time of the year. If I could recommend something I would say try visiting the VMI campus. While the campus is impressive what you want to visit is the chapel where Robert E. Lee is buried. It’s a breathtaking monument to one of the countries most noble citizens.
I would also recommend visiting Thomas Jefferson’s estate at Montecello. Equally impressive.
Teesh – go to the inflatable pool section at Wal-Mart and look for a slip’n’slide
You’ll see I wasn’t making it up 😉
Metal! You’re back! I couldn’t find your blog and had been wanted to hear your comments on Sith.
Wal*Mart just perfected what KMart and Target have been doing for years. Linda, I think a large percentage of the population of the US can’t afford to shop at stores (even the mom-pop stores) that you mentioned in an earlier blog about this awhile back. DKNY, I think you mentioned? I buy that at Souk Il Abdali used for a JD a pop, but retail, it would never be in my closet.
Ethics like that MAY just be for the rich. Tell me more of your opinion when you get back! If I buy clothes at garge sales, I can send the 97% I save to Iraq. Same with the 25% I save buying toothpaste at Wal*Mart.
IS GEORGE LUCAS VIRGINIAN?
Doesn’t matter. Revenge of the Sith kicks the penultimate quintessential frolicking-through-the-rainbow-pot-of-Gold behindo.
Except meat. That’s because they took out the whole department when their meatcutters decided to unionize. They’re shutting an entire store in Quebec for the same reason. Cheap indeed.