|The Ballards - USA - Florida|
Florida is known as "God's
waiting room" for good reason: the percentage of "Seniors"
(we all call them "Pensioners") is higher in Florida than in
any other US state.
American TV is so chock-full of commercials you lose
the storyline of every show they air.
American cars have not improved in the last 15 years:
the automatic transmissions are still as twitchy, the cars are still as
space-inefficient as before, and now with so many pickups and SUVs on
the roads the average miles per gallon of all cars in the US has dropped
for the first time in 20 years; just as we are about to go to war with
one of the largest oil producers.
South Western Florida is entirely empty of anything except
Bait and Tackle stores supporting a dwindling number of commercial fishermen
and a rapidly burgeoning number of Senior fishermen who haven't a clue
how to fish but watched The Rockford Files in the 70s, saw old folks fishing
off the pier and promised themselves when they retired they would see
out their days fishing.
However, Florida also contains the single most important
place in the whole of humanity: at NASA they are actually tackling the
engineering aspects of getting the human race out in to space and established
as a viable multi-planetary force before a meteorite or other natural
disaster befalls our planet.
In a way the NASA web site is a lot more interesting, in that they talk about "High Bay 5 being cleared for the next flight" and "external tank mating", but the general public never get within a mile of anything interesting, for fear of sabotage, one assumes.
Out in the boondocks (so crashing rockets won't hit anything)
the approach to the Space Centre is barely signposted (amazing for America)
but of course the roads are good and the organisation is excellent.
It would be interesting to compare the Baikonur experience in Russia: they probably just let you roam around everything unescorted.....
Of all Florida, the Keys are the most interesting. The road down, an 8-lane highway, suddenly collapses in to the worst piece of 2-lane highway in the Union: a ramrod-straight cut across the swamps to the first Key.
The road through the Keys, known as the "Over the seas Highway", follows the line of the old x&X Over the seas railroad.