Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Whirlwind Tour of America

My wife and I have just returned from our almost month-long tour across the United States of America, including a side visit to the Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. I have been to the States a couple of times before, but my visits were mainly business-related and, therefore, I did not have the opportunity to explore beyond city precincts. Saw Hwa had visited the West Coast before, but that was also many years ago.

This was indeed a whirlwind tour; by the time we ended at Los Angeles, we had forgotten the names of many of the places we visited! In the wake of the trade war between China and the United States, I was a little apprehensive before we embarked on the journey, especially so when we had signed up with Cosmos, where we knew most of our fellow travelers would be Caucasians. And we thought Donald Trump’s rhetoric might also create some degree of hostility from his countrymen towards yellow-skinned fellows like me. Our fears proved to be unnecessary. The people we ran into were generally very nice. One lady even offered her travel card to purchase subway tickets in one of the New York stations, when she saw we were hesitant about how to go about getting them from the machine. Safe for an incident, though!

The incident came from an unexpected quarter.

That was in New York and before we began our tour. We were on a hop-on-and-hop-off bus when a Caucasian lady, together with her partner, apparently a little clumsy, lost her seating priority to some Asian women. When she began to complain to the tour guide about “the f**king Asians”, I shouted at her, right in front of all the tourists there, "You racist, watch your language!". I gave her a nasty stare. She and her partner, to my satisfaction, remained quiet after that. 

Indeed, America is declining. The country as a whole looks tired. Of course, the monuments in Washington DC, the iconic architectural works in New York and Chicago, the national parks, and great mansions in California remain awe-inspiring. But they are falling behind in areas of infrastructure. The subway in New York is a case in point. Homelessness in San Francisco is particularly too glaring to miss. Even our tour coach is lacking in many respects. And surprise, surprise, even though Cosmos is a member of the global tour group, it is not as good - in terms of equipment and organisation - as its sibling Globus in Europe, which we have traveled with before.  

Central Park, Manhattan

No longer welcoming!
Niagara Falls

Washington DC

Grand Canyon
Somewhere in Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park
Where is Donald Trump?
Another National Park
With fellow travelers from the UK at Hollywood: Maria and David

Yet another...

Yet another
Feeding squirrel at Pebble Beach

Admiring Pebble Beach Golf Course
A new Genting in Las Vegas