Just when I'm in danger of being totally brainwashed by American culture, food and cars, Ricky comes along to remind me JUST what it means to be an Australian! Bloody oath he does! No matter where I am in the world I can rest easy knowing that there is always a little piece of Australia , a cultural touchstone and SOLID WAKE UP CALL that says "MATE! THIS IS HOW WE DO IT IN AUSTRALIA!!!"
Apparently how we do it is to bitch and moan and act in an unsportsman like manner on "sportsmans day" at the ashes... I thought it might take until at least the 3rd test this time around - but he's gone beyond even my wildest hopes and dreams by starting his brilliant whinging form with the first test and continuing on well into the second - and that's just for starters! I can't wait until England start winding him up with that old substitute fielders trick of his or how he'll react whenRudi Koertzen is named man of the series. I just wish I could be at work so I could send out inflammatory emails calling for his dropping for the 3rd test along with Mitch J... except this time they wouldn't be inflammatory - more likely just a statement of plain fact - am I right!? Still - he hasn't been this entertaining since that transsexual knocked him out in front of the 'Bourbon in Kings Cross... Happy times.
As for the U.S. well, apart from being distracted by the Ashes, and trying to work out just what the hell time it is in the UK, we're getting ready for Jamila's birthday which will be in Yellowstone National Park on the 20th. I've arranged to have the park closed so we can hold a private party for just her and the animals. Should be a real treat.
We've also been a little humbled by just how big some mountains over here can be - we took the drive of our life in Glacier National Park, and as Lib was constantly reminding me as we struggled up the crumbling goat track named the Going-to-the-sun-road, it could well have also been the last... imagine the road out to the cotter river. Now make it about 2/3rds of the width it is. Now imagine pinning it to the side of a cliff with the skill of a drunken Australian Cricket Captain circa 1978 on a Qantas flight to the UK (not the sober whinging type they have now)... NOW imagine filling it with oversized "utes" driven by slack jawed yeeehaws looking up at the snow instead of at the damn road and you have an idea of what driving this road is like. Sheer drop one side to certain death, craggy sharp teethlike wall on the other just waiting to chew up your precious hire car and spit you out with a massive excess payment in US dollars...
And despite all that I'd do it again in an instant. We actually have done it twice already anyhow... The road might be tough but the views... the wildlife... is just stunning. Mountains, realt sharp mountains you can touch... that have a peak. Not like those try hard hill-upon-hill things we have back home. There's waterfalls, not just one or two - but hundreds of global warming-glacial melting thunderous falls exploding from every crevace and overhang. There are hidden lakes, grizzleys and mountain lions (we of course didn't see any, but being an Australian I'm glad of that - I'm sure these yanks would all expect us to wrestle it to the ground and then parade it around for everyone to gawk at...). I suspect the rangers they have over here *could* wrestle a grizzly - but would choose not to out of respect. The rangers we've met are all very cool, and have such wildly varying backgrounds as education, geology, biology and ice-cave and igloo building. That variety really goes towards making a visit to any park over here so interesting... talk to any ranger and you'll get a different viewpoint/piece of new information on any given subject... its all so... enlightening! Which is a pain, this is a holiday - we SHOULD NOT be learning ANYTHING.
It more than makes up for every strip mall and cluster of foul take away that besets you when you even think about visiting a city (except Seattle - which I really do still like). Its big. It FEELS big. Its not as old as Australia, but it FEELS old. You can see the geology here. You can see where glaciers slowly tore their way through this landscape, where tectonic activity thrust these giants upward out of the flat prarie... it... has impact.
But no hot dogs.