You’ll be pleased to hear that today it’s mostly photos; enough of the political comment for now. We’ve had a lovely couple of days here in Norfolk VA. The house is a typical American lawyer’s house, as seen on TV, with a jetty and a pool. You’d need a lot of cats before you run out of room swinging. And from the luxury of your patio you can pick out bright orange cardinal birds, bald headed eagles, humming birds, vultures, all manner of cranes and storks, huge bright yellow swallow-tailed butterflies, and if you pop down to the beach – diving pelicans and pods of dolphins. Among others. Just magnificent.
We’ve been to the naval base (the largest in the world, of course), walked through a swamp and pottered around the main city with the highlight being the Chrysler museum, a wonderful small and light museum with fabulous art from every known famous painter (although I didn’t see a Michelangelo, but you can tick off Monet, Turner, Picasso, Warhol, etc) and the best collection of glass we have ever seen. Fabulous.
Then there’s the whole American experience. Bright yellow school buses, noisy chrome and red fire tenders, redneck 4x4s with engines designed for cross-channel ferries, sidewalk to sidewalk shopping malls and food portions that Napoleon’s quartermaster would have been proud of.
And, if you’ll humour me, I’d like to dwell on that for a second. We’ve had a sandwich lunch out two days on the trot. Think Subway, although we ate one in an equivalent of a John Lewis restaurant. Eating out is not cheap here. I’d say about one and a half times as expensive as the equivalent in the UK. But if there are any American restauranteurs reading this, let me give you some advice. You could attract more customers and help reduce their waist lines by managing your portions better – and hence charging less.
Let me give you an example. I asked for a beef sandwich with salad. “So, what cheese do you want on that then?” Ehh, none thanks. “So, you don’t want any cheese on that then?” No, don’t think so. Now picture the sandwich making scene. Think of the biggest joint of beef you’ve ever seen and then double it. Slice it thinly, but be generous and cut off ten slices. Yes, folks, ten. Try manfully to put them in my soggy baguette and heap a whole lettuce on top. “That’ll be $10 please sir.”
I did the same for C, but asked for a cheese sandwich. “No ham on that then sir?” No, just cheese. “Just a vegetarian sandwich?” Yes, but to be clear I do eat meat and , when I’m allowed, sleep with my wife. So please don’t make any further judgements.
Everything is big here. Everything. More of which later.
Have a good end of week, I know we will.