Well, I’ve been in the States for five full days now – which seems pretty crazy to me. I only have sixteen left! But let’s not think about that right now. I am currently chillin out on Grant’s deck, occasionally in the sun. There are huge-ass ants running around and making me feel slightly uneasy – the bugs here are definitely much bigger than I’m used to. Nonetheless, I ventured into the woods behind Grant’s house last night with him, his younger sister Amanda, brother Blake and friends Pat and Cody for a small campfire at “Fort Grant”. Pat and Cody were over for Grant and Kara’s graduation party, where I had a chance to meet the majority of Grant’s closest friends and relatives. I’d already met a couple of them at the house-warming party his aunt and uncle had hosted the day before. This party was to celebrate the completion of the renovations of their old house – they’d had a lot of repairs and refurbishments going on since the fire which destroyed a great deal of it. So I met Grant’s uncle and aunt then, of course, and his grandfather and a few others briefly before Blake, Grant and I headed off to do some mini-golf. I lost, needless to say, but it was good fun.
I’ve also had the opportunity to visit several more of Zanesville’s gems. On Thursday we took a trip out to the steamboat Lorena, and the famous Y-bridge – I’m sure you’ll have heard of it so I’ll say no more. It was just after this that we hit the road and headed in the direction of Cincinnati to stay at Ted’s place the night before our Reds game. Ted cooked for us – portobello mushroom burgers with avocado and feta, and some sweet potato fries. It was divine. So that evening we just hung around with Ted and his roommates, got some margaritas (thankfully I wasn’t asked for ID!) and admired the view from Ted’s deck, complete with fireworks from the Great American Ballpark (the Reds’ stadium).
The next day was probably the most humid day I’ve ever endured – it was insane. I think I’ve been in hotter climates – I distinctly remember there was a 40ºC day in Barcelona, and this was 32ºC at peak – but as Grant had warned me, the humidity is the worst. I had the distinct sensation that my innards were melting into each other, pretty much all day. Since the air conditioning in Ted’s place was slightly messed up, we decided to go out for a long lunch somewhere cooler, and we would’ve gone to the juice bar for smoothies after if there hadn’t been a sketchy guy sitting in the doorway, trying to hitch-hike to Detroit or somewhere. Ted’s area was pretty dodgy – I was approached by a scary old man who offered to open Grant’s car door for me, and there was also a guy wandering around collecting signatures from people, and this was somehow supposed to help him get on his feet and out of the ghetto. I didn’t understand it, but I wish him well… Anyway, said ghetto was barely two blocks away from Ted’s flat; in fact, when we ventured forth for ice cream before the baseball, we ended up right in the thick of it. As soon as you leave the university campus it gets really bad really fast. There was graffiti everywhere, falling-down tenement buildings and cop cars left and right. We locked our doors and high-tailed it out of there double-time. I don’t think I’ll be a regular visitor to Cincinnati.
That said, I did have a lot of fun there. When I wasn’t being approached by potential drug-dealers or wandering around trying not to look as lost (or white) as I actually was, I had a blast. I really enjoyed the baseball game as well – and, as it turns out, I’m actually a pretty good sports fan. I picked it up quickly, and it was a good game. We ended up losing by one run, but it went to extra innings so it was a close call. After the game there was another firework display, too, which was really great. I got my camera out for a while but didn’t want to miss the show for the sake of a few photos, so I only got a couple. Cincinnati is a maze, though, so it was late by the time we made it out of there and back to Z-town. For you sports fans out there, the summary of the game was sent to us afterwards.
So all in all, our trip to Cincinnati was pretty successful. I experienced not only a real live American baseball game, but also a real live American ghetto – plus, it was good to meet another of Grant’s friends. I’ve hit a lot of the bases here – barely half an hour after my plane landed in Columbus I found myself in a Bob Evans outlet, and the very next day we hit WalMart and drove around Zanesville for a while, camera in hand. I think I managed to capture the spirit of America – or at least Ohio – pretty well:
You should know that I’m also uploading photos to my MobileMe, and of course there are a lot more up there. The address is:
It’s not the most organised of galleries, I haven’t had much time to upload, edit and organise photos as well as writing my blog, but I should get it done at some point. I’ll be updating it constantly, too, of course – tonight is our MGMT concert (which we very nearly forgot about!) so expect epic things to appear tomorrow! Right now though, Grant should be back any minute from dropping his Jeep off at the garage and we’re driving straight to Columbus to hit the mall before the gig. He’s having problems with the car already – there’s some sort of leak coming from somewhere and it looks like it’ll cost an arm and a leg to have it looked at D: But basically, I’m about to hit the road. I’ll write again whenever I get a chance.
Oh, also, I’ve been appreciating the song “Red Red Wine” by UB40 lately. I didn’t really notice the amount of stuff going on before, but it’s a really intelligent piece of music, and well worth listening closely to. I’m aware I’m probably stating the obvious here, but whatever.