Archive for April, 2009

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 27-04-2009

Rob just had a FAB weekend in the distinctive town of Waco, Texas:

(above is the courthouse, the Dr Pepper museum and the Alico building).

Ask any American
about Waco and they are sure to mention the Branch Davidian cult and the seige of 1993, which ended in mass death. However, I liked Waco because it has a calm, almost ghost town-like atmosphere and feels like it’s trapped in a 1950s time-warp. Lovely architecture, an impressive suspension bridge and one of the USA’s largest urban parks. Nice. Waco is also famous for being the place where Dr Pepper was invented, although the drink is no longer made there.

I went to Waco to visit Ben who came out to work with Rob in Togo/Benin. Click here to see Ben with me in Africa. Meanwhile, here he is outside his wee house with his doggy and he and I by the aforementioned suspension bridge:


My weekend stay in Waco had soooo many highlights, but here are a few:
* Eating chicken fried steak and discovering it contains NO chicken.
* Being repeatedly asked: “Where are you from, I like your accent?”
* Browsing HUGE quantities of jeans, boots, cowboy hats and pearl-snap shirts.
* Impressive views across the Brazos River and Lake Waco
* Having breakfast in a REAL american diner.
* Strolling around the grounds of Baylor University.
* Visiting the Dr Pepper Museum and having my first ever Dr Pepper float.
* Seeing my first ever armadillo (albeit a deceased one…)


So, if you’re travelling through Texas, why not give Waco a try? I think y’all ‘d like it!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 23-04-2009

It sounds a strange thing to say, but there are several reasons why Texas reminds me of my childhood county back in lil’ ol’ England…


Firstly, it’s at the far end of the country a long way from the capital, somewhat off the beaten track, making it a rather quirky place compared to other regions. Secondly, just like any Yorkshireman I’ve ever met, Texans are very proud of their identity. On the plane here, a BIG guy sat down next to me and the conversation went something like this:

“You owff to Teyxas?”
“Yes I am”.
“Ahm from Teyxas. Pleased to meeyt you”.

Which brings me on to the curious accent, on the same end of the incomprehensibility spectrum as Yorkshire dialect for sure. To me the accent is somewhere between Johnny Cash and Forrest Gump, but I’m sure any American would tell me I’m way off…

And there are even aspects of the landscape which are not dissimilar (even though I was expecting oil wells). Look at this view – it could almost be the outskirts of Doncaster:


That’s not a river, it’s called Joe Pool Lake, named after a bloke of the same name. Joe Pool – even sounds like someone you’d share a pint of bitter with in a Yorkshire pub!

And finally, the people are sooo friendly and total strangers will talk to you as soon as look at you. I was in Walmart lastnight and a lady in the queue behind me asked: “Where y’all from?” The very same thing could happen in Barnsley (but with different colloquialisms, of course!)

One BIG difference is the texan flora; no sycamore trees or privet hedges to be seen here:

Thanks for reading; I’m wondering if this might just be the first time any blog has ever compared these two parts of the world…

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 21-04-2009

The blog is back AND Rob’s in Dallas, Texas!
Yes, I flew in yesterday for two weeks’ training to become an arts consulant, whatever that means!!


This is where I’m training/living. The weather is GREAT and, apart from the jet-lag, everything is going swimmingly. This is my second time in the USA – click here to read about my first visit in 2006.

What do you know about TEXAS???

I knew very little, but was expecting to see oil wells everywhere, but there are none to see in this part of the state. The texan flag looks like this, which I almost mistook for the Chilean flag:


Finally, the official state flower of Texas is not the yellow rose, as I imagined, but the bluebonnet, a member of the lupin family. Here’s what they (and I) look like:


That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. The blog is now back and Mali is on the horizon! Watch this space…