Friday, September 07, 2007

Open for Business

Currently zig-zagging my way across the country (the United States, that is).Went from the Ozarks in Missouri to just south east of St Louis in Illinois. Today I went through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. I stopped by the Serpent Mound (a dirt mound in the shape of a snake in southern Ohio. Figured that since I'd been to Cahokia Mounds and Teotihuacan, I ought to swing by yet another Pre-Columbus Earth Mound). Finally, got to Parkersburg, West Virginia, where I am spending the night... and where I will latch every thing I possibly can on the door and then move the furniture against it.

No, it is not that bad. But I did have the, ahem, misfortune of having to follow 50 through the city/town. At one point I lost 50 and had to drive around looking for it. At first (in the downtown part of town), I thought the town might be kinda cute (Well, I saw one interesting looking building). But then I realized that there is no hope for this place. Parkersburg is a dying town--and it looks like it has had one of those agonizingly slow and painful deaths, where it keeps everyone up with its racking cough that shakes the whole house. Every house I drove past looked neglected--siding falling off, windows broken or covered with plywood, detritus in the yard... basically what one would expect in a dying town. But what freaked me out the most was the sense that the town in on the verge of lawlessness. (Of course, I could just be imagining this. Keep in mind that I had been in a car for 10 hours and was trying to find the road to take me to the hotel, so my mind was pretty much fried at this point). But watching young, West Virginian guys tear through the town in ancient, oversized pick-up trucks, taking over the roads--well, it left me with a sense that I had stumbled onto some post-apocalyptic scene (pair this with Letna Park from Prague and some places in DC and Baltimore, and you have just about any dystopic post-nuclear holocaust movie).

Anyway, tomorrow I will cross over into Maryland, then up to Pennsylvania to see my sister's new house (where I will crash on the floor or, if I'm lucky, a couch). After that, back to Maryland to the Eastern Shore and Mom's place, where I will take care of some last minute preparations for my upcoming trip to the Balkans, Greece, Istanbul, and Romania.

But now I think I am going to venture outside to walk over to the Long John Silvers to get something to eat. I've already eater wayyyyy to0 much today (cereal, string cheese, pound of grapes, entire packet of cookies, ham and cheese sandwich, slice of quiche...) but my stomach is growling, so I guess I need to placate it with something warm (and hopeful not too greasy, but I know better than to hope for miracles).

Oh, and I guess I ought to explain the subject line of this post. When you cross into WV, the sign says "West Virginia: Open for Business."

Kinda sad, isn't it?


At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

G'luck finding good eats and good good ol' boys on this leg of the trip. :)
Good luck finding 'em internationally. too. ;)


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