The Indianapolis bus-station definitely has the worst men's room of them all. I am not overly enthusiastic about the way someone has decorated most of the seats on this station with "A nigger will kill you soon!!", either.
I tried calling Cammy, the next sweet person to offer me a place to sleep in this world, but didn`t quite get the hang of handling the phone here, and ended up with talking to someone in Egypt. I think. That phone really knew how to swallow quarters, that's for sure. Oh well.
When I got on the bus in Louisville, I sat down next to a really, really old lady. As I usually do, I started talking to her and ask questions about this region, and soon we were chatting away about the places we passed, my journey and life in general. Her name was Patricia Strange, although I would rather use "remarkable" to describe her. 83 years old, she was still working in real estate. She had worked with real estate ever since she lost her husband 43 years ago, when she had to raise 5 children on her own. I was enchanted by her story, and promised to write her and tell her my conclusions about the US when I came back to Norway. Well, Patricia. Here they are. I hope you like them.
I`ve been outside and looked at Indianapolis famous something, a tall statue with some Greek or Roman fellow staring down at the passersby. Now I am concentrating on getting onto the right bus going north to Lafayette.
I haven`t written anything for a couple of days now, as I have been moving around a lot and/or been sleeping. So, I am catching up with you now. I did get onto the bus heading for my kind of Lafayette without any problem. I arrived at the Greyhound station in West Lafayette, which turned out to be the Purdue Airport, early in the evening. The phones were a lot easier to figure out here than in Indianapolis, so I pretty soon was in touch with Cammy. Goodie.
We spent the evening getting acquainted, and even without having known each other from before, I soon felt comfortable with her. We also went to the computer lab, so that I could catch up with e-mails to anxious parents and uhm... Things like that. I become more and more convinced that the computer-supply at Norwegian universities and colleges is superior to the American ones all the time. A Dec 1000 station was the most advanced box in the room, and otherwise there were mostly mediocre Macs. And this is Purdue, we`re talking very close to Ivy League, here. Oh well. I could do what I wanted on those pieces of hardware, so tish tish, never mind.
The next morning we threatened Cammy`s car to take us to Turkey Run State Park. It is a very good one. Due to some ancient glaciers, it is a lush miniature Grand Canyon with deep, narrow trenches. I`ve never seen this kind of rock formations before, and was fascinated for a couple of hours with them.
And then! My hostess totally unwarily put me into the world of KFC. Kentucky Fried Chicken, or just Yummy as I like to call it. Mmmm. And it is NOT fat-free. It's actually mostly fat, but still... Veeeery good. Where else can you get two breasts and a thigh for less than 8 dollars? Errrr.. Never mind. Still, I was a happy man after this meal.
I also discovered that the American way of eating at fast food places gives the guests the right to infinite free refill drinks. I have no idea why I hadn't found out earlier, but I was sure to take advantage of it when I finally did find out. I am pretty sure KFC lost money on feeding me that day.
Afterwards we drove back to Lafayette, where we went to Columbian Park, an amusement park of impressive size for a small city like Lafayette. It has a huge swimming pool, a zoo with a lot of animals, including the snow leopard and way to large snakes, a tivoli and a baseball park. I even got to see a real baseball match. Puerto Rico crushed Joliet 7-1. And I am sure they even had some rules for the play, even though it was somewhat hard to figure them out. And then it was no more Tuesday.
Wednesday morning we got onto the highway to check out Chicago, 126 miles away. Most of the day was spent at the museum of science and industry, and again I was impressed by an American museum. I didn`t think it was possible to use a whole room to explain how a WC works. I also "test-drove" an F14-Tomcat simulator and a Virtual Reality world. Interesting.
For a long time people I have talked to have bragged about the Chicago-style pizza (receipts anyone? Please??), so I early decided to try one of the specimen. We went to Domino's, and even if it wasn't the thickest Chicago- style pizza available, I definitely want to eat that again.
Having eaten, we drove north along the Lake Shore Drive, and personally I think Chicago has the most beautiful skyline of those I've ever seen. Driving in the dusk was close to magic. My pictures of the moment sadly became close to black. *shrug* But believe me, you should see this scenario for yourself someday. One likes Chicago, scenery-wise.
Oh, and I've finally found out where all those chunks of black rubber you see everywhere along the roads in the US come from. It is so much cheaper to buy tires of low quality that the transport trailers going long-distance use two of those instead of one of good quality. Eventually the tire wears out and loosens from the wheel, and that is what you see along the roads. Really. I saw it happen. The driver didn't seem to worry too much about it, he just pulled over and put a new tire on.
It got very late before we came back to Lafayette, as some of the roads we used didn't go exactly where we wanted them to. Americans have toll roads too, but they usually pay way less than a dollar at them. Just south of Chicago there was one place where we payed 10 cents. Seems almost comical to put up 10-12 booths just for that. Oh well. Stunt drive Cammy did very well, and in the end we both managed to get home before we fell asleep.
Having gained consciousness again, I called the 1-800 Greyhound schedule and found out I'll probably spend a day in Minneapolis on my way to Seattle. Sounds great. I did get a good look at the Purdue campus and a good explanation of how the sororities and fraternities system works. The major difference seems to be that the fraternities are allowed to arrange nifty parties with lots of alcohol, while the sororities have to worry a little about the consequences of what they do.
I also checked out the sports facilities, which were rather impressive. What was even more impressive was being at the workout session for the cheerleaders of Purdue Boilermakers basketball team. #:D) Somewhat interesting.
Anyways, Cammy got me onto a bus, and I'm now staring onto endless miles of Indiana corn fields, on my way to Chicago again, where I'll have to be incredibly quick if I am to take the first bus going west...
(C) 1995 BC Tørrissen