If there’s one place in the world we all know, it’s America. Among the authors of the detective stories on my shelves, 38% are American. From a playlist of my “favourite tracks”, 43% have an American lead artist. On these measures, I’m as American as I’m English.
On the other hand, I’ve hardly actually been there. Only for work; and further west than Champaign, Illinois.
Now I’m at Aptos, CA, on the Pacific, starting a three week family holiday.
Aptos is “the place with the concrete boat” (concrete is what the boat is made of; it was grounded in the thirties as an extension of the pier; at last it is breaking up).
I’ve come across a kettle that booms like a foghorn when it boils and whose spout opens automatically when you tip it up to pour;
a jug from which waiters can pour water in three different directions, helping them squeeze their way round the customers.
I’ve seen signs –
(Santa Cruz; the cyclist who’s got their wheel caught in the railway track is wisely wearing a helmet) –
(Carpool is two or more persons per vehicle. At rush hour, only buses and shared cars can use the left hand lane. Imagine someone arguing that cars with fewer than two people should count) –
(Leaving Tsunami Hazard Zone) –
(Xing ped – pedestrian crossing, of course).
As I was perplexedly photographing this rubbish bin at Capitola beach
I heard the man on left say, to the woman with him, Wow these pizzas smell delicious. Down the road, people queued for takeaways from Pizza My Heart.