US1 – Are you glad to be in America? (James Blood Ulmer)

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.

concrete ship wharf (pier) Aptos 818.JPG

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;

kettle beach house Aptos 818.JPG   P8070023.JPG

a jug from which waiters can pour water in three different directions, helping them squeeze their way round the customers.

multi spout water jug restaurant Santa Cruz 818.JPG

I’ve seen signs –

public sign bike railway tracks fall Santa Cruz 818.JPG(Santa Cruz; the cyclist who’s got their wheel caught in the railway track is wisely wearing a helmet) –

energy public writing CARPOOL IS 2 OR MORE PERSONS PER VEHICLE car San Francisco airport to Aptos 818.JPG(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) –

public sign LEAVING TSUNAMI HAZARD ZONE Santa Cruz 818.JPG(Leaving Tsunami Hazard Zone) –

public sign XING PED Santa Cruz 818.JPG(Xing ped – pedestrian crossing, of course).

As I was perplexedly photographing this rubbish bin at Capitola beach

public writing bin PIZZA BOXES ONLY Capitola 818.JPG

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.

PIZZA MY HEART takeaway queue Capitola 818.JPG

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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