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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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 Travel Diary : United States (Part 1: Texas)

Ahahah! It is by Texas that I am wishing myself a warm welcome in the United States! The Texas, its barbecues, its southern hospitality, its “Lone Star” its... well, well, well...

Texas, putting aside the touristic brochure, it is really something else, We are going to talk about it, develop it, and we will try to take the right fron the wrong.

We are going to start this explanation about United States by Texas. Not that this is my favorite State or that this is the biggest, but simply because I entered the country of Uncle Sam by the State of Uncle Bush Junior.

To be honest, I think that Texas is far to be the less interesting place in the world. For several reasons, good or bad, I can say that I haven't been bored... Nevertheless, Texas is officially only a State of a country... It is like if the Poitou-Charente in France was internationaly known (even if Segolene Royal is doing her best in this way).

Known why?

Texas is the second largest State in the 50 that United States of America has (after Alaska of course).

Size, Texas is known with his deal with the sizes, especially if this one is bigger...

In 3 weeks spent in Texas, I could discover a kind of mini-nation in a nation. A kind of Catalona of United States maybe? Not really...

Texas seems to be proud of its difference, this is this one that we will try to discover in this introduction in the universe of Mister Walker, the Texas Ranger.


Texas: “Very Very Very”!!!

Yes very, very... I guess the etymology of the word “very” comes from a place close to Texas.

My first message of welcome, I could read it on a sticker saying:”Texas, the biggest, the greatest”.

Ah, it is from Houston that the Control Station was while the first man Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon for the first time in 1969... So this is with pride and a feeling of elitism that I step for my first time... in Texas.

Very, very, this is for example the Capitole of Austin. The Capitole is the main governmental building of a State in the United States, in some words.

The most known Capitole is the one of the capital Washington DC. The Capitole of Texas is the biggest one after the one located in the new residential city of Barack Obama.

The Capitole of Texas, in Austin: very very big!


The State is the most populated, after California, with around 24 millions. This is not very surprising when we see the size of the cities in Texas... Let's see, we have Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and the texan capital Austin... which is surprisingly the smallest of the four.

The “skyline” of Dallas

A unique identity


The “Lone Star”...

Texas, this is the Lone Star State... which will anyway be just one of the fifty on the flag of the United States. We can find this one on the flag of Texas, which we can find pretty much everywhere in the State of Texas. Where we can see most of the time of flag of United States in the rest of...United States, we will see the “Lone Star Flag” in Texas. We will see it as a flag, or as a “sticker” or here as an arbour.

The “Lone Star” is here once again, this time as an arbour


However, the most beautifuk star that I have been able to see, it wasn't in the sky, it was in Austin. Yes, like that, I was walking in the downtown area and, what can I see in front of me? A “Lone Star” Yes! I can say that this one was pretty big (argh, yes this is Texas) and shining through the day like the one we can see in the sky!!

The “Lone Star” of Austin, in Texas


You will never believe me for the next one... That was a 4th of July, I was walking in the city, because it was a firework. The 4th of July is indeed the independence day in the United States. Well, when I was heading back to the place where my host was staying, quietly walking, my eyes had been attracted by something... on the head of a lady, a pack of beers.. and I let you guess what was written on it: “Lone Star”!

The Lone Star, there again and again

 

Cow-Boy and Barbecue

Yes, many Western Movies had been been shooted in Texas, this is not so surprising to see all those Cow Boys hats on many heads.

In Texas, there is an impressive number of lands occupied by huge ranchs (yes, Texas I know), which are used to keep the cattles. The Kind Ranch in Texas is for example one of the biggest in the World with almost 3000 km2 of land.

The Texan Barbebue, impossible to miss it! This meat cooked at firewood has a very special taste... and this one depends of the wood of course!

The TexMex cuisine has of course its importance and I have to admit that this is already very far of the traditional mexican cuisine. I would say that TexMex is an american version of the mexican cuisine in short.

 

Hitch-Hiking in Texas

I would say that the level of easyness for hitch-hiking in Texas is just before Italy... Italy coming for me at the last place to hitch-hike in our planet so far. Yes indeed, hitch-hiking in Texas is not something that I would advice to everybody, at least I doubt that I would do that again one day...

Even if some nice people stopped to help me to go further a little bit and to cross this huge State, I had to wait many hours to find them.

An example: From the border-town of Laredo to San Antonio, a distance of approximatively 150 miles, I made it in 3 days and 2 nights... that I had to spend outside along the road.

Hitch-Hiking in Texas, we wait, we wait... and we wait


By the way I egalised my record of waiting in this State: 7 hours. Anyway, waiting was not the worst of the things because I have this chance to have time. I would say that I have not been especially very nicely welcome but the destiny came to give some lessons one time... and it gave a story quite astonishing:

“In Dallas, I was using my signal “World Tour” that you can see above. I was situated at one entrance of the Interstate where the vehicles were arriving very slowly.

At one moment, I heard a loud noise of car crashing. I look around and at 5 meters from me, a car crashed in the car ijust in front of it. I went there to see what happened and I ask to the driver what happened. This one, a young guy, a my biggest surprise, told me that everything was my fault. Indeed, as he saw me hitch-hiking, he wanted to swear at me (according to his own words) and he looked back at me for that. Unfortunately, he didn't see the car stopping in front of him...”


Although there are still some nice people, as in every places on this world I repeat... I have to say that I didn't feel that they were in majority in Texas.

Then, in Texas, only the camping-car should be called “Hitch Hiker”

 

Austin, like an island in the middle of the texan ocean

However there is a place that I liked in Texas, this is its capital Austin.

Austin is a student city, very dynamic. It is said that Austin is the city with the most live concerts in the world, with 200 venues daily!

The downtown of Austin, with me in front of :)


“An island in the middle of the texan ocean”... I would say that Austin is very different from the universe surrounding it. Austin seems to be very much more open-minded and tolerant than the rest of the State. By the way, there is a saying in the capital of Texas to “Keep Austin weird” which is a kind of cap to keep in this city... which is a proof of the difference with the rest of the State which is more conservative.

 

The history in Texas

Not the less interesting place, I come back on my words in the introduction. Texas has its history, its very different culture. We have to know that Texas has been its own nation (1836-1845) and was also part of Mexico at another period... which is leading to different influences of course.

You have maybe heard about Fort Alamo, which is an important building in the History of Texas. In Fort Alamo, it has been a fight between the mexican army and the american resistance led by Davy Crockett, who was approximatively 30 times less and who fought for 13 days. This fact or war led to the independence of Texas in 1836.

Fort Alamo, situated in the downtown of San Antonio


In Texas, like in the majority of the United States, it seems that we are watching in this direction to see the happening of current major facts in the History of the World.

A fact or an action coming from the United States has often an exterior and international influence.

An election is an important moment in this country, or the changing of a president, like the one which happened after the assassination of Kennedy in 1963.

Why am I quoting this historic fact? Because this one happened in Dallas, in Texas. This fact is an important moment in the History of the United States.

In Dallas, the memorial of John Fiztgerald Kennedy, murdered in 1963, by a shot of sniper.


Texas is a State apart in United States. I was saying that Austin is a kind of island in the middle of Texas but Texas is itself an island in the middle of this North-American nation.

Promoting its culture and its feeling of texan pride, I was not feeling as welcome as that.... like if the fact to not be texan could endanger Texas by my presence.

However, it has been an interesting experience. I hac a cultural shock after Mexique and several months of developing countries. Rewelcome in the western countries, which are of course less welcoming than our african and central-americans neighbours. Maybe this cultural shock didn't help in my feeling of texan welcoming, but you will see soon that it has been quite different in the other States I have visited in the US.

Indeed, I kept going and I finally succeeded to cross the texan State by hitch-hiking....to discover another part of the United States, which is very different from Texas... by keeping going towards West, the Far West... This will be the subject of the next newsletter, which will be published in the nest few days.

See you very soon,

Jeremy

 



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