When I woke up this morning thinking about where to drift off to this AFK Thursday, I realised it’s been over three years since the last time I visited the US, though Frank has travelled there several times since. For the past couple of years, Hong Kong simply won me over with their ridiculous abundance of great food. But considering how much I love the land of the free (refills), another road trip is in the works for 2017. Until then, let’s talk about our last roadtrip: country music, trucks, chicken-fried steak and going to hell!
Listening to country
My first time in America was a long, long time ago, visiting my family in a beautiful, remote area of Minnesota. My last time in America was in 2013 on a road trip through (more or less) the Deep South: Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. So no cool and hip cities like New York or San Francisco for me, but I’m enamoured with the America I’ve seen – even the highway billboards telling me I’m going to hell. It just seems very exotic to me.
The long hours in the car were spent staring out the window, passing by countless little churches and listening to country radio. I was never a fan of country (“…who is?!”, I thought), but I’ve grown to love those songs about trucks and beer and blue-collar life. Seriously, look me in the eye and tell me this isn’t the greatest song you’ve ever heard in your life. And yes, he is singing “red red red red red red redneck“.
Piggly Wiggly: the father of grocery shopping
I love foreign grocery stores, as they give you a peek into the life of the locals. And Americans happen to have the largest supermarkets, stocked with whatever your heart desires. Capitalism at its best.
We came across a Piggly Wiggly, and it turns out it’s thanks to them that we do our grocery shopping the way we do today. Back in the day, people used to tell the clerk which products they needed, and the clerk would gather everything for them. Piggly Wiggly was the first self-service grocery store, the first place that had things like shopping carts, checkout stands and price marking for individual items. We unknowingly stumbled upon a piece of American history!
American Southern cuisine
And then there’s the food. When you travel through the south, there are some things you need to eat, and we happily obliged: the best fried chicken in the world, chicken-fried steak, cornbread, mac & cheese, collard greens, grits… I have no doubt it took years off our life, but it was worth it. We’ll have to go back next year to further shorten our lives and report back with a Daily Delicious Soul Food Special!
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Of course, we did a lot more during our road trip – we saw giant rockets at the Kennedy Space Center, met Jack Sparrow in Disney World and we got engaged in a charming bed and breakfast in Birmingham, Alabama. But here’s the America you don’t see so much on tv, and I love it.