Beatty Lady wrote:
Welcome, gravelrash. I think it's so cool that someone from the other
side of the world feels such an affinity for the USA, and not only that,
but you're attracted to Death Valley. Do your friends think you're a bit
I've always thought Australia would be an awesome place to visit.. just
never had the opportunity, unfortunately. I know it has deserts, though,
and vast, beautiful wastelands..
Anyway, welcome to the board, and I'm looking forward to meeting you
when you're in the area next year.
Kit - thanks for the very warm words of welcome. The way things are panning out I think I might be able to pencil myself in for the next Spring Fling. That's the plan, anyway. There are going to be a lot of "once in a lifetime" experiences on my trip through the States and this will surely be another. There's a lot worse fates on the trail than falling into the hands of experts!
Your thoughts on Australia would not see you disappointed, if you were ever able to get over this way. It is a vast and awesome land, full of the many things that delight Panamint Valley types!!
I've been fortunate, over nearly 40 years of "scratching the itch", to have clocked up hundreds of thousands of miles in exploring its less travelled roads and by-ways and I feel very frustrated that there's so much more still to see. For all those miles, I've never been further into Western Australia than the edge of the Nullarbor Plain. However, Cooktown to Tasmania, Adelaide to Darwin - I've been very fortunate to cover a lot in between.
I know the "Panamint itch" you seem to be afflicted with allows you understand why I "had to do it"!
My affinity with America runs very deep. There's a lot of reasons and many of those are intrinsically tied up with the emergence of Australia as a confident and self-assured nation, a process I feel is still on-going.
The effect of being a small British enclave at the end of the world, tacked on to Asia almost as an after-thought, coupled with the traumatic effect of having been solely conceived as a penal colony and run as one, very brutally - those things really affected the collective psyche of the emerging country. There was a lot of baggage to deal with and Australia was very, very "schizophrenic" in it's early days, looking for an identity. "Who are we" was a very common point of debate and politicking.
Up to WW1/Great Depression there was no doubt - we were British and a part of England. There's a lot of reasons to feel this was just paranoia brought on by a sense of isolation and insecurity but we were
, demographically, over 90% Anglo Celtic at Federation, 1901. Our historians used to talk of "the tyranny of distance" as a reality that had a major influence on the new land.
WW2 - England showed it's contempt for us as a nation and virtually accepted the necessity for Australia to fall. They stated that our duty was to protect England first and bugger the Japanese knocking on your door. The military bungling and arrogance of the British generals led to massive resentments here.
One of our
Generals virtually mutineed, in India, which saved the country from invasion. My father was wounded in the defence of Darwin, so it's a matter of great interest (and pride) to my family, how close we came.
The Battle of Midway and, more importantly to us, the Battle of the Coral Sea really saved Australia from the imminent invasion.
The attention of many Australians, previously divided, switched firmly on to the USA after that. England had betrayed us, America had not.
In my family, as for many, many other Aussies, that has never been forgotten.
I was born on Hiroshima Day, 1952.
My thoughts on the "nuke issue"? I'm glad "we" have them, not "them" and can we please borrow some if needed?
TV came to Oz in 56. I grew up on a steady diet of Donna Reed, My Three Sons, Leave it to Beaver and Andy Hardy (God I loved Andy Hardy films!), Our Gang etc, but more importantly.... the Westerns! So many, too many to mention, but I spent a lot of time in the old west as a boy!
Vietnam was the crucible for me. I didn't go, as my number didn't come up, but it radicalised all opinion here and I emerged, a few years later, not convinced America was an ogre!
Still don't believe it.
As you can see - I have opinions on this subject!! I'll leave off by saying my love of research/history and the cultural "apologetics" I've developed over 20 years as an ESL/TOEFL teacher has me more firmly convinced in the goodness of the Anglosphere than any of the 'evil' it's critics throw up.
USA???? I'm a fan. Last shot of this gun - remember 9/11 and who did it.
B.t.w - I actually DO KNOW HOW
to relax around a camp-fire, so don't be afraid I'll start spouting politics when we meet up!
I hope you are out in the desert this weekend. I have visitors and we are going ghost-towning!