Who’s gonna cook, clean and pick?

IMG_2968I’ve never used this forum to preach anyone’s political agenda, and I usually try to remain impartial to any policies that may affect me when travelling abroad, but in this case I’d like to offer my two cents on the illegal immigrant status in the United States.

Being Canadian and living in such close proximity to the U.S. we are bombarded with American news hourly, especially the everyday antics of their politicians and president. It was on our recent trip along Route 66, from Chicago to Santa Monica that I made certain observations and came up with one big question for any American who believe’s there’s no room in their country for illegal immigrants.

Who’s going to cook your meals, clean up after you, and pick your produce?

During our trek across eight completely different States I noticed something missing from common laborers ‘everywhere.’ There were no fat white people making my breakfast, cleaning our motel rooms, or picking vegetables in the fields. The only ones I saw were being waited on in places like Denny’s, where they were shoving massive amounts of biscuits and gravy or waffles and pancakes into their pie holes.

Whether they believed in deporting illegals or not, none of the white folk I saw seemed to have any problem whatsoever with who was putting their food in front of them or cleaning up after them. It was obvious that the younger generation only cared about the mobile devices they were fixated on and probably couldn’t have told you if it was a human or machine that served them.

So back to my question. If America is successful in kicking all the illegals out of their country who the hell is going to run the place? I wonder how many politicians have immigrants working for them at home? I’d bet there are more than a few. I’m just a bashful and passive Canadian. What do I know?

Road Less Traveled – Crossing America

IMG_4073Cathryn and I just completed Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. and a return trip across the United States on a more northerly route, racking up over 6,000 miles on mostly forgotten roads that were once the main arteries in America. As much as possible, we traveled the old U.S. Highway system that is still in use but often replaced by Interstate super highways.

Following Route 66 was like a cross-country scavenger hunt. We used a guidebook to seek out the old road or what’s left of it and eroding memorabilia from a time past and almost forgotten. Millennial’s have no concept of the road, and as folks our age travel to never-never land the sites and stories will disappear forever.

Continue reading “Road Less Traveled – Crossing America”

The Mother Road – Part 2 – Amarillo Texas to Santa Monica California

IMG_3354We started the second half of our westward journey on Route 66 on Sunday, June 16th, in Amarillo, Texas. Not too far out of town I had to throw out the anchor and do a u-turn to stop at the infamous Cadillac Ranch. For those unaware of the legend and song that refer to the unusual site, this one boasts ten old Cadillac’s that are standing on end, partially buried, looking like the American version of Stonehenge.

For years, tourists have been stopping at the eyesore or work of art, depending how you look at it, to spray-paint or write their names or whatever on the empty shells of the once-classic cars. We entered the field through a gate in the fence, careful not to touch it, since eager tourists start tagging right there. Every color of paint you can imagine decorated the gate, fence, and packed dirt path leading to the monument.

Continue reading “The Mother Road – Part 2 – Amarillo Texas to Santa Monica California”

Everyday People – Everywhere

IMG_2954 (1)Once again, while travelling Route 66 from Chicago to L.A., Cathryn and I have had our faith in humanity renewed. There really are friendly people left in the world, all you have to do is say hello and talk to them.

Who’d have thunk there’d be anyone willing to talk to you in a metropolis like Chicago – it’s one of those places you’re programmed to think that you can’t make eye contact with anyone for fear of them saying, “What are you looking at?” So much for preconceived ideas. Our first glaring example was at the Congress Plaza Hotel in the windy city.

Continue reading “Everyday People – Everywhere”

The Mother Road Part 1 – Chicago to Amarillo Texas

IMG_2950In 1926 new horseless carriages created a need for a network of roads for people to drive them on. Thus the federal highway system was launched with Route 66, dubbed The Mother Road or Will Rogers Highway, being the path west from Chicago to L.A. Folks were already heading west for land, jobs, and to find their fortune in one way or another.

Cathryn and I packed up the Impala and headed to Chicago on June 10th. We headed to Chicago, where Route 66 originates, and walked around downtown. A beer and a cheeseborger at the Billy Goat gave us the fuel to carry on and check out the Riverwalk. We had dinner and finished the night at Andy’s Jazz bar, a great send off from the windy city.

We stayed at the Congress Plaza, a beautiful turn-of-the-century hotel near the waterfront. Pete, the hotel security guard took us on a private tour showing us the first air-conditioned ballroom in the U..S. and a backroom where Al Capone hung out and played cards. Apparently him and Elliott Ness stayed in the same hotel at the same time, unknown to the Treasury Agent.

Continue reading “The Mother Road Part 1 – Chicago to Amarillo Texas”

Africa, One Continent, Many Cultures

IMG_2768 - CopyWe live in the center of the North American continent. It consists of two large countries, considered ‘westernized’ by the rest of the world. With the exception of some aboriginals in the far north, and perhaps a few other groups trying to cling to their heritage, I believe we share a similar culture. We are composed of different races, with different beliefs, but we share common goals like freedom and democracy.

In the last month and a half, Cathryn and I have experienced three distinctly different countries in the African continent. A drop in the bucket when you consider there are currently fifty-four countries. Planning this trip, I had three separate goals: to see something different for my sixtieth birthday and check off the pyramids of Giza on my bucket list. To break up the trip into three, using each location as a base for further exploration. And to work our way into a warmer climate to wile away the cold Canadian winter.

Continue reading “Africa, One Continent, Many Cultures”

Blue Gardens by Cathryn Gagnon

52441743_300856517281021_5527814237860134912_nWe have been in Kiwengwa, Zanzibar for four days now.  I happened to bring a few plastic shopping bags with me from Cape Town, which we used up in the kitchen waste container.  Suddenly, out of kitchen garbage bags, I began to panic.  So the search began. We looked in the one small grocery store here in town with no luck.  We even searched in Stone Town without success.  I asked Ed, “What do we do with our kitchen waste?”

We asked Carola, the guesthouse owner, and she told us that plastic bags are outlawed and/or forbidden in this area.  You simply cannot get plastic bags anywhere, you can’t even buy them.

She said that her parents visited eleven years ago and commented on the blue gardens along the roads and in the fields. They were littered with blue plastic shopping bags.  When they returned a year ago, they noticed that the blue gardens had virtually disappeared.

Continue reading “Blue Gardens by Cathryn Gagnon”