Or Wales for that matter?
Here I am in a hotel in the States, getting a shuttle bus every morning into a university where we’re having the meeting. This morning a bunch of us missed the first bus and stood outside in the frosty morning waiting for the second. ‘Is it far?’ we wondered. ‘Oh no, not far at all,’ the doorman assured us. ‘Could we walk?’ we asked, aware that we might have drunk too deep at the well of the All We Could Eat Breakfast Buffet that morning and a bit of fresh air and exercise would do us good. ‘Walk?’
Walking, apparently, was not a good idea. It wasn’t the distance so much – a few jumbo sized blocks, but not more than half an hour’s trek – but the lack of pavements (sorry, ‘sidewalks’) to walk upon. Apparently three pedestrians were killed here last week by drivers who weren’t expecting them to be there – no doubt all visiting European researchers trying to walk off the effects of eating a meal that could kill a family of four in Africa. Pedestrians here are like cyclists in London – not exactly legitimate targets except to the more excitable kind of driver, but certainly unexpected and hence invisible especially in the further reaches of the suburbs.
Now it’s true that Brits like to poke fun at Americans for being fat, just like Americans like to poke fun at our teeth, but the truth is I stand in awe at any American (or at least, resident of America outside of the East Coast) who _isn’t_ fat. How do they manage it? I have been known to put on weight just breathing in the cinnamon-scented air at the airport. The only thing that keeps my figure as svelte-like as it is* is walking everywhere I possibly can, and only buying one packet of biscuits at a time. Yet the majority of Americans (by count if not by volume, anyway) are actually normal sized if not positively petite despite driving everywhere and regularly eating portions that are bigger than their head. Incredible
So now, about those teeth …
*and believe me it is very svelte