Every road trip--heck, even while commuting to campus--I wonder with awe how this country became so rich, whereas the old country continues to struggle along even though it was once the richest country on the planet.
A long road trip gives me plenty of time for such deep thoughts ;) A man, a car, the road, and his solitude. This hermit loves it!
Only a few weeks ago, my blog-debate-partner went on his own road trip in the old country. He wrote about crossing the mighty Brahmaputra river. The logistics involved in that experience on the other side of the world easily demonstrates the immense material affluence here.
After paying a five-dollar toll for the privilege of using one of my favorite bridges, I exited on the other side to contemplate.
The road trip confirmed, yet again, that this is a phenomenally rich country; a land paved with the metaphorical gold. Perhaps it is because I am an immigrant here that I appreciate this much more than the typical native-born American does?
I stood for a while looking at the San Rafael Bridge and thinking about life. I thought about the affluence that came via a huge human toll that was paid for by Native Americans, African-Americans, Chinese-Americans, and more. I thought about the ease of my daily life now that was made possible by the pioneers of generations past. I owe them all. I owe them big time.
Later, at the motel, when I stepped out to get some fresh salty air, I struck up a conversation with an older gentleman with a well weathered appearance. "My wife and I are on a road trip from Tennessee" he said with a drawl and an accent that I thought had disappeared from this country. I struggled to get some of his words. "I've already seen people my age die or not able to move around, and I wanted to get a look of this country while I can" he added.
We talked some more about the places he has seen and I have been to. "There is one part of the country I don't care for" I told him. I know a honest man when I see one, and I knew I could talk frankly with him. "The desert of Nevada."
He agreed. "I don't get Arizona and New Mexico either" he said.
"I too don't care for that high desert."
But, I am glad that even that land is my land.