A few days ago I met Julia, an American on holiday in Ireland, who regaled me with her life story in about 25 minutes flat. Julia is a doyenne of a proudly Democratic Party supporting family, who now makes ends meet by selling hunters to Virginia blue bloods and playing polo at weekends. Whilst I have no problem per se with what she does, I'm not sure that playing polo is a way of engaging with her inner ghetto child. Detroit has declared bankruptcy recently, and I don't remember any talk of selling off their underused polo fields or their stable of thoroughbred hunters to balance the books.
Balance has been restored via Christine from Boston and Mike from Pittsburgh, home of the Steelers and the slightly more camp, Penguins hockey team.
Both have been travelling for several months, Christine is on her last few days and Mike plans to keep going.
I was chatting to Christine who readily admitted that some of her compadres can be at the high end of intolerable once they flee the shackles of home; but she feels it's part of a democratic desperation to be liked, the need to put the US world view and a genuine ignorance of the personal barriers the vast amount of Europeans erect, before we get to know someone.
Mike has been walking throughout Europe and is heading onto Asia. Likewise, he accepts some of the 'failings' of Americans on the road, but is pretty laid back about things. However, he will bend his knee to no man concerning the superiority of the US microbrewery business. He's also just finished walking the Camino de Compostela, where he attained a reputation for brewing coffee en route, hence the moniker, 'The Camino Barista'. He's as mellow a person as you're likely to meet, and he puts part of this down to his experiences on the Camino.
I generally steer clear of cliché ridden stereotyping, but sometimes its simply too true to ignore (or not have a little fun with!). But to Americans like Christine and Mike, wherever you maybe, I salute you!!