Monday, August 29, 2011

Back From D.C.

Summer 2011 is almost over. Where did it go? I just got back from a vacation to Washington D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. I was suppose to fly out to the west coast but hurricane Irene ruined that. So as for my trip to D.C., I can say that for sure, I'd rather live in New York. D.C. is the political capitol of the U.S. of course, and with that comes a bit more of a straight laced, button down culture.

Now I didn't explore the whole city, and stuck mainly to the downtown touristy areas. I saw the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Memorial, the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the White House. I also took a walk downtown during the middle of the day. It's nice to see all the historic monuments that I've seen so many times on T.V. in person.

It is amazing how geographically close NYC is from "the South". The Mason-Dixon line is actually the southern border of Pennsylvania and is considered the cultural boundary of the north and southern U.S. and was also the line that divided the slave states and the non slave states for much of the 1800s. It lies a mere 120 miles southeast of Midtown Manhattan.

South of the Mason-Dixon line, exists the southern culture of which many northerners know from stereotypes. While I was in rural Virginia, and West Virginia I saw the southern country lifestyle up close in person. I went to a Casino in Charles Town West Virginia, where you can drink, smoke, gamble and maybe even meet a prostitute in the same room. I actually won 30 dollars gambling on the slot machines, the only time I think I ever gambled in a casino. In Virginia, I got cursed at by a redneck for hitting his car when I opened the car door in an IHOP parking lot. I got many stares at various places whenever we went out to many places. I never felt uncomfortable to the point of feeling unsafe, but did not feel like rural Virginia could be home to me. My friend says he feels at home down south and he's an ex-New Yorker. Go figure.

I did learn that in the south, different towns have very different feelings and cultures towards race. Where one town might frown upon an inter-racial couple, another town miles away would have no problem. In other words, communities must be judged on an individual basis. That is something I failed to consider.

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