Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election fever

Literally, in my case! I'm glued to Helen's computer in Seattle, watching the results as they come in, while I cough up a lung and sweat out some kind of cold virus. Not nice, but on the plus side it's only the second time I've been sick during my travels, and if I have to be ill, at least I'm doing it in someone's comfy home... till tomorrow anyway (I'll be back on the road - or ferry, anyway - and heading up to Alaska). Another advantage is that if the exit polls are correct and the Tories do well, I kind of want to be delirious.

In other news, I've just returned from Spokane, where I was visiting friends I met on a cruise in New Zealand (I love travelling!). Don, Nancy, Janet and Brian were incredibly welcoming, and treated me like a queen (of England)! They even threw an all-American barbecue for me, with cheeseburgers and apple pie, and invited the neighbours round. It was a totally different experience from the rest of my travels, and great to see the other side of America (I've been in the big cities and doing the common tourist trail; Spokane is far inland in Washington state, close to the Idaho border, and my friends live in Republican suburbia). Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and though we didn't always agree politically, it was interesting (and salutary) to hear other views. And in addition to three days of lovely hospitality, I got to see Deadliest Catch - a reality TV show about Alaska fishermen, following five ridiculously manly and tattooed fishing crews as they go their storm-toss'd and cussing way across the Bering Sea. Just fabulous.

And all that testosterone lies ahead of me - the ratio of men to women in Alaska is five to one, apparently, and I may yet meet a man who wrestles bears in between taking off bottle tops with his teeth. Or not. I suspect the trip may be more about the scenery than the (human) wildlife! But before then the UK will elect a new parliament (and government) - and I've still got hopes that it won't be a Conservative one. Whatever happens, I'm incredibly cheered by seeing lines outside polling stations, even if - disgracefully - too many of them couldn't cast their votes. How can you get people to participate in the democratic process if they can't be sure their vote will be counted?

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