Although he had been to our wonderful country before, my good friend Alban (who hails from Kosova) perhaps had not gotten to see some of the things that make this country Truly Great. Sure, he'd seen the Statue of Liberty, walked the Freedom Trail in Boston, and attended Microsoft's annual Techfest event outside Seattle, but I think there were some more fundamental things he had yet to experience. That's why when he came to visit we:
1) Went to see the guns at Wal-Mart. Unfortunately for Freedom, the Mountain View edition of our favorite retailer has apparently pulled firearms from its shelves. However, Sam Walton's teaming progeny of backwoods billionaires did not completely disappoint as the Wal-Mart in Mountain View still sells bullets. But not just any bullets. Hollow points. But only for rifles, so that makes me feels safer.
2) Went to Ross ("Dress for Less"). Ross sells clothes for prices unseen anywhere outside of factory outlets in China. And for Alban, who had been living in England the past four years, I thought it a good place to go as the combination of American-sized clothes at rock-bottom prices
would show him what us Americans are all about: being big/fat and getting good deals. He tried on a "medium" shirt - the size he usually wears in England - and the sleeves hung well over his fingertips and the shirt bottom went almost to his knees. We also saw some size 18 shoes, too.
3) Went to public libraries. We visited two libraries during his visit. The Huntington Beach City Library and the Los Altos Library (part of the Santa Clara County system). While the HBC library took top honors for design, Los Altos took the more important prize: the one with the most DVDs and videos. The library's not just for the literate no more! I love this country and I'm pretty sure Alban did, too.
4) Hooters. At NOE's insistence we went to Hooters in Santa Monica. It certainly is a part of Americana, but with beer at $20 a pitcher and no one having a raging 80s fetish we left disappointed.
5) Venice Beach. Another disappointment at the Southern end of our state. Muscle beach was some fat guys and a weirdo in a leopard print speedo (no, it wasn't NOE). The basketball was one of the poorest quality games I've seen and no White Man Can't Jump-esque hustling, either. However the homeless guy holding a sign that said "Fuck You" made it worth the trip.
6) Jamba Juice. Perennial favorite of all Left Coasters. Good stuff.