Our passports were “stamped” and we entered America (The United States of America) on Monday 13 June 2016. The excitement was almost tangible as the boys have fallen under the “romantic vision” of America.
This country is huge, South Africa fits into the state of Texas, to give you a comparison. I decided from the outset to touch only on a couple of places, influenced by their curiosity on certain topics, but even this was too much for the short little week we had. We will revisit the remaining states soon.
- The Flag: The flag of the United States is commonly referred to as “Stars and Stripes” and “Old Glory”. Each of the 50 states is represented by a star on the field of blue. The 13 red and white stripes symbolise the original 13 colonies.
- The Navajo (pronounced Navaho): The Navajo are also known as The People or Diné. I read to the boys about their culture and arts and crafts, where it came from, a little bit of history, and of course their food. We spent one morning on The People, made some sand paintings and had fry bread, mutton chops, corn, goats milk cheese and various berries (South African, not Navajo’s) for dinner. There is also an interesting video that you can watch, to learn more about the Hardy People of Mother Earth.
- Texas – Cowboys of Old: Our next visit was to Texas … for cowboys of course! We first read a little about the original settlers/tribes of Texas, the Apache, Karankawa and Comanche People. It was interesting to learn that some people believe the original cowboys came from the time when Texas was part of Mexico. But if you are interested in cowboys themselves, look no further than this bit of information on their history, a round-up, cattle drives, and more. Cowboy information is never complete without a taste of traditional cowboy fair. We had some BBQ ribs, Beefy Beans, and in lieu of coffee, bought the boys coffee milkshake. Did you know that cowboys sang to their cattle to keep them calm at night? Listen to the Cowboy’s Dream.
- Of course Texas cowboys cannot be complete without trying out a throw or two with a lasso. Learn how to make the lasso knot – and practice, practice, practice. It isn’t as easy as it looks. I was just plain lucky to get the rope around one horn of our roping calf dummy on my first try. And lastly a look at A Day in the Life of A Modern Texas Cowboy – a video the boys enjoyed. Here is another Modern Cowboy talking about his life and family.
- Kansas: The state that their beloved Fred (Life of Fred Math) character resides in. Unfortunately we did not get to this state, but here is some interesting facts for you.
- New York – New York City: A visit to America has to include a visit to The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, or Ellis Island. Niagara Falls are also a must, but I want to include that with our future visit to Canada. Some Fun Facts about New York City. More information and some beautiful scenes from all around New York state.
- What was totally new for me, was learning about Ellis Island.
Ellis Island was the largest immigration station in the United States from 1892 to 1924. Over 12 million immigrants came through Ellis Island during this period. The island was nicknamed the “Island of Hope” for many immigrants coming to America to find a better life.
- Mount Rushmore: This was again a very short visit in which we learned more by watching this video.
- The Grand Canyon: Another one of the 7 Wonders of the World! Do you know that there is a Skywalk at a sight seeing point? Watch this video to fly over the Grand Canyon for a bird’s eye view.
- Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco: Why the Golden Gate Bridge? Because they have heard so much about it in so many movies! We started this Friday morning with a traditional Hangtown Fry breakfast, consisting of scrambled eggs with oysters and bacon. Take a walk on the bridge and enjoy the view.
Hangtown Fry, a Gold Rush favorite, combines scrambled eggs, oysters and bacon. The concoction originated in Placerville, known then as Hangtown. Sources credit the name to either a lucky miner’s idea of a luxurious treat or a condemned man’s request for a last meal whose ingredients were not easily procured.
This country, as interesting as it is, is just too big for a quick study. It deserves a lot more time to be able to take in a little bit more of the interesting history, traditions, and monuments.
Hope you enjoyed the tour with us.