America gets a new president / Drive-in Movies

Trip Start Sep 17, 2006
Trip End Dec 23, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Friday, November 7, 2008

On Tuesday 4th November America elected a new president, the one and only Barack Obama. It’s significant for so many reasons. He’s the first black president in the countries 200 plus years of existence, plus it brings to an end 8 years of the not so popular Bush leadership. It would be easy to concentrate on the race aspect of Obama’s victory, but that aside he represents the hope of a fresh start for American’s in the 21st century. He has promised a new direction, and is pushing for a far more inclusive healthcare system, only time will tell how well he is able to fulfil his promises.

Looking at it purely in terms of race relations it cannot be underestimated how significant it is. In the newspaper today they reported that more than 50% of people think it is one of the top three most significant events for black Americans in the past two hundred years. Up there with that woman who didn’t give up her bus seat in the 1950’s (Rosa Parks), and the activists of the 1960’s. TV pictures showed current black role model Oprah Winfrey in tears, it obviously meant everything to her.

According to the newspaper nearly 70% of Americans think that this signifies the end of racial tension between blacks and whites in the USA. The paper reported that it’s almost like America has realised that it isn’t so racist after all, and it may well be that racial tension becomes a thing of history, over for good thanks to a great man who set an insanely difficult goal and achieved it. In 60 years time I’ll be very satisfied to be able to say that I was there when Barack Obama became the president of the USA in 2008.

I obviously didn’t get to vote, although some said I should have tried to! The days leading up to the election showed an increased margin for Obama, some polls putting him as much as 10% clear of the Republican candidate John McCain. I’ve no doubt that he was pretty relaxed as barring an inexplicable series of events he was always going to be president.

For election night we went over to Whitney’s friend Logan’s house, who is a staunch Republican. Inevitably this lead to him and Whitney arguing over never ending topics whilst I tried to concentrate on CNN! In the end Obama won by a country mile, and after an obviously pre-planned defeat speech by McCain he greeted the American public at precisely midnight eastern time.

During my final week in Lubbock I went to the drive in movies with Whitney. I’d seen these in US shows but had never been to or even heard of one in the UK. Basically we drove in to what was a large out of town series of fields. Three huge screens were positioned facing different directions, obviously so your attention is attracted to just the screen you are supposed to be watching.

We drove in and around to the field showing our movies. Then you had to kind of drive up onto a bump so that the front of your car was facing upwards. This gave a good viewing angle for the screen and meant that you weren’t simply watching the people in front of you eat popcorn. (I’ve added a couple of pictures from the Internet to show this).

You get sound by tuning into an FM radio frequency that’s playing the sound for your movie. This was simple enough to set-up and before long we were sat in Whitney’s car watching ‘Saw V’, a gory horror movie.

I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience, it really does work! The only slight frustration was having to walk about 500 metres to a building to buy food and to use the facilities. I had presumed that a food jockey walked between cars offering stuff for sale, however this wasn’t the case, at least here anyway.

We got two movies for $6 per person, so cheap compared to a normal movie theatre. Apparently they used to charge per car, but that lead to people cramming dozens of people in a vehicle, and the safety issues that brings for the trip to the drive-in! After ‘Saw 5’ came ‘Quarantine’, a movie about rabies. Basically the three screens were showing either action (Max Payne and Eagle Eye), teen (High School Musical 3, Beverly Hills Chiwawa), or horror (which is where we were parked facing).

If I had a spare field or two back home then I’d wack up a projector and give it a shot. I would imagine it’s cheaper to run than a standard cinema, as there would be no need to pay for heating or lighting, nor cleaners to clean seats.

On Saturday I fly to San Francisco, after what will have been six weeks in Lubbock. It’s been really good, as although Lubbock itself isn’t exciting, the people I’ve met have been great. Still, the show must go on, and if I’m going to travel around the globe then I need to keep moving.
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