We could certainly feel the excitement in the city caused by Democratic National Convention. The ubiquitous police, Bernie Sanders protesters, delegates dressed in red, white and blue and extremely hot temperatures created a frenzied atmosphere. We spent the morning in our hotel near the airport because the kids wanted to swim in the pool. With my Bernie Sanders t-shirt, I was mistaken for a Connecticut delegate by the Georgia delegates, both delegations were staying in the hotel. An odd pairing with Georgia being heavily Clinton and African-American and Connecticut being a majority Sanders and white. I entered many conversations with delegates and others because of my shirt. Everyone we met in the hotel and city were super friendly, reminding me how nice Americans are and how nice it is to speak the language fluently. In Japan I am handicapped with my limited Japanese. We didn’t see the reputation of the Philly sports fans as being rude. Most locals took pride in the city and enjoyed living there.
I loved Sanders’s convention speech last night. He rose above the egos and name calling of the campaign to bring out the important issues of rising poverty, income inequality and the plight of the middle class. I hate to see good, hard-working people struggle in our society. Sanders is the only candidate that is not a multi-millionaire/billionaire who I believe really cares about people like me. After seeing the stark contrast between rich and poor in the Lehigh Valley, New York City and Philadelphia this month, I feel the government needs to get them closer to the well-off for a healthy America for everyone. We saw the rich/poor divide manifest itself in the city yesterday. The only people out in the intense afternoon heat yesterday were European tourists, the homeless and us!
“Philadelphia is a nicer New York City” was a quote by Owen as we explored more parts of the city in the afternoon. Flanked by the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, the spacious Benjamin Franklin Parkway green area, combined with the classic architecture of the museums and colonial buildings, makes for an impressive and relaxing big city. We managed to complete the “Rocky” training run up the steps of the art museum. The heat limited more exploring. To and from the central business district, we took the train, which was in sharp contrast to Japan. Many trains were late, tickets were sold by hand and it was generally disorganized. They have a long way to go to make public transport a viable alternative to private transport in the USA in my opinion. I was also disappointed in my morning run around the hotel. Despite the presence of a bike lane on the four-lane road outside the hotel, the intersections are not designed for pedestrians or bikers for that matter. With all of the space in America, it would be so easy to make the city walker/biker- friendly.
A summer thunderstorm delayed our flights to Las Vegas, but we made it out safe and sound. It was a strange morning drive on the strip this morning in the rising light of the desert. More posts to come on Nevada/Utah.