mercredi 29 juillet 2009

Road trip

Welcome to Oxford, North Carolina!

Despite the jet lag, my sister, mother and I are making our way by car into the deep south. We left Washington D.C this morning, stopped by Richmond, Virginia to see the grandparents, and are now in a motel in good old Oxford. Tomorrow, we hope to get to Atlanta in a timely fashion to visit with our cousin. So, I guess we could call this a family road trip! I haven't yet taken vast amounts of pictures, but I hope to catch a few roadside oddities along the way.

Unfortunately, the american landscape has gotten more and more uniform, with fast food restaurants and strip malls colonizing the road side. It's therefore less obvious to find small and shabby stores coming straight out of Thelma and Louise or Easy Rider. The film Broken Flowers might be a more accurate depiction of the contemporary road trip experience, since Bill Murray travels from state to state passing by the same chain restaurants and hotels.

But the South of the US remains specific to itself, especially with the singing accents and the affectionate politeness. "You take care, now, sweetheart" or " You're welcome, darling" are just a few examples of the southern manner.

And, although there is a sense of uniformisation, some quirky intitutions still remain. In Richmond, we had lunch in a diner called "Debbie's kitchen", where the owner was this trim lady with a patched eye, and the waitress a smooth blonde woman with a lovely smile. Seeing those two opposite characters, I was reminded of Carson McCuller's short story The Ballad of the Sad Café. And opposite the restaurant stood this general store, elegant and shabby at the same time.

I'll end this post with the anecdote of the day...: When checking into a motel for the night, my mother mentions that she lives in France, to explain something about her credit card ( the adress, probably). And, lo and behold, where else could the receptionist have lived from 4 to 9 years old but... Maison Laffite?

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