The onset of winter............
01.11.2008 - 13.11.2008 5 °C
And life carries on in Iowa. Bec has a job as a waitress (which is ironic given how uncoordinated she is) and is finding it very entertaining. She's had to learn what links, biscuits and Mr Pibb are in a breakfast context (sausages, scone-type things and Dr Pepper respectively) and finds it very amusing that most of her customers think she is British. She was particularly pleased when complimented on how good her English is 'for an Australian'. Why, thank you!! Glenn has traded in the hire car for the company car and we've now joined the ranks of American SUV drivers. The car has Arizona plates on it which come in handy when we're lost on back roads.
We took a trip to the Amana Colonies, a group of small towns of German heritage, and sussed out their version of Oktoberfest. We (ok, Glenn) took part in the keg tossing competition and partook in a beer or two. We kept it fairly tidy on the basis that it might be a little too cold to sleep outside the beer hall or even in the car due to a lack of hotel rooms in town.
Fun and games at Oktoberfest
Halloween decorations had been in the stores since the day we got here, so on Halloween night we got in the car and drove to a kid-filled neighbourhood. Well, there were hoards of kids everywhere dressed as anything and everything from PowerRangers to election ballot boxes. Lit pumpkins lined the streets, some of them very intricately carved. The amount of candy some of these kids collected would be enough to keep them high for two solid years.
We finally managed to get ourselves to a college football game. The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is just up the road from our hotel and every weekend the place fills to capacity with purple-clad UNI Panthers fans. We were astonished to learn that there seems to be at least 60 players on a football team and that a 15 minute quarter actually goes for about 45 minutes!! A group of ten year-olds sitting beside us gave us a much needed five minute tutorial on the rules of American football which, unfortunately, still wasn't enough to keep us interested past the third quarter. Ice hockey season has just started so maybe we'll have a better attention span there.
Action in the UNI-Dome
Winter has crept up on us here in Iowa and is adding a whole new dimension to our trip. Last Wednesday the weather was a sunny 23 degrees celsius. Two days later we got a dumping of snow and a maximum temp of 1 degree celsius!! The fall colors in the lead-up to winter have been absolutely stunning and ride-on mowers have been replaced by snow plows in neighbourhood driveways.
Fall colors in a local park
Silliness in a local park
And a few more fall colors, just because they're pretty!!
It's only early days yet, but winter here seems like way too much effort. Put on three jackets, one scarf, one beanie and one pair of gloves to walk to car in morning. Scrape ice from windscreen of car with hotel swipe card. Remove three jackets, one scarf, one beanie and one pair of gloves when car has become sufficiently heated. Arrive at office and put on three jackets, one scarf, one beanie and one pair of gloves to walk from car to office. Enter office and remove three jackets, one scarf, one beanie and one pair of gloves. Repeat in reverse for homeward journey.
The upside to all of this is that bikinis are really cheap which pleased Bec no end as she had to replace the one she daftly threw out in Vancouver (under the misguided notion that she'd be able to last a year without going somewhere warm). Bring on the Bahamas!!!