So, here I am in Raleigh, North Carolina. It all started when my boss said to me, "Do you have a valid passport?" Followed by, "Right, you’re having two days intensive training, and then going to run an incursion force of 10 Aussies at head office for two months.
I have been here now for two weeks, and have so far sent Aussies to such interesting places as Dothan Alabama, Cape Coral Florida, Calcasieu Louisiana, Arlington Virgina, Oakland California, Odessa Texas… Some have yet to come back. The poor chap in Dothan looks set to acquire a southern accent before he sorts out the customer down there…
I have to say that the Anzac spirit was really to the fore, Aussies seem to thrive on adventure. They just get happier and happier the more wierd places I send them. And are getting to the bottom of some pretty gnarly field-engineering problems too. I am proud of them.
My overall impression of America can be summed up by this quote from the movie "The Madness of King George." When the King realised that he had just accepted the Declaration of American Independence, he said to his advisor,
"Thousands and thousands of miles of streams and rivers and lakes and praries and forests and savannahs and mountains, and I have just given it all away."
It’s a big, rich, temperate, beautiful, wonderful country. And the people are good people too. They do trail running here, in the forests. It is so nice in the heat to be able to run free in the forest for an hour or so.
The closest that I have come to a diplomatic gaffe so far is when someone was suggesting that I might like to watch Duke play college football, and I said, "So long as I don’t have to party with their LaCrosse team." I didn’t realise that Duke was only 15 minutes down the road, and half the staff probably got their degrees there. Oops!