When backpacking around, the normal ice-breaker question is “where are you from?” following up by “where have you been so far?” and “where are you going next?”. When I, at the latter question, answer Wisconsin I get a big “WHY?”. The reason is that I was going to visit Amanda, a good friend I met in Turkey two years ago.
As elsewhere in the States I was in search of American Culture, and during those 4 Wisconsin-days I was closer to become “Borat” than I’ve ever been before: “Karl: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of NORWAY” Well, not in the way of a green tanga, but in many other ways!
First of all, Amanda works with a company called “Weathertight”, they exhibits their products on big State-fairs, hockey-matches and other events. Day number one I joined Amanda to her job that day at Wisconsin sport State fair. Seldom I’ve seen so many stuffed animal at one place! The on-site fishing pond also captured my attention! You could buy guns and rifles, or join a simulated boat-trip. I got to learn that you’re not really required to have a licence to drive an ATV or a moped (definitely bigger than the happy Norwegian 50cc). But I got the feeling, that it’s only off-road racing. Also, and this is for real – I spoke with an US official: You don’t need any kind of licence to handle a boat (all size whatsoever) in the state of Wisconsin – Good to know!
At one point I had a 15 minute conversation with the US Army, although I wasn’t too interesting after I revealed my citizenship. But I learned a lot of the US Army History, from the civil war till present day!
And shows! No state fair without shows! Lumberjack shows were highly popular, while people gave dogs running for plastic ducks big applauses. I was just amused by being there!
This was THE premium spot for people watching, not that I’m categorizing anyone, but the average person was white, man, in his 40s, with beer in his hand and with rather boring clothes. If I could observe his mind, he was most likely supportive to Sarah Palin as well. Please understand me, I don’t mean this categorizing in a negative way! I spent 4 hours at the Fair and spoke with a lot of interesting and great people, people that showed me the real American hospitality (in contrast to the US border officials). So no hard feelings folks!
The day after I supported the struggling US Postal system by shipping 8kg home to Norway, it was not cheap. But when you impulse-shop in Guatemala you got to take the consequences! I did 89,20 USD!
We also got surprised by a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Milwaukee. Strangely enough, I turned into a kid again when candy was thrown through the air! We also got green beads, bagpipe music and loads of riverdance (loved it!).
One day after, a new day of work for Amanda, at the Bradley centre for an ice-hockey match. Why not volunteer for Weathertight for an hour, I thought, and I did! When I left Norway in December I didn’t imagine that I was going to persuade Americans into filling out forms from a window company. But why not volunteer? They provided free ice-hockey tickets for me! Actually it was fun, just like sweet old days in BEST!
The Ice-Hockey match was good, 3 fights and decent pause entertainment. While everything finalized with a concert by the “Foreigners”. Apparently popular in the 80s. Thanks to “Kanal 24” (radio in Norway) some of their music lay in my hidden consciousness making sing-a-long possible.
My whole stay in Milwaukee was a perfect! Plentiful of American Culture! Amanda, thank you so much for hosting me! And thanks to all the people I’ve met!