Things I Love About America #8

The Great Outdoors

First up, America is a very lardy nation. But don't get all smug ye Brits: you're catching up faster than you can say Sky-TV-and-Pie-and-Chips.

Second, for many Americans "environmentalism" is a filthy word, to be uttered only with contempt, like "France," or "Communists," or "John Kerry." Not all Yanks are like this, mind you. Headlife brings to your attention the Sierra Club's campaign to prevent oil-drilling in the Arctic reserve. Go granola!

But, caveats aside, America does the outdoors better than anyone. And they have a lot of it. And it's breathtaking. For this urban European, you cannot imagine the thrill of driving only one hour west of DC and arriving in West Virginia where there are nothing but trees, trees, and more trees. Not a house in sight. Repeat ad infinitum across the United States.

They also manage the outdoors brilliantly. The National and State Park systems are second to none. I dare say that even someone who has been indelibly scarred by camping or hiking in the UK on some soggy day would find the range of activities available in the outdoors here - from well-maintained trails, to cabins, to boating and rafting - to be tolerable, even enjoyable.

Here are my boys on the Appalachian trail. How I would love to hike the whole lot, from Maine to Georgia. So, well done America, we really like your countryside and what you've done with the place.

Intreprid Headlifers will note that #9, Drive-Thru banking was ommitted. That's because there's nothing to say other than in America you don't have to get off your fat arse to pay in a cheque. Wonderful!