What I saw, what I heard ...

America's divisions: what people were telling me in 2019

‘I am amazed that all the hippies I grew up with are now voting for Trump. I think they are scared of immigrants, which is really sad. Here we see them as good labour’ – smallholder in Colorado


‘People are more open with their racism… Some folks get into the car and I have to reassure them – that I am a teacher and have a master’s degree’ - African American Uber driver


‘The one thing I can tell you about President Trump is that he is consistent – he does not lie’ – retired engineer


‘Most of my circle have got fed up with Trump. He has no moral centre … I wish he had grown up as a Scout: that might have made a difference’ - local historian and Scout leader


We want to make sure we are not living through the last days of the Roman Republic’ – Police Chief

'The interesting thing is going to be whether you make it' - an unnamed friend

'This is such a powerful idea, Tim, and we wish you happy trails and intriguing (and relatively safe) adventures' - another unnamed friend

'I wish you all the best in your new wacky adventure' - third unnamed friend 

How mobile phones have changed the Greyhound bus experience

One of the things I quickly found out was how differently people now behave while riding the buses.


In 1969 we got on the bus and talked. It was the time of the Vietnam war, and I spoke to veterans going to and from the field of battle, some in favour and some definitely not. I spoke to students from many parts of the world, to farmers and small business people and professional people like architects and teachers.


In 2019 it was completely different. As soon as people got on the bus - often before they had found a seat - they took out their electronic devices. They spoke to relatives in far-flung lands, but rarely did they speak to each other on the bus. 


Public discourse is not what it used to be.


'A lovely evocation of heady times in America' - James Naughtie

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© Tim Albert 2020