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united states

Graffiti in brooklyn

2Summers in New York City

I took an Amtrak train from Baltimore to New York City. Upon arrival, I climbed from the depths of Penn Station up into the forest of skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan. I walked to the taxi stand and told the first driver in line that I needed to go to Brooklyn. My cab driver, a friendly young man named Mark, was a New York City original. Mark told me about his troubled childhood, how much he loves the bible, and how he “used to be gay” before discovering Jesus and starting a new life as a straight man. I learned all of this, and more, within 90 seconds of getting into the cab. “Can you hear me back there?” he called, peering in the rear-view mirror. “Move over a bit so I can see you.” Mark spent the remaining 30 minutes of the drive imploring me to read the bible. My guess is 99% of his passengers shut him down rudely (which I was tempted to do), or simply ignore him (which I was also tempted to do), and he was excited beyond belief that I was even listening (I was being polite, and maybe a little curious). I wasn’t sure how to respond to […]

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American flag at Dulles Airport

My America: A Gratitude List

It’s 1:36 a.m. and I’m at my desk, staring at my computer. This never happens. The reason it’s happening now is because: 1) I’m jet-lagged; and 2) I’m sad. I doubt I’ll be sleeping for a while so I might as well do something useful. Two days ago I caught a flight from Washington D.C. to Johannesburg. It was the night before the American election. I arrived in Johannesburg a day later, Tuesday, while the election was still in progress. I couldn’t stay awake late enough to see the results — South Africa is seven hours ahead of the American east coast. But when I switched on my phone this morning, Wednesday, there it was: “Trump looks set to win presidency.” It’s weird that this happened just after I returned from a trip to America. I was shocked beyond belief at the headline above but I think the shock would have been greater — perhaps heart-attack-inducing — if I’d been living my normal life in Joburg for the last two weeks, with my head in the sand regarding U.S. politics. Even though I was there in America, watching hours and hours of news coverage and talking endlessly with everyone about the election for […]

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Anti-Trump signs

2Summers Reporting From Washington: A Trumpkin Halloween

I’m in the United States just in time for Halloween, and also for the peak of American presidential election madness. (Don’t worry, I’ve already voted. I dropped my absentee ballot safely into a U.S. Postal Service box last Saturday.) It’s quite a circus. I’ve been watching CNN for the past hour and other than commercials, there hasn’t been a single second of anything other than Donald Trump coverage. When my dad called this morning and told me Donald Trump was appearing at his new Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., I grabbed my camera bag and hopped on the Metro. I wanted to see some Trumpkins — the term Dad uses for crazy Trump supporters — with my own eyes. Trump’s new hotel is in the historic Old Post Office building, which used to house an eatery where I ate lunch back in the day when I worked in this neighborhood. Ben Franklin, America’s first Postmaster General. A Trumpkin from Manassas, Virginia. The sign in her right hand reads “Dogs for Trump”. The Trumpkins in attendance were mainly ladies. Sorry lady, I don’t think Maryland is for Trump. This lady frightened me the most because she seemed really normal. There were some male Trumpkins […]

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