Trump and aliens: how a traveler from Russia struck Texas
They worship Trump and believe in aliens. The Russian went on a trip to Texas. What surprised him there, reports LENTA.RU.
Some American states are so different from others that many even consider them a separate country. These include, for example, Texas.
Its inhabitants are distinguished by radical moods and originality, and the landscapes resemble shots from old Hollywood Westerns about the Wild West.
War reporter Igor Rotar took a trip to Texas to find out if these stereotypes are true.
As the famous American novelist and Nobel Prize winner in literature John Steinbeck wrote, Texas is a nation in the full sense of the word.
“Despite the immensity of its territory, the difference in natural conditions and climate between individual regions, despite its internal bickering, squabbling and strife, Texas is strong in its rallying, and in this, any other part of America can hardly argue with it”, - argued the writer.
Many agree with Steinbeck unconditionally, but the reporter Igor Rotar has long wanted to be convinced by personal experience how much the reasoning about the exceptional breed of Texans is true.
Especially now, when the United States is split into two camps that hate each other, and the main stronghold of the “Trumpists” is just in Texas.
“The most convenient and interesting way to get from liberal California to ardent conservatives is by car - this way you can better trace the contrast between the territories. Alas, you can't get to Texas in one day, but it’s even better, because there are many exciting things along the way, ”the author says.
“I have lived in the United States for a long time, but I have rarely been in the so-called inland - inland, non-coastal regions of the country. It is these states that are considered the real land of redneck (redneck). The literal translation of the word is red-necked, in meaning it is close to the Russian “redneck”. So in the United States they call ordinary white villagers, as a rule, of extreme right-wing views, - explains Igor. - On the way from sunny California to sultry Texas, the typical Redneck republican Arizona and New Mexico are located. "
The author says that when you leave California, it is clear from the blue flags bearing the name of the former president, posters containing the words “Trump won”, as well as signs of farmers with more detailed text “Legally elected president removed from power and replaced by deep government with a jerk!” ...
“Let me remind you that the term 'deep government' is used by conspiracy theorists who are convinced that the United States is being secretly ruled by rapist Masons,” he says.
The journalist notes that there are many hotels and guest houses in Arizona, but it is more interesting to stay for the night in the Orthodox Greek monastery of St. Anthony, where about 50 monks live.
Of these, about a third are Greeks, the same number of Americans who converted to Orthodoxy, as well as Russians, Serbs and Romanians. A small settlement of 50 Orthodox families was formed near the monastery. Its inhabitants look very colorful: men wear impressive, thick beards, and women do not appear on the streets without a headscarf.
“At the service in the church, I was struck by a two-meter bearded hero, who came to the church with his sons, the weathermen, dressed in white shirts. Outwardly, their family resembled an idyllic grotesque picture of the life of the Old Believers, ”says Igor Rotar.
He found out that John converted to Orthodoxy from Protestantism, because he believes that Eastern Christianity is deeper. John explained that the difference is the same "as between a pool and the sea." Naturally, the neophyte supports Trump, and hates the Democrats, since they support the legalization of abortion.
“Soon I got tired of standing in the service and decided to take a walk in the desert at night. On the way back, I saw a Toyota Camry drive up to the parking lot, and plump Russian village women in headscarves came out. It turned out that they had come to listen to the Gospel, and it was already three nights on the clock, ”says the author.
State of green and red pepper
Igor Rotar says that New Mexico is often confused abroad with Mexico, which is why it is the only state where the USA is indicated on the license plate of the car.
In addition, he is famous for his mix of American, Mexican and Native American cultures. The pods of red and green peppers are considered the symbols of the state - gourmets from all over America come here to taste the unique local cuisine based on Mexican and Native American culinary traditions.
Founded by the Spaniards, the current capital of the state, the city of Santa Fe, is the oldest European settlement in the United States, but in fact, apart from the church of the XNUMXth century and several dozen houses of the XNUMXth century, nothing has survived here.
But this small cozy town is pleasant for its relaxed atmosphere. All the houses here are made of clay, in the style of the architecture of the local Pueblo Indians. In addition, the city has many art galleries, and the percentage of artists living in Santa Fe is the highest in the United States. It is believed that painters come here because of the special local light.
Not far from the famous European settlement is the village of Taos, and next to it is one of the oldest Indian reservations in the United States, described in the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
“This is not the first time I've heard about this place. The fact is that several years ago, in a remote village in Alaska, I stayed with an American, Ed, who was married to an Indian woman from this reservation. In his youth, Ed hippie settled here to be treated for heroin addiction, says the journalist. - He earned his living by making "Indian" souvenirs, and his lover sold them to gullible white tourists. Oddly enough, Ed recovered from heroin addiction (although he now uses marijuana) and moved to Alaska with his wife and children. "
And he continues: “They were the ones who told me a lot about the lands of the pueblo. For example, about the fact that the reservation, according to the decision of local residents, there is no running water and electricity - so the Indians are trying to preserve their identity. "
Igor says that the town of Taos was drawn by artistic bohemia about a hundred years ago, and then, already in the 1960s, by hippies like Ed. Therefore, over time, the town has become very fashionable and popular.
But he is famous, the author notes, primarily due to the fact that Russian artist Nikolai Feshin moved here in the 20s. Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov wrote about him and his wife in One-Story America. Feshin is considered one of the main attractions of the city, even in local cafes his paintings hang.
The author says that the artist's work was really highly valued among art representatives and collectors - even before moving, he sent his works to exhibitions in Europe, and they were instantly sold out.
True, the cultural community still cannot decide which country a talented painter belongs to. And although Nikolai lived in Russia for the first forty years of his life, Americans consider him their national artist.
At the same time, Feshin said that the decision to move was given to him very hard, and his best creative years were associated with Kazan, where he was born and raised. Nevertheless, emigration was inevitable.
“I felt like day after day I was uselessly losing my creative energy, since art was used only for propaganda purposes,” the artist recalled in his autobiography. - Everything was done in a hurry, and conscientious performance of the work was impossible. All orders were filled with such poor materials that, of course, the painting quickly deteriorated. "
Subsequently, the painter admitted that he misses his homeland and that the nature of Taos reminded him of the Russian one, and the Indians, in his opinion, were like the Tatars.
Visiting Indians and aliens
Unfortunately, due to covid, the Indian reservation near Taos was closed to outsiders. But not far from it was a Zuni Indian reservation, which could be visited.
The author says that she was nothing remarkable: a very poor area with a lot of drunks.
“The only thing that attracts attention is the Indian stoves on the street, very similar to the Central Asian tandoor, as well as posters warning that it is forbidden to film religious ceremonies,” the journalist said. "I was also struck by the evil dogs on chains near the booths, outside of the American Indian USA all dogs are usually kind and not tied."
“By the way, the Indians approve of the demolition of the monuments to Christopher Columbus during the protests that erupted in large cities in the summer of 2021. In their opinion, the navigator and discoverer was engaged in the genocide of the indigenous people, ”says Igor.
And he continues: “The wonders of the southern states do not end there. If you move further along the road to Texas, then on the way you come across the unusual town of Roswell, in which statues of aliens are erected everywhere. It turned out that in 1947 a ship with aliens allegedly crashed here. In addition, the locals believe that even today, guests from other planets periodically drop in to this place. That is why UFO fanatics from all over America flock here en masse.
“I never had a chance to see the aliens. Perhaps because I have been in Roswell for too long, ”says the author.
"We are more hospitable"
On the third day, Igor Rotar drove to the Texas border.
His acquaintance began with the Guadalupe Mountains Reserve, where the highest point of the state is located. Unfortunately, here he met not quite typical Texans, since he mainly had to communicate with mountain tourists, and among them liberals predominate.
“But there was still a difference: so, in the vicinity of San Diego on the mountain trails, there were only Democrats, and in Texas there were already half of them,” he says.
All of his new acquaintances called themselves Americans, but a little special, different from residents of other states.
“I think we are more hospitable, open-minded than residents of other states. Even our food is special. So, we really love tex-mex - a mixture of Mexican and American cuisine. By the way, did you know that the famous supposedly Mexican dish burrito was invented here in Texas? It was invented and transported on a donkey (in Spanish “brown”) by an old Mexican man, hence the name burrito, ”says programmer Michael from Houston.
At the same time, Michael believes that the Texans do not intend to secede from the United States, since the state has great ties with the federal center.
“Yes, we have extreme conservatives who want secession. But there are very few of them. Five percent, not more, ”he assured.
And yet one potential separatist Igor managed to meet - it turned out to be Bill, a 60-year-old owner of a small construction company from the vicinity of Dallas: “Of course, it is unlikely that we will secede. But if they continue to bring us with this covid, everything can be! ”.
Bill is convinced that covid is no more dangerous than the flu, and fears are artificially inflated by democrats and communists. The skeptic categorically does not want to be vaccinated, since "who knows what these liberals mix in the vaccine."
The outskirts of the Guadalupe Mountains are no less attractive for tourists - the stone blocks rising above the ground smoothly turn into endless prairies, almost without houses and people.
“I immediately recall the Texas cycle of stories by O. Henry, in which he described that it was to such places that fearless cowboys traveled,” writes Igor.
“However, I did come across small villages. One of them even had a restaurant. The owner of the establishment in a cap with the inscription Trump looked like a redneck, almost unreal in its grotesque, - says the reporter. - This almost square man was polite and quite talkative, but, unlike Californians, he almost did not smile. He explained that the locals do not live well, but they are very friendly: “If someone is in trouble, we always help. And we always celebrate weddings and funerals together. ”
- Does everyone vote for Trump here?
- No, only smart people!
Paradise for illegal immigrants
The next point in Igor's route was the Big Bend nature reserve, located exactly on the border with Mexico.
“During this trip, for some reason, I always remembered the old camp song:“ Five hundred kilometers of taiga, where there are no houses or villages. Cars do not go there, deer stumble about. " Cars here, of course, went, and on quite good roads, but for the whole day spent on the road, I met only two or three small villages, ”he says.
“In one of these, you can stumble upon religious activists collecting money to help drug addicted women. And in a local store, a man with a pistol on his belt helps to choose coffee - in Texas, unlike in liberal California, you can walk everywhere with a weapon, except for bars and schools, ”the author says.
And he continues: “I reached the Big Bend Nature Reserve only in the evening and spent the night at a camping in the desert. Its owner, former Marine Robert, sailed here 20 years ago by kayak from Kansas, having traveled more than a thousand kilometers by water. He lives in a trailer without a sewer, and uses water from a drilled well. Robert enlightened me about illegal migrants. ”
“The border river Rio Grande is quietly wading, so illegal immigrants love to cross the border here. A couple of times they even knocked on my trailer and asked for water. My policy with them is this: I will always give them water and food, but then let them act on their own. In general, don't be afraid of them, unlike bears (and there are a lot of them in the reserve) they are completely harmless, ”the Marine explained graciously.
“In general, Robert was right: the Rio Grande was more like a stream, there were posters on the American bank warning that the border should be crossed only through official checkpoints,” says Igor.
You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.
He says that, unfortunately, American kayakers ignored this rule, now and then sticking to the Mexican coast.
In turn, the Mexicans left handicrafts-souvenirs on the American coast. The money for them had to be put in a special box. Apparently, American border guards turn a blind eye to such minor violations and "concentrate" only on serious smugglers.
At the next campground, he was warned to keep food in special metal containers so as not to attract bears.
He thought that the rangers were exaggerating, but the next morning he saw a bear with cubs near the toilet.
“In general, everything is fine with the wild world in Big Bend: I was also lucky to meet deer that let people close to them, and after that I went back to California with peace of mind,” says the journalist.
“Even if Texans are considered rednecks and jokingly laugh at their radical views, however, I did not notice the famous exceptional originality among the residents of the state,” Igor Rotar summed up. seemed to me very benevolent people who absolutely should not be afraid of. And it is imperative to go to Texas - at least in order to see how the southern states of the United States live ”.
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