Sunday, July 18, 2004

United States - Commentary and Information

It was very interesting to go from South Range, Michigan to El Paso, Texas.  We basically went from the border of Canada to the border of Mexico.  Some of the biggest differences we saw involved the people and their environment.

The climate went from the high 60's to the high 90's - from semi humid to almost totally dry.  Geographically, as we went further southwest it was very cool to see a lot of dry river beds, rocks, cactuses, and many mountain ranges - some snow capped in Colorado and New Mexico.

Hot springs were also more prevalent in the Southwest.  Some states (Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, etc.) were so flat in comparison to northeastern Colorado and New Mexico, and even the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, that you could literally see for miles.  From Wisconsin to Colorado, you could see a switch from farming (corn, soy...) to ranching (cattle, horses...) and from green to brown.

Housing changes involved going from mainly all wood to adobe style.  The climate drives materials used for housing.  And for those of you who may be wondering...yes, you could build an igloo in New Mexico.  Hmmm... maybe that is something to think about.

Historically, Texas to California and from the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo) to Oregon were all part of Mexico until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo when the United States acquired half of Mexico's territory.  It was easy to see that when you cross this now ficticious line into "Old Mexico" (for example Texas and New Mexico) that people look differently - darker hair and skin - due not only to Mexican influence, but also to the high levels of constant sunlight that they get year round.  Also, a very high percentage speak Spanish.  Much like lots of Finnish is still heard in the Upper Peninsula... 

In addition, the story goes that the American cowboy image (cowboy hats, belt buckle, boots, etc.) is actually of Mexican origin.

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