Burgers, steaks, chips, chicken – oh, and a Coke Lite

We saw these people yesterday whilst on a trip around Kennedy Space Centre. Before I talk about them (and the fact that they took two seats each on the coach) I must mention Kennedy itself. The whole place is amazing, and it was interesting to see how many countries went into building the Space Station and how Germany contributed so much to the engines of the original rockets.

It was amazing to find that a lot of Americas’ early attempts at space simply exploded on the launch pad merely because no-one realised that the engines hadn’t built up enough thrust to lift the craft. Several rockets simply lifted a few inches and then fell back on themselves in a huge ball of fire. One day someone said, “Hey, why don’t we put hooks on the rocket and only let go when the engines get enough thrust up?”…and the rest is history.

These two people were on our tour. I “accidentally” took some shots of them and then had the misfortune to be behind them in the queue at the restaurant. Burgers, chicken, chips and chocolates were stacked up, and then – as we approached the refrigerators – the guy picked up a Bud Lite whilst the lady chose a Coke Lite.

Seriously. what is happening here? It got worse last night I asked the guy what beers he had..

“Bud Lite, Labatt Lite, Becks”

I chose Becks because it wasn’t “Lite”. It arrived and I spotted the label… “Lite”. Uggghhh…. It tasted like dish water. Why the hell does anyone drink this?

Every commercial on TV (and, believe me, there’s a lot of them) seems to be selling food of one kind or another, but people seem to think that a Coke Lite / Bud Lite will simply cancel out all of the fat they’ve just consumed…

“Come down to Tony Romas / Olive Garden / Applebees / Taco Bell and get a huge chicken / steak combo topped with fries, cheese and cheese followed by a huge cake of your choice for only $4.99……”

…it’s OK, go on.. Eat all the food. You’ll be fine provided you wash it down with a Coke Lite… (By the way, it should be called “Light” but who am I to argue?)

Another thing that annoys me slightly, which I touched on in my previous post, is the ugly cars. American cars have always had a bad rap and, until recently, they’ve had a very “boxy” shape to them. Some manufacturers still seem to be making these, like Lincoln, however others like Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge and others are producing cars with better looks and MPG to compete with increasing competition from foreign imports.

This is where things differ from the UK. At home BMW’s and Merc’s are fairly common-place with BMW 318’s and 320’s showing up frequently on British motorways. Here though they’re very rare and highly prized – as are Lexus and Audi. Dealers like Hyundai, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda and (surprisingly) Kia have stolen the limelight all of a sudden. Adverts mention how they’re apparently better than their more expensive counterparts. Strangely it seems to be working, but at what cost?

I’ve never seen so many truly ugly cars on the road. The Hyundai Sonata is one of the biggest selling imports here in the USA, but you’ll never see one in the UK because of the design. There’s more ugliness too – Kia seems to be really popular but people don’t seem to realise that they’re driving round in a car with as much character as a tub of vanilla ice-cream. There’s Toyota and Ford vehicles here that I’ve never seen. They seem to be constructed with off-cuts from some ship-building company, but still people buy and drive them. Why?

The Dodge Charger we’re driving seems to be creating interest from the local boy-racers here on International Drive though. The other night one guy sat next to me at the lights revving the nutts out of his Honda Civic. I couldn’t do the same because we’re using an Automatic – put it in Neutral and revv it and it’ll stick at 4000 rpm for no good reason. If you have an attempt at racing the other car you’ll make the car wobble around with masses of tyre squeal and a forward speed of about 30 mph.

What’s going on ? There appears to be two types of car in the USA now. The first type are big US-built cars and SUV’s with 300++ BHP. For some obscure reason these only seem to put half of their power on the road (I guess it’s the weight of the car and the cheap plastic inside falling off). The second type of car is the import. These have less BHP but still go as fast – unfortunately though you can’t tell if they’re going forwards or backwards because they look like a mistake on wheels.