Seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Remember that bit when the cousin spits in his hand and shakes Steve Martin’s? Remember how cold and flat it looked? How when he asked John Candy how cold it was he just said ‘One’? Thats Wichita.
Its just like that in real life. When you fly in (in Winter) you look down on an endless sea of brown.
‘What are they growing down there?’ I asked (thinking it was ploughed earth). ‘Nothing’ was my boss’ reply (as the small plane bumped around like a cat in a tumble dryer). ‘Thats grass. Its brown ‘cos its dead. In winter everything dies out here’. Great.
The cab driver looked like he had spent a lifetime on meths. He had no teeth and no idea where anything in Wichita was. I don’t think he even realised he was in Wichita.
Its a simple city – one big buggering road goes straight through it. This guy’s cab was so filthy it made me feel again like Steve Martin – the way he had a permanently semi-turned up nose at everything – I think I was doing the same. I certainly wasn’t going to shake his hand.
The funny thing about the States is they have these huge shopping malls everywhere (they have Borders bookshops bigger than entire shopping centres in the UK for example) with huge parking lots – but they are always empty – maybe its the recession or maybe it just doesn’t matter; they can make things as big as they want – they’ve got the space.
The highlight of the trip was stepping up to our office. Now many office doors these days have big red circles with a cross through a cigarette. In Wichita they had this: