By Mike Jerrard
By the title, you might think I mean South Africa or possibly South Australia. Then again, maybe it’s Saudi Arabia, and if not there, then surely “S.A” must be South America, right? No, the place I speak of is none of the above – it is a place like no other.
It is a destination where you can find yourself amongst such a diverse array of ethnicities that should you have been blindfolded and let loose you may, in some instances, not be sure what country you are in. The food, music, and entertainment is such a blend of tastes from all over the world, and a place where signs and instruction manuals are written in so many different languages that it sometimes takes time to find the one you can understand. So if you think you may want to travel here then read on, but you may be surprised just where this place is.
Situated in the western hemisphere somewhere between Canada and Mexico lies a country like no other in terms of its diversity, a place I like to call the States of America; or S.A. Now before you ask yourself if I forgot to put a “U” somewhere, let me confidently say that I am simply correcting the title and spelling of this country because I found a mistake in it.
You see from a young age I was told a certain “U” stood for “United”, and when placed in front of the words States of America, one would believe it would imply that those so called States of America were united. Well I have come to realize that somehow this mistake has been overlooked by so many because the States of America that I know are far from what you would call united.
So now that we have the correct name for this country let me introduce you to its people which we call Americans. An American is well….um…hmmm…not sure how one would describe an American. As far as skin color they come in all shades, and you would be hard pressed to put on an American accent as there are so many that differ from one another. Americans don’t have unified beliefs, but rather they differ greatly in what they believe is right in regards to religion, life, and personal rights. So what is an American and how can we describe them as a whole??…good question!
As far as landscape goes it should come as no surprise that this too differs greatly depending on where you are. You are bound to encounter just about every climate imaginable here and will experience every weather condition Mother Nature can thrown at you. There are subtropical forests, swamps, huge mountain ranges, the deepest canyons, glaciers, the hottest and driest of deserts, beaches, enormous lakes, grand waterfalls, and amongst all this are massive sprawling cities. You may have to contend with enormous snowfall, tornadoes, dust storms, wild fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, hail, tsunamis, excessive heat, and dangerously severe cold temperatures. If you like variety when it comes to your surrounding landscape then this is definitely the place for you.
As far as flora and fauna go, yep, you guessed it….diverse. Large herds of bison roam the west along with Bighorn sheep, moose, elk, deer, Mountain goats, and antelope. Throw in some dangerous mountain lions, three types of bears, wolves, jaguars, alligators, sharks, and rattlesnakes. If that wasn’t enough you also have whales, manatees, walruses, coyotes, beavers, hundreds of species of birds, sea turtles and dolphins. Literally the S.A. is a zoo! As far as plants go you can expect to see giant redwoods, palm trees, pine trees, grasslands, rare orchids, citrus trees, and well just about anything you can imagine.
As far as attractions and activities go, you definitely will have no shortage of options. Anything you dreamed of purchasing can be found at shops and malls scattered everywhere. Ease of transportation makes it quite simple and economical to take in many sites. Isolated wilderness exists for the adventure seeker and busy cities for socialites. Just name an activity and rest assured it will be offered somewhere. Pretty much every landmark on the planet either originates here or has been reproduced as an exact replica which can be found in places like Disneyland or Hollywood.
So what more could you ask for? It is a traveler’s dream; only thing is, how long will it last? You see with so much diversity there is bound to be conflict. You cannot expect a country which is made up of so many ethnicities, and increasingly so with more and more equal numbers, to get along.
You would be smart to make travel plans sooner rather than later because in a country which has already seen one civil war, it is more divided now than it has ever been. From an even political party split to an ongoing racial war, the states are becoming more divided by the day. Tough issues such as gay rights, guns, marijuana, and abortion are being tackled not on a national level, rather on a state by state basis with enormous differences in how each state handles them.
There is much talk of cities within states seceding from those states as they do not agree with decisions made, and come election time the country as a whole is divided almost perfectly even on how to deal with the most important issue at hand. We have a situation where individual states are beginning to act as though they are their own country, and when too many small countries with differing beliefs are all clustered together you get a possible recipe for disaster such as the case in the Middle East.
Sounds far fetched to think that a country so “advanced” could become another Middle East scenario, but when you look at the extreme diversity contained within the borders it is not implausible to think that at some point conflict could break out and lead to an internal war.
No other country in the world is so diverse when it comes to its people and beliefs. Look at some of the largest nations in the world and they are nowhere near as diverse. China(91%) Chinese, Australia(92%)white, United Kingdom(92%) white, South Africa(83%) Black African, Germany(91%) German, Russia(84%) Russian. Now compare that to the States of America where you have (70%) white, (14%) Hispanic, (12%) African American, and (4%) Asian. So called American minorities accumulatively total a number greater than the entire population of places like South Africa, Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, and even Russia. There are around 50 million Hispanics and 40 Million African Americans in America which both are greater numbers than the entire population of Australia.
So you see, S.A. is a must for your bucket list, but do so while it still exists, for one day you may need several different visas to take in all America has to offer. For now, America stands as one so called nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all – or at least that is what its pledge of allegiance would have us think.
Featured Photo Source: DC Clotheline