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Published: October 8th 2010
Welcome to the tour of MIller Valley
Milwaukee is famous for a number of things. It’s the home of Harley Davidson, it’s an historic brewing town and it's the centre of America's main dairy region. Obviously the brewery connection was of most interest to me - until I have my midlife crisis and decide to get a Harley Davidson - so our friends and I went on a free tour of the Miller brewery, whilst Debra took their kids and ours to the Children’s museum.
At the start of the tour we saw a video about the history of Miller and the brewing process. The video and tour was heavily pushing the "Miller time" message and the worrying thing was that after a while we started to believe it. At the end of the tour we got some free samples of Miller Highlife (the original product and quite nice), Miller Lite (more typical American swill) and Perroni (also quite nice). These weren’t just little samples - there was a good sizable glass of each. In fact some people were clearly taking the tour just for the samples at the end, as they went for a fag-break for most of the tour itself.
So there you have
Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum by the lake
it, Milwaukee is the "home of Miller time".
Before we were allowed on the tour, we all had to show some ID. That’s something that hasn’t happened to me for almost 20 years now and I wasn't quite sure whether to be pleased or not.
Like Chicago, Milwaukee is beside Lake Michigan. We went for a walk along the side of this huge lake and it's hard to believe it isn't in fact the sea.
Eating out continued the massive American portions. If we lived there for any length of time, I dread to think how heavy I'd be. We went to one restaurant that not only had bottomless drinks (which included non-alcoholic cocktails), but also had bottomless fries. And these weren't those stringy McDonalds efforts, but good, thick, decent chips. And no runny cheese either.
We also discovered something that we can’t get in the UK called frozen custard. This is quite like ice-cream, but a lot more complicated to order, for us clueless Brits at least, and probably even more unhealthy. With that and the bottomless fries, I hoped I’d make it to Toronto before my heart attack.
There's still the recurring irritation of American television with all the adverts and the total lack of international news. After a couple of weeks, we’re feeling a bit isolated, not knowing what's going on outside of the US. Even some US stories got better coverage in Canada, for example since we’ve been in the US we have no idea what had happened to those miners who were trapped underground. Some chat show host who'd just got his show back after some controversy is of course a much more important story, justifying all the coverage it's getting.
Something called High School Musical is absolutely massive here and, after checking with Jake and Freya, it's unknown in the UK. It's only a matter of time I suppose before the insipid, Disney, sugar-coated drivel heads our way.
One other strange thing in the states, albeit very mundane and minor calling toilets anything but toilets. I'm sure that Americans don't go there for a bath or a rest any more than I do, but "bathroom" or "restroom" are the standard, accepted terms to use.
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