While I love Washington as my second home, it's a good idea to get out of any city for a while. Good for the mind but maybe not so great for the body; there were often no options beside the ubiquitous holy trinity of Dairy Queen, KFC and the drive-thru nostalgia trip that is Sonic. For those unfamiliar with it, you absolutely cannot go inside and absolutely must have a car as it's a drive-up-to-the-speaker trip back to the 1950s. So that was fun. I ended up eating cajun food, including catfish, but managed to avoid steak, which is one of the culinary delights Omaha can be proud of. They even sell them, frozen, at the airport.
As Will Ferrell says in The Campaign, which we watched in the Aksarben (say it backwards) Cinema, the fair heartland state is big on three things: America, Jesus, and Freedom. On the first day we stumbled across the Divine Truth Christian Store, a megastore for all your God paraphernalia. Bible tote? You got it. An entire section devoted to books on the End Times, framed posters for religious surgeons, t-shirts and dog clothes and even a tambourine in the shape of a fish. A more perfect example of religious capitalism I have never come across. Divine Truth was in the middle of one of those colourless, flat, fragmented malls seen in the midwest and on the long stretches of road between American suburbs. This one encompassed a gas station and KFC, but also Jimbo's Diner, which provided the fear of God the Jesus-Mart failed to. All the windows of this establishment were tinted and a sign on each door warned patrons to make sure their shirts had sleeves, that no one under the age of 19 should think about entering, and that children must remain seated at all times. I was wearing a tank top and afraid of the consequences; I sensed that my accent would have zero effect on Jimbo's proprietors.
The Bullet Hole, "Omaha's Finest Shooting Range," was going to be the place where I fired my first gun. Luckily, we did not have the required permits or military IDs needed when using on of their weapons. I still walked away with a coozie, though (a.k.a. the spongy holder for beer cans).
Maha Festival, only in its second year, was the main reason for the trip. The headliner act inevitably involved Conor Oberst who, for all his haters, has been a positive force in Omaha, and has started a new crusade against the crackdown on illegal immigration. Desaparecidos are one of my favourite bands and I never thought I would get to see them live, let alone in their home state. Their show was amazing, and I even got to practice heaving sweaty moshing men out of the way. Garbage also played and were spectacular, and Dum Dum Girls brought in the rain. Icky Blossoms, a local band, were the second coming of Nu Rave, so at that point I went to find my third slice of pizza.
Downtown and not the last.
I'd also like to add that I ran from wild turkeys and stroked the neck of a teenage swan way out west in the acres and cornfields.