Sunday, June 14, 2009

Touring the East

Having ranted (see last post), I want to share some of the oddities I noticed while traveling. We did an urban vacation this year - New York City and Philadelphia, separated by a few days in Cape May, NJ.

Given that it's almost impossible these days to get rare meat from a restaurant (they're all terrified of being sued for salmonella), why do the restaurants in the Atlantic coast states turn their air conditioning down so far you could hang meat in the dining room? They can't be afraid of it going bad, they've cooked it through. The weather was very muggy while we were there, mostly too warm to carry a jacket; and I'm still surprised I didn't catch a chill from the air in those restaurants.

This being the first time I've ever driven through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, I had my first experience with Wawa. If you've been there, you know. It seems like a perfectly competent convenience store chain; but the name floored me. If you go to their web site and look at the Milestones section, you'll see the history and it actually makes sense: wawa is a Native American word for a Canada goose in flight. I foolishly assumed that Wawa, Pennsylvania was named after the firm, but I was wrong.

I was also startled to find that a dominant provider of gasoline in New Jersey is: Lukoil. When we drove down the Garden State Turnpike from New York to Cape May, Lukoil had the concession at practically every turnpike rest stop. With all the noise we hear about the U.S. energy companies, how did a Russian firm get to be so wide-spread in New Jersey? Wikipedia tells me that Lukoil bought Getty Oil in 2000 and rebranded some of the stations. I kept looking for Pikov Andropov.

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