I am so touched by the heartfelt messages from people. It really means a lot to me. I've also received some lovely emails from folks - and there's some concern re: the end of the Belfast LTA era.
Don't worry folks! Wayne will be doing regular reports from Northern Ireland on the Podcast and I plan on visiting Belfast at least once a year from here on out; just like I said in this Video - once you've had the smell of Belfast on you, you can't get it out.
Anyhew, I'm now in Belfast's sister city: Nashville. Don't know what I'm going to do here. Don't know how long I'm going to stay. But I do know one thing.
It's an LTA GOLDMINE.
Today was my first time here and if I had been recording I could easily have gotten 3 podcasts out of the day's adventures.
First of all, (and I don't mean this as a condemnation of the U.S. Health Care system), the 'mentally ill' seem to be walking the streets. I ran into several folks whose rich fantasy lives seemed to eclipse even my own. My favourite was the gentleman who assured me he was running for President of the United States and had secured Jerry Rice as his V.P., (OK OK maybe this should be seen as a condemnation of the shambles they have for health care here).
There are also so many things to photograph. I especially liked this video sign featured below which advertised, (look closely and you can just make it out), a 'Shoot for the Future' fund-raiser; according to their website the group is dedicated to helping disabled people enjoy trap and clay shooting. This is the kind of thing I'll really enjoy seeing and participating in at some level over here - stuff you would never see in Belfast; (and don't condemn it out of hand Europe - let me tell ya, shooting a gun is fun. Really. It. Is. Fun.)
So I was taking photos of the advert for 'Shoot for the Future' when I noticed that a group of people under it the WERE VIDEOING ME. I was so enraptured by the image of the guy in the wheelchair with a shotgun I didn't notice that the giant flashing sign sat right above the campaign headquarters for Nashville Mayoral Candidate Karl Dean.
Now apparently earlier in the day there was a bit of a fracas with protesters outside the office - so the Karl Dean staff where understandable edgy about a guy intently taking photos of their office. A Karl Dean staff member crossed the street and approached me. I was concerned that there might be fisticuffs. But he turned out to be sweet and there were no problems.
My first impression is that people here in Nashville as extremely friendly. This of course makes my makes my job as a broadcaster that much easier. In fact, already on Day 1 of the LTA Nashville experience my life has been saved by the open hearted warmth of the people here.
You see that pic at top me eating ribs?
Well I wolfed them down just a wee bit too fast Dear Listener.
Right Day 1 is over. Well, at least the afternoon is. I wonder what tonight has in store for me?
Talk to you soon Dear Listeners.