Billboards that light up in computer-screen precision graphics, and change as we drive by.
The ease, of knowing that within five minutes of about anywhere you are you can find a decent bathroom (with plumbing and privacy) and even a decent meal, served in minutes. No planning ahead for the ONE stopping place on an 8 hour trip, instead you choose from thousands.
Large people. We read the nutrition literature, and the American obsession with obesity always seemed so far outside our experience in Africa where under-nutrition is the issue, that we shrugged it off. But the change in a decade is noticeable. And it is the poorer strata of this society that are the larger, the wealthier people attend to health and social mores and pay for exercise and high-protein food.
Americans. Yes, this place is FULL of Americans. People who speak English, with familiar accents. It still shocks me to overhear conversations and realize that it is NORMAL to run into Americans we don't KNOW. Everywhere, in the rest areas, bathrooms, gas stations, restaurants.
Pies. Probably shouldn't mention that in view of the item two above. But I am known to love them, and Wendy had a hot apple pie in the oven on our way north, and JD had a hot berry pie in the oven on our way south. I felt very loved by these two friends who went to great efforts, in a way that was meaningful to me.
Books on tape-a new variety, the private head-phone set, so that there is complete silence from the backseat, and no arguing over which book to listen to or complaints from older brothers. From the library. And they even insisted on giving us extra batteries. Very nice.
Roads smooth enough to read on. Or type this email.