Saturday, 19 April 2008

Denver II

After a few hours online getting my next week in order, I headed down to the Capitol building for a tour. The building's dome is covered in gold, shimmering in the sunlight with an unmistakable pallor. Inside (after passing through a manned metal detector) I learn that the gold is backed with oxskin, the only material which holds gold leaf fast against the elements without absorbing it.

As I wait for the tour to begin I head downstairs and navigate my way through a bathroom filled, for no apparent reason, with a group in jingling Native American dress. After ordering dodgy espresso from a midget hausfrau, the tour begins.

All my preconceived notions abut Colorado disappear. Most of their power comes from coal-fired power stations; their state is regularly in drought; water is brought in by rail from the western side of the Rockies; the rose onyx which profuses the Capitol is now the material version of extinct. I skip out of the tour early (past governors, anyone?) and notice not one, but three Mile-High markers on the steps: the first in 1952, the second in 1969, and the third in 2003. I wonder what they'll do when America switches to the Metric system (scheduled, along with the retiring of the penny, for immediately after hell freezes over). Speaking of which, I went to the U.S. Mint, but they wouldn't let me in. So I stood out front and threw my useless pennies at the building in a equally useless gesture.


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