I am now in Lake Tahoe, NV, having flown up from Brazil. It’s been two years since I last visited the US.
I flew American Airlines and I was shocked by how awful the flight was. I’m quite sure it was the oldest, most decrepit airplane I have flown in this century. They actually had cathode ray tube screens! Of course, one with greenish hue, one with purple and the other blue. The seat was probably the worst seat I have ever used in an international flight.
Just 20 years ago, Brazil was still considered a 3rd world country whereas America was the leader of the 1st world. We only had old planes while America had the best of the best. But now, Brazil has the new planes, with very well trained and nice (young) personnel, and AA has this crummy old, stained, depressing plane with a tired old staff (the plane took off 20 minutes late because they didn’t get to the airport in time!).
America has taken a serious nose dive in these last 20 years, with the last 8 (thanks to George W), being especially dramatic. Mahavira Prabhu, a dear friend of mine, a Canadian, married to a Brazilian, living in America, told me last year, “America is a 3rd world country now”. He was right.
Their international prestige and diplomatic pull was destroyed by the Iraq invasion, their military might bled dry by the Islamic guerrillas, their position as defenders of civil rights imploded by their post 9/11 policies of torture and human rights violations, and now their financial might pulverized by the crazed unsupervised greed of Wall Street.
If Prabhupada were to start his mission today, I doubt it he would choose to move to New York! He’d probably just keep his base in India and travel the world from there.
Incidentally, I also highly doubt, therefore, that he’d show much interest in the Capitol Building. It’s kind of depressing to know that our main temple, the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, in Mayapur, will be built in the likeness of the Legislative House of what is clearly a country in decline.
But I’ll say this: they still have great natural food stores here! And Lake Tahoe is very beautiful (took this picture this morning)!