Monday, February 01, 2016

Iowa: Day 3

Day 3 was interesting.

I learned that after the Bosnian war, around 4,000 Muslims were re-located to Waterloo, Iowa. The local meat processing plant was short on skilled labor and a bunch of the refugees came from a region of livestock farmers. It was a perfect fit.

I found a Bosnian bakery that was open early on Sunday. I didn't see any unrecognizable baked goods, so I picked up this bag of Smoki. It's like Cheetos, but tastes like bland peanuts. It's made in Serbia. I also got a bottle of Cockta (because I'm 14), a Slovenian soda. It tasted like licorice.

Day 3 was a big day. Bernie was in town. The building on the left houses the Waterloo campaign headquarters. They blocked off a big parking space for his bus. The rally was conveniently set to take place at the convention center across the street. Trump will be at the same convention center on Monday.

But before the 2pm rally, I had more doors to knock. I drove 30 minutes east to Independence (population 6,000). It's the county seat of Buchanan County (population 21,000). The conditions were atrocious. I couldn't walk on the street because of traffic. I couldn't walk on the sidewalks because they were covered with ice. I knocked on 18 doors before getting back in the car to help set up for the rally. In Independence, I spotted two yard signs and they were both Bernie signs.

A couple of side notes. On the way to Independence, I got passed by this Corvette covered with a Rand Paul vinyl wrap.

And in the town of Independence, I drove by a used car dealership that had 36 Impalas in stock. The dealership only had 37 cars.

When I got back, the C-Span van was parked in front of the convention center. Other political celebrities I saw: Congressman Keith Ellison (shorter in person), Joe Klein of Time (ruder in person), and Joe Johns of CNN (had big feet).

Those white tables in the foreground were for the press. There were two banks of cameras. My job was to sign attendees in and hand them stickers and signs. I greeted journalists from Spain, Japan, and some random Central European country.

The media estimated attendance to be between 650 to 1,100. I would ballpark it at around 750. They were young and old. Down-and-out to upper middle class. I saw someone from every ethnic group, but the crowd was overwhelmingly white. The state, after all, is 91.3% white.

And here's the Man of the Hour. I've heard his speeches before, so I didn't learn anything new. I was just blown away by the enthusiasm of the crowd. People waited outside, two hours before the doors opened. Bernie, by the way, sounded just like Larry David doing a George Steinbrenner impersonation.

I ended the day with a late lunch/early dinner. This pork fritter sandwich was from the same place as where I got the pork tenderloin sandwich two days ago. But it wasn't as good. Note the tiny green speck of lettuce on the pork.

And here was a sign hanging next to my table.

Sadly, I am leaving a day early and so I won't be here to witness the caucus on Monday night. A huge snow storm is coming Tuesday morning. If I stay as scheduled, I am going to be stuck in Iowa for at least a day or two. I've got to go home.

1 comment:

Ripituc said...

Great reports, Jim! A pity that you are not currently in Iowa. I see that you could discorver many tasty looking stuff while campaigning for Bernie, so cool! Very interesting to see those bits of former Yugoslavia in Iowa.