Saturday, 16 January 2016

Boise, Idaho

One of the - many, many - things that fascinate me, is all the thousands of places around the world that I've never been to, and probably never will (though the possibility that I could visit some of them doesn't hurt). What is it like to walk round there? What are the people like? What is there to see there?

So anyway, I'm watching the X-Files tonight, first season, starting at the beginning. It's just appeared on Amazon Prime Video much to my delight. Episode Two, they are investigating a missing test pilot in Boise, Idaho. But where is Boise, Idaho?

Well obviously it's in Idaho, the 43rd state, which achieved statehood in 1890, and is located in the north west USA, next to Washington State and Oregon. It is one of the largest states by area at around 83,000 square miles, but one of the least popular - only 1.4 million people. Boise is the state capital and largest city in Iowa. It's called the City of Trees because it is so green, but also reputedly because a French speaking guide who came across the place shouted "le bois le bois!" or "the trees, the trees!". The best way to pronounce the name by the way is "BOY-see" which is how the locals say it.

Interestingly for a small city deep in the American West, Boise has the largest ethnic Basque community in the USA, and the fifth largest in the world, after the Basque country in Spain and France, and also Chile and Argentina. Here's a Basque fact far predating the USA. The Basque people are unrelated genetically to the rest of the inhabitants of Western Europe, and are considered a last remnant of ancient pre-agricultural people of Europe. Furthermore, their language is unrelated to the Indo-European language family and is thought to be he original language of Europe.

Anyway back to Boise. It is quite a small city, population about 200,000 but is has plenty of pubs and restaurants, as well as a vibrant nightlife and a few museums. There's also festivals and events on throughout the year, including hosting the New Year's Eve Idaho Potato Drop. It sounds like a great festival, but I'm a bit bemused at the idea of a 16 foot potato dropping on a crown of 40,000 spectactors!

I think I'll leave it there for now...