jeudi 21 juillet 2011

The Phoenix man

It's my last day in California. I must say that I'll be sad to leave. So I guess the Phoenix man was right... back track to my journal entry on the plane, flying to the Sunny West :

I'm still in the plane, but we stopped in Phoenix. Most of the passengers have left, and I wonder if there will be more boarding. My seat neighbor left. He was a large man, perhaps of Native American descent. When I asked if I could sit down (Southwest airlines does free seating now) he welcomed me kindly. I noticed a little later that his grey hair was long, tied in a flat ponytail. He was wearing silver feather earrings and had a large tattoo on his arm - a design that included an eagle, surrounded by the phrase "in memory of my father". He asked me where I was going. I told him I was visiting the Bay area. "You'll like it there. You won't want to leave". I've definitely heard that one before! 
Apparently, he's originally from the Bay area. But he seemed to like Phoenix, too. "It gets up to a nice 108-110 degrees". He didn't seem particularly oppressed by the heat when referring to it. I think that we really bonded when the flight attendant distributed small packages of peanuts. I started opening mine, not paying great attention since I was reading Song of Solomon at the same time. And since I was distracted, I wasn't really succeeding in opening it. The Phoenix man took my bag of munchies - large, assured hands - tore it open, and handed it back. Similarly, he took my cup when the flight attendant was walking the aisle with a trash bag. I seem to attract that type of behavior here. People very often help me without me asking them for anything. I never expect anyone to help me unless it's very obvious that I need help or if I ask for it. But here, for some reason, people take care of me. Maybe it's because they feel that I'll let them? I don't strike them as a control freak? I look clueless? I don't, by any means, want to take advantage of people, but I can't help but accept it when people offer something. I find it very ungracious to refuse help. But maybe I should put up more resistance. Anyway, in the case of the Phoenix man, I was charmed. It was his way of starting a conversation. 
Ah, new people are boarding the plane. But I secured the window seat. I will hopefully see some nice scenery. 

More photos to come from beautiful Californian landscapes.

lundi 11 juillet 2011


It has been more than a month since I last updated this blog! Shame on me.
I am currently in California, visiting my aunt and uncle in the Palo Alto area. We went on a week-end road trip, and went all the way to Lake Tahoe (splendid!), then down to Mono lake (which is a mineral lake with sediment towers called Tufas,also home to brine shrimp and flies ) then to Yosemite park (beautiful pine trees, snow capped mountains and impressive water falls).
Earlier in the week, I got to go to Pescadero beach (desolate, beautifully eerie) and Santa Cruz (laid back beach town, with a world-renowned university), And tomorrow, we will go to San Francisco.
This is such a wonderful vacation!
I also had some time to work on a writing piece, and remembered how much I enjoyed writing in coffee shops. It has also been cool to leave the East Coast for a while and to be in completely new territory. Because of my dislocated shoulder plus the mono, I was wallowing in the aftermath of injury.
I'm incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to relax for two weeks, and now fully understand the benefits of vacation.
But anyway. Here are a few pictures to get a glimpse of California's diverse landscapes.

 Stanford University Quad
 Stanford University church
 Buzzard on a dead seal, Pescadero Beach
 Wood and birds, Pescadero Beach
Santa Cruz
 Lake Tahoe
 aunt Christine at Lake Tahoe

                                             High desert evening, California/Nevada border

Cute motel kittens

Going towards Mono Lake - Sierra Nevada mountains

Mono Lake

 Sediment Tufas at Mono Lake
 Tonton Jacques at Mono Lake
 Yosemite National Park rapids
Bridalveil fall, Yosemite National Park- 188 metres (617 ft)