|The brothers enjoying a longboard session/|
To begin we had a couple of visitors in camp. Two brothers who where cycling from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas with their surfboards, seeking out the perfect waves. They stopped by the camp for a few nights to stock up on food and water before moving on down the coast. I enjoyed having the guys here and it was great to chat to them about their journey and breaking down perceptions of how dangerous the trip was. I relished in the contrast that America still has a travel advisory out against people travelling to Baja, Mexico while the guys were telling me how much easier it had been travelling in Mexico where everyone went out of their way to help and accommodate them apposed to in America where most people treated them like bums. After a couple days sharing waves and even a windsurfing lesson they managed to negotiate a lift in a fishing boat down the coast, once again proving the willingness of the locals to help out where they can.
All closed up.
A few days after the boys left Kevin, Joey and Tim were back in camp to pick up some gear and to put the finishing touches on the winter shutdown. We put a new roof on the board room from which I am still finding tar spots on various parts of my body and boarded up the exposed areas of camp, leaving it looking somewhat deserted. I took the opportunity to get a lift back to the States with Joey to get my last fix of civilisation for the year. He was kind enough to let me tag along to a weekend away in Lake Havasu, Arizona. While the place was completely dead, they assured me that during season it is the place to be with massive boat parties and scantly clad twenty somethings soaking up the sun. The sun did not make an appearance for us so instead we soaked up the beer in the local bar whilst entertaining the lonely barman with pearls of whiskey wisdom.
With my tan beginning to fade it was time to head back west and pop in at Palm Springs for a couple of days to visit a few friends who were also passing through. I couldn’t help but feel that it, like so many other American cities, is a place to check off any extended stay list. Strip malls and cookie cutter neighbourhoods just don’t do it for me, if I am going to live in a city it is going to be one where things are on top of each other and I can at least walk to my local pub. Stopping in Palm Springs did afford me the opportunity to catch the train to San Diego which is something I have been itching to do since arriving in the States almost 5 months ago. Okay so it was a bus to Fullerton and then a train but it still made for a scenic journey and gave me just a small taste of what it would be like to explore the States by rail. As I have mentioned before, rail is my most preferred method of travel and I find there to be something extra alluring about American train travel, maybe it is the culture of train-hopping manifesting itself in a more elegant form. For the most part the train hugs the coast, passing by the houses of the movies and the beaches The Beach Boys sang about, stirring up notions of California dreaming and making it a must on anyone visiting the areas itinerary.
I had only intended to stop in San Diego a couple of nights but found myself staying a little longer as I covered the extremities of the city in search of a new laptop power adaptor. The traversing of the city provided a snapshot into the “dirtier” side of America which at times had me had me pondering how a country can be so involved in everyone else’s affairs when it has so many issues to sort out itself? This created a bit of a conflict inside me as that part so wanted to run away from the mask of consumerist behaviour back to the solitude of Punta San Carlos while another part enjoyed the bustle, the conversations and the coffee shops. Which leaves me contemplating how I can model a life that allows me to dip in and out of these two personalities as I please?
When the time came to leave San Diego there were difficult goodbyes to say and new ideas and perceptions to mull over on the trip south. So early Sunday morning I trudged, sleepy eyed over the border to get on a bus which would take me to El Rosario where I had arranged to have someone meet me and take me the next two hours to camp. The journey was an easy one, the bus was comfy, come to think of it so comfy that I slept most of the way, and my lift was there as arranged though it certainly affirmed that if I am going to be staying in Mexico, I need to learn Spanish. Fortunately Joey introduced me to www.duolingo.com, which I would recommend to anyone trying to learn a language. I feel I have learnt more Spanish in the week I have been back than I learnt Swedish in the 6 months of living there.
It seems as if in the couple of weeks away winter decided to move in. The days seem far shorter with sunrise around 6 and sunset around 5, nothing like winter in Sweden mind, and there is a definite nip in the air. The wind was scarce for the first few days, but I caught the back end of a good swell and managed to get a few SUPing and surfing sessions in. I have enjoyed both sports, hell I am enjoying becoming a more rounded waterman but it is the surfing that has surprised me. I could go into a whole monologue as to what it is like being out there in the water alone or what surfing means to me but I recently read a post from a friend which sums read far me eloquently than my words. So instead I’ll leave you with the link and the words: It really does take only one wave to make it all worth it.