Hotel California

Yes, there are hotels in California, not least in the sunny and pleasant coastal town of Santa Barbara. But we went there on Memorial Day weekend, a holyday when the US remembers and celebrates its wartime heroes. The local motels that normally charge a livable 120 dollars a night for a double, suddenly triple the rate to 360. Such is capitalism.26_01_67001_Los_Angeles_USA_2016

To avoid going bankrupt we invaded the home of The Sister, who had relatively recently moved west from Washington DC. We took over her bedroom, forcing her to take refuge in the living room, something she pretended to not really mind doing. The only thing she refused was to be pictured in the morning before her face was properly done. She is not a retired hairstylist (not a barber!) for nothing!

As for us, we have been to Santa Barbara twice before. In 1978 we rented a car in Los Angeles driving north. We stayed the night in Santa Barbara, and read in the papers a couple of days later that there had been an earthquake in town a couple of hours after we had left.

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As young travelers, ES and DHH first met on a US Greyhound bus back in 1978. This ride from LA airport to Santa Barbara was their first US bus trip since. And ES was very romantically aware of the occasion.

In 2009 we rented a car in San Francisco and drove the same stretch going south, stopping in Santa Barbara on the American National Day and witnessing another earthquake. This time it was political. The July 4 parade showed us The Tea Party Movement uncensored and in the open terrain. A bit of a shock when you come from countries where the national day is about unity and friendship, and not about knocking each other over the head with angry posters.

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ES and The Sister having a day out on the beach.

But basically, we like California. The sister is a generous host and the land is warm and nice. A little too warm maybe, since they have had water shortage for several years. We had to cut our showers short. But then came Donald Trump on TV telling us all that the drought was not about nature or global warming, but rather a political decision put in place by the Obama government. Nice to know of course, otherwise we would have been a bit worried on behalf of our troubled earth. Thank you Donald!

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Back in the day. ES near Santa Barbara, 1978.

And thank you California for giving us a soft landing on our way from Asia and the Pacific and back to civilization, as we know it, back to Europe. Then, for the first time, ES will have to be a tourist in her own native Switzerland. We wonder how that is going to turn out!

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