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Yesterday’s rest day in San Diego was just what the doctor had ordered (no Mum, I did not need to see a doctor, it’s just an expression) and as usual, I woke up 5 minutes before the alarm went off at 7:00. Did you miss my snoring, Alain. I bet the plane home was just as noisy, but I guess that the engine noise was at least regular.

I left after breakfast at Denny’s – it seems to be impossible to have a healthy meal out in the US, everything seems to be swimming in fat and covered in sugar. I had found detailed route descriptions on the internet for the trip to the meeting place of the Long Beach Cactus & Succulent Society, which is actually in Compton.

I arrived at 10:00 a.m. and was due to be there by 13:00. It turns out that the place is an old adobe type Mission, completely done up and renovated and now serves as a very comfortable retirement home for the clergy. The LBCSS have use of a meeting place there, in return for maintaining a cactus & succulent plant garden. The plants certainly like the climate, that today was back to being very wet, just like our ‘Sea World Day’ on Friday.  There were beds dedicated to plants from South America, North America and Africa, but just as in nature, the plants did not concentrate during their geography lessons and crossed the border to other beds.

There was a nice gathering of members, checking the latest offering on the sales stall. I bought a set of forceps, as I have a tendency to leave these next to cacti if I remember to try to collect some seed. One day, I’ll be able to spot them using Google Earth no doubt – must label them, to distinguish them from the forceps left by everybody else. One of the members was actually Dutch and welcomed me in my native language. He was originally from Rotterdam, but his parents had taken him to the USA when he was about 4, but still kept up the language.

Yesterday I had managed to add some images from Baja to those of the previous trips since 1 November 2007, and even I was amazed at how much I had seen! I had limited myself to two stops – the plants on Isla Magdalena and the Cactus Maximus stop. Surprisingly few members had actually been to Baja to look at the plants there, but then looking at the plants that grew in their garden, why should they? There was a very good representation of what we had seen growing right there! They too were surprised – was that really nature, or a botanic garden?

As the talk is entitled ‘What I did last winter’ and winter is still going on, I took a photo of the audience, so I can fit it into the presentation for the UK.

After the meeting, I asked for directions to a good Motel 6 – I use the term as a generic indication of good budget motels. My instincts suggested that I should head west, but I was warned that this would get me into Watts, and deeeeep trouble. So I followed advice and detailed instructions from the President, Eunice, which eventually got me to Motel 6 in Arcadia, right opposite the Santa Anita Race Track (horse racing), which I seem to remember as the venue of a few rock concerts as well. No action tonight.

The Huntington Arboretum is just down the road. I was going to visit there tomorrow, but was warned that they are closed on Mondays. So instead, Eunice has offered to take me to a few cactus spots, and I’ll do the Huntington on Tuesday.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will clear over the next few days, so that the plants will look well watered rather than being watered!

I’m off to the Mexican Restaurant across the road!

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