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Archive for January, 2015

Saturday 31 January 2015 – around LA

Yes, I dropped the reference to ‘sightseeing’ from today’s subject line as we did little more than laze around, shopping at Wallmart and two hours at the Seal Beach dog park with Bosco.

The dog park was something that I’m not familiar with in the UK. It’s a fenced off piece of parkland with parking to allow a large number of dogs and their owners to enjoy some safe time in the Californian sunshine. Everybody seemed to know everybody else. Eunice asked one of her friends for a recommendation of a good steak house, not too expensive and not too far away. We ended up with about one hundred suggestions, some contradictory. ‘We’ll probably finish up eating at a Chinese’ I added helpfully. That just gave rise to more suggestions for good Chinese restaurants.

By the time we left, after all the talk of Prime Ribs and thick juicy steaks, we were all starving. Even the dogs seemed to be hungry, crowding round Eunice who had a pocket full of dog biscuits.

We finished up at Bruce’s where I had a large New Yorker with, believe it or not, a salad, that I ate all of (OK, after passing the brocolli to Eunice).

Tomorrow I visit the Long Beach Cactus & Succulent Society for my first talk of 2015 – FOG.

Friday 30 January 2015 – sightseeing around LA

I woke up early in the familiar surroundings of a Motel 6 as my body clock was still set somewhere between London and LA, bladder and stomach provided the relevant trigger.
I dropped ET a line to advice her that I was up, so we could start our plans for the day early and then got stuck into checking emails.
Soon after, ET arrived and took me to ‘Polly’s’, a currently preferred alternative to Denny’s, for breakfast. Apart from the MASSIVE Cinnamon roll, it was a remarkably healthy breakfast of 2 fried eggs on toast with lean bacon and a fruit salad! And of course, the bottomless coffee cup.
Then off to Nikon on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills where the friendly receptionist in the customer service department welcomed Eunice like an old friend. We had come to check in my D600 that suffered from a common problem of ‘oil spots’ on the sensor and had led to a global recall to have the problem removed free of charge.
We then moved on to a rare sight these days (at least in rural Britain), a well stocked camera shop, Sammy’s, spread over four floors, a bit like being let loose in a sweety shop. Just browsing!
Where to next? Well, how about the Hollywood sign that overlooks LA and districts. So we drove up to the Griffith Observatory from where you had an excellent view of the sign and, by turning 180 degrees round, over Los Angeles. As it had not been raining (apart from a light drizzle over breakfast) the familiar LA haze that is a mixture of naturally moist air from the Pacific Ocean and air pollution from industry and transport was blurring the view. It was great to walk around in the sun in Spring-like temperatures of 18 C, at least until we could see rain clouds gathering. All images filed here as S3219 – no cacti or other succulents recorded.
On the way to Bellflower, the Art Deco Union Station is still in use and well worth a stroll around and taking more pictures (S3220 – again no cacti).
By now a light rain had started but as we headed back to Bellflower we left the dark clouds behind us.
This was also about the time that jet lag kicked in – a bit like hitting a brick wall. Since then we have been for dinner at El Torito, watched TV and typed up these notes but to be fair, I have been asleep all the time 🙂
I have had more exercise since I have stepped off the plane than I have had during the rest of 2015! Must do MUCH better when I get back.
How is this report related to cacti? I hear you ask. Today was not, but it is part of a trip that will have cactus and other succulent plants content before I fly home and I find it useful to have all my notes in one place. Plus I know of many cactophiles whose partners or spouses do not share our fanatic interest in plants but who might well be persuaded to allow them to come on such a trip or even to come along on a trip to California when they learn that there is more to see than ‘just cacti’.

Thursday 29 January 2015 – Amesbury to Bellflower, CA

Yes, I’m off again!

This is not planned to be an intensive cactus & succulent plant trip, such as last year’s trips to Mexico, but a mixture of talks at nine Cactus & Succulent Societies, an excellent opportunity to experience how people in California and Nevada experience the hobby in February, a time when in the UK my plants are in deep rest, locked into the conservatory; hopefully a look at some member collections and formal parks and gardens and an opportunity for some sightseeing. Driving from one Society to the next provides opportunities for some nature stops on the way where I’ll be keen to point my camera at plants of interest and the environments where they grow.

Today was a travelling day – 3 hours waiting at Heathrow’s Terminal 2 then 10:30 hours in flight, this time trying out Air New Zealand on a direct flight to LAX. It all went without incident and Eunice Thompson was at the exit to meet me.  I had taken off at 16:00 hrs and landed at 19:oo hrs – the different time zones accounted for the the remaining time in the air.

As we were over Reykavik, Iceland there was a beautiful sunset in progress. As we were flying south west, we seemed to travel at roughly the same speed as the sunset – if anything catching up with it. I remember attending a promenade concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall of a work which had this ‘never ending sunset’ as its theme (and title?) The name of the composer escapes me for now.

I had the window seat and an elderly lady blocked my way to the isle that would enable me to get to the rucksack with my camera. Sleep set in before I managed it. Better luck next time.