Underthecurrent


cliffnotes
October 25, 2010, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We drive through citrus farms on a Saturday, grabbing a couple of lemons. They smell like no lemon I have ever smelled before, clean and spicy and pure, almost fake. We buy a jar of curried pineapple and vegetables from ladies on the road for 1/5 of what we would pay forty five minutes away under blue light in the grocery store, and speak for awhile to the butcher about his reasonably priced steaks, stocking up on meat and vowing to come back soon. Over the fire we cook fat steaks, fresh beets, carrots, tomato and onion. All the vegetables taste real, like the food of my childhood, eaten sitting in gardens wiping the dirt off.

(People in the rural spots take me back to when travel in this country wasn’t such a hard sell a few years ago. The night before I was speaking to a friend of mine about the changes, he’s old school industry, and he commented that all of the pot heads and the hippies are gone. It’s because this version of this place is no longer affordable for the long-term crowd. To put it in perspective, accomodation where I stay has increased approximately 40% in three years, the price of a bottle of wine has doubled.)

Even though my current home is very much a part of the trail, and some of my friends are those who profit from its commercialization, being briefly off the trail reminded how good it feels to go to places that are not, in particular, marketing themselves to you – or at least not marketing themselves in a savvy way.

One of my friends from here is on his way to Park City, Utah for winter working on the slopes. We talked about America. I said one of the things that would make it hard for me to stay in the USA for a long period of time is being constantly very well marketed to. Yesterday L.G. and I drove past the INTERNATIONAL UNSEX HAIR SALON and I was like, aw yeah.

On the drive this morning we talk about wanting to live more or less off the grid. [Right now there’s an intense water shortage going on, it’s likely that restrictions will become more widespread soon. This country struggles with consistent inexpensive resource provision – three years ago, when all the coal was wet, the issue was rolling unnanounced mid afternoon blackouts.] This doesn’t mean going straight rural, but designing a small house that uses the appropriate resources, be it windmill/solar/geothermal and that uses smart design to limit what’s necessary (i.e. turning lights on inside during the day, running taps for a long time to get hot water).

For fun we longboard down the gentle sloping road to the beach to watch the sunset on rocks a few meters above the changing tide, pink then red then pure gold that makes the green fields behind surreal and vivid.

The other day I was sitting with my friend whose father just died. He reminds me of my father, just sort of wordless and angry. We were looking out at the beach at night, at his bar, there was a bonfire. “We have a nice life,” he said, before telling me stories about his family’s involuntary emigration. He told me to stick my head under water the next time the dolphins came by when I was on my board, so I could hear the sonar conversations. The next day, five of us were out, family surf, and the whale that’s been around the bay surfaced and turned. There is also a resident seal who likes to wave a flipper at beach goers.

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