Suggestions and corrections are welcome. Fritz@JoernDe
(Partial original at my USA2017.doc)
Pictures at https://goo.gl/photos/ctkH6Ps6AFXrovce6
and for the drive to Oregon https://goo.gl/photos/Rqj1xEiq9o46dNnh8 .
For a very personal visit to old friends in St. Helena there is this album https://goo.gl/photos/CBXfh1U6y8mHTZQu6
Monday, May 29, 2017 Bonn—Capitola
|The Rhine in Bonn. |
Morning view upstream (south) from Kennedy bridge.
So right away the ticket vending machine went on strike on my six Euros. In twenty minutes I reached Siegburg high-speed train station, the day with clouds and the sun rising behind them. Rhine river. From Siegburg the crowded ICE (101) train brought me with 163 mph in another twenty minutes to the Frankfurt airport.
The airport was rather empty on this Monday morning. My special security check brought to view unknown surprises from last summer in South Tryrol, screws to fix some outer windows.
I felt ashamed for all my generation: How much have we run down the world in the last fifty years. And now we try to combat lost morale and ethics with radar scanners … I remember Tempelhof and San Jose airport where I could freely walk to the airplane.
|Virtual Golden Gate bridge.|
All pictures may be enlared.
Unpleasant surprise: California requires an expensive extra insurance of $ 19.94 a day for people getting hurt while in the car. Not only have the states themselves become public robbers, they team up with the lobby. Excuse my flash.
Driving highway 17 was just like fifty years ago: Two lanes, winding up to Summit road, bad surface. Only the traffic jam on the other side was modern and endless. Pat’s Tomtom worked after some satellite searching, and brought me to Carla and Gaye with only a few extra circles at the very end in Capitola. “Four way stops” – the American street feature! Cheaper than roundabouts.
Carla embraced me at the door! Such a long time. Gaye had been waiting too. We had exchanged SMS all the time. Modern logbooks.
A fine, sunny, not to warm afternoon on the patio. Carla’s room adapted to the usual full, but not necessarily ordered conditions here. I love that, but I’ll have to be for order.
|Capitola Beach. Panorama|
We took an evening walk downtown, to eat at a new restaurant “Sotola”. Nice, good, www.SotolaBarandGrill.com ($ 116.66 incl. tip).
And now I sit here in Gaye’s guest room, the cat came to greet me at night. It’s six. The day is coming up. I hear the big dog barking. The small one is really dear, but has to stay in a cage when we are out.
Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 – school, history, beach
As our host had work to do – endless telephone conferences – I brought Carla to her school at eight. We had a light breakfast before, Carla prepared her lunch bread for school, and off we went into somewhat like a small queue at the nearby school. In America everything is big. That makes for easy driving. That makes big schools, with parking lots and an organized student drop-off.
Back in Capitola I constructed a Tomtom fixture for the dashboard and walked down to the beach – a felt ten minutes rather than five – and actually even some more as I chatted with one of the neighbors here, from Canada as well. “Would you rather like to live here than in Europe?” he asked after a while, and were it not for the farm in South Tyrol, I don’t really know. As a young man with a very European wife and no children yet, I had decided to give up my American Green Card. I had not wanted to remain “between two continents” all my life. As elder person the options aren’t there any more: health insurance, living costs, age etc. bind one to the one place once chosen by yourself or destiny. He was homesick of Canada – having divorced his Californian wife since a long time. Only the weather is warmer here, he said. We agreed that people are friendly everywhere.
At 12.45 I had appointment with Carla at school. She introduced me to her friends, proudly, and is well liked by many, including the teachers. Carla gives extra attention to me, and I to her, small nice gestures. Thank you Carla! She even personally wrote my visitor pass, as the clerk wasn’t there at the moment.
The “bell” is no bell, it sounds like a hoarse radio station’s time signal to tell everybody: time for classes. We walked to history. The teacher had invited me; he spoke very highly of Carla. A very agile, small man, very engaged, with strong personal beliefs, but leaving others thinks differently. Boys are called by given name, or just “Sir”, the group of some 21 pupils (here called students) addressed as “you guys”. The girls in light outfits, very casual, some three of the boys in hoodies with closed head covers. They mainly prepared for the upcoming test, and then saw a slide show on the Vietnam War, that had been a traumatic experience for the nation. Then we saw a film to “civil rights” with the young Denzel Washington, a bit boring and old-fashioned to my taste. The Muslim background to Malcolm X I had all but forgotten, as Martin Luther King is much more famous. By the way: the picturesque pyramids wound up near Mecca.
After history we said hello to the English teacher. She’s engaged to an Austrian computer expert, and they want to emigrate to Klagenfurt. Her German is all right; she had studied there and earned good money as English teacher there already. So they are not afraid of a future in Austria. She praised the last European votes, in France and Austria, to have led into the right direction. I’ll visit her class tomorrow.
Imagine getting invited into class at a German school! They probably would have first to ask all parents in writing, if an alien might see their kids learning, ask the school’s director and the city’s school coordinator. At Beethoven Gymnasium I once filmed the Math teacher during the school’s “open house” day. He knew me and praised me for the video, was proud. The school scolded me for intruding into the privacy.
In the afternoon Carla worked on her photography assignment, a small home page only with self made pictures, I worked on my Google picture album on Circus Roncalli. I hate (but use) this cloud. It thinks it knows better than you what to do and what you want (like identify persons). Should I place this diary into my blog like http://blogabissl.blogspot.de/2012/10/new-york-im-oktober-2012-ein-kleines.html, seen 1500 times by now (it’s in German!), so that my family and some friends can easily keep up to date on my current travel if they want to? I’d like to, it’s so practical.
Finally Gaye got “off the hook” from her business telephone, past six, all tired and finished. So I drove the ladies down to Capitola center for a simple Mexican dinner at « el toro bravo ». Private parking the SUV cost us ten dollars; we had found no other possibility. The dinner cost 68.78 + 6.22 = 75.
I’ve still no contact to Schaerlis up on Loma Prieta way, their old phone number does not work any more.– Wrong: Carla’s mobile phone reached them fine. I have to add a leading 1 from the fixed phone here.
Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 – school, English, Hope church, Davenport coast
Tired by jetlag, Mexican food, and all the events of the day I slept well – until four o’ clock or so; awakened by the same jetlag and general age. Having the room for myself I can type the Thinkpad (an X61s with SSD), read or just think at leisure. At six, when I tried to “re-sleep”, there was a “long distance” emergency call from my wife: she couldn’t open the car’s parking place, the key would not turn. I emailed a photo of the correct key, and that did the job then. Modern communication!
Carla was a bit late, the queues were longer than minutes earlier, but we got to school just in time (I think). They monitor attendance by the minute.
Back home I found Gaye busy again on the phone: earplug in ear and Smartphone in hand – why don’t they have hooks like old mobile phones? Local communication is reduced to unconcentrated deaf-mute: Should I let the dog out to pee in the garden? Can I use the land line phone? Where’s the leash? But I knew where normal thread was, so I used that. Together we scouted the garden, I saved some suffocating grass under a bureau mat, watered one tree and two flowers (should water the rose), and took ghost town pictures of former barbeque equipment. Wonderful!
At twelve she had to leave, with smooth takeover of the continuing call by the car’s audio system, friendly hand signal and off with the small dog, freshly de-watered by me. Now I’ll fetch Carla. A computer can be closed any time, and does not mind either.
I returned to school, as the German teacher had invited me. The class had read Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, All Quiet in the Western Front. Now individual presentations, free with slides, should talk about one of the books. The presentation had to state the author’s argument, a counter argument and personal opinion. That turned out to be very interesting, even when the speeches were not all presented to the class, but to the slide. The atmosphere was very easygoing; one girl even combed the long hair of her friend, but attention was nevertheless good. Group work and common lecturing alternated. The teacher’s optimistic, ever smiling activity lead the class. Great.
All lessons take 1½ hours, then there’s a break, in repetition.
Carla then showed me the music room with the plaque they won.
We drove to her friend Cora to Hope Church, http://www.santacruzhope.com. At this time the church had been open for skating; as strange, but positive sight. Her mother, who works there, allowed her to join us for a trip to the coast at Davenport.
I had really looked forward to re-visit this place we had preferred back in 1970, see http://blogabissl.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-man-who-knew-davenport.html. It’s the beach outside the junction of highway one with the Bonny Doon road; Bonny Doon beach. As the river flows into the sea there, the next beach towards Davenport might be nicer and cleaner. Things have changed, the water tunnel to the next bay has gone, up North there’s a new one … For the girls and me it was a great (and very windy) experience. We did not climb down to the beach though.
We returned Cora home to Santa Cruz. Her young father and her little brother were there, in a big two-trucks mobile home that they had been given when they moved there recently. It’s a community of people with difficulties, and they care about them. I don’t know if he’s a minister; surely he does not act like one, just like a very ethical, very interested person. Everybody treats me with high respect, and very personally. This seems to be general habit here: to establish a connection right away, to take time to get to know the other person.
Thursday, June 1st, 2017 – school, photography, history, Schaerli, Loma Prieta
On Thursday Carla had invited me to her photography class, and later to history where I was to tell about me having seen John F. Kennedy in Berlin.
The photography class was very interesting – and extremely well equipped to my standards. All Apple computers, a large photo printer – and free donuts to start with! Again the teacher was very courteous to me – and when we softly talked while the students were working, he offered me a little chewing gum, and took one himself. What a fine gesture!
At first the students worked on their final assignment, a short “home page” telling about themselves, and only with self made pictures. Then one of Northern California’s top wedding photographer, Blake Weber (http://blakeweberphotography.com/) had been invited. He is totally self taught, and became professional while employed as fire fighter. This gave him and his family a sure income and well defined free time (at normal conditions), so he could build his skills and his business.
Blake started out with loaning himself 5000 Dollars (which he makes per day today …), into a separate “pocket”, i.e. his business. “You must take your business just as serious as your photography”. He read everything you can read on wedding photography, invested in (online) courses, and did the same with business. He trained himself to be an extremely fast shooter, and showed us his well selected outfit. He does the shooting, and always has a second shooter along, whom he trained personally. His wife does the editing; each pictures has been worked on. He sells no bodily product, not even one print, but his work via the cloud. So he has no sales tax. Other photographers do that just vice versa, and oppose him therefore. Hard and intense work.
Before I returned to school at 12.45 a phone message by the school had alerted me of an arrest case at school – you can hear the message amongst the pictures and read the local newspaper report of next morning.
More exciting was the fact that Carla’s friendly and very involved history teacher had asked me to speak to his class, which I then did, as “eyewitness” in Berlin, in the cold war, in post-war Germany. I think he and his class got some first hand history like this. The Bonn “Gymnasium” would never ask me to talk history, they only invite Jewish speakers to speak about the holocaust – which is ok, but rather unbalanced. But: “No politics please”, as my wife would warn me.
In the afternoon we had appointment with my old Swiss friends up on Loma Prieta Way. Unfortunately the direct road along the Soquel is interrupted – and may stay so for a while –, so we had to take the detour via the 17 and Summit road. A romantic drive.
We still had time to continue to Loma Prieta, but did not reach the summit. From there you have a spectacular view North into the Silicon Valley. The last mile or so is closed to normal cars, walking up in heat and dust not advisable. Next time we must ignore the signs. Many burnt trees from last year’s fire, see for example http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/30/what-caused-the-loma-fire/.
Back at Capitola we both were very tired. Carla made a pizza dinner, then exercised her juggling skills in the garden. I went to bed early.
Friday, June 2nd, 2017 – Capitola
We made school just in time; breakfast was skipped.
So I had a good excuse to directly return to the beach, as I had to reserve a table for tomorrow’s old HP veterans’ get-together. It was still overcast and too cool and windy to sit outside.
Everybody greeted! Hi, Hello, Good Day, or just some personal wave of the hand. And that’s everywhere. People look at you. It is definitely not as in Germany where subway habits of ignoring the
The afternoon was hurry here and there. I collected Carla at 2.30 from school, we brought home her friend Cloe, then returned home to get the dog, brought it to the vet to get rebandaged, returned, remembered that photos had to be collected in Santa Cruz, made an U-turn and got to the photographer all rigt. But not back, as highway one South was bumper-to-bumper, and Carla should have been back at school at five, dressed for a celebration. No way; we ended up there half an hour late. Gisela called on Carla’s mobile and wanted to chat, which was fine for her on aFriday evening or rather night, we however were restless because of the “resting” traffic.
Back home I walked once around the “block” to scoute the rear side. It’ s a suppy street, more or less, even with an old VW beetle.Alone (with the dog and the hungry cat) I ate a little, I repaired a little (picture frames had fallen off the wall and disintegrated), but found no glue and had to back up to classic nail mechanics. Gaye won’t see it.
I tried to relax a bit before having to fetch Carla from her party, But the hungry house animals, nervously whining around, kept me alarmed. So I tried to call Carla. When finally I had reached her, she led me through making dinner for the cat and the dog, de-escalating the home front. At 10.30 I fetched her, all happy. At school she and others bad been given a special award by the theatre group: “Outstanding Ensemble”.
You see the stars here at nighl, and that's not possible in Bonn, just on our farm in South Tyrol.I must try to see the ISS (times at http://iss.de.astroviewer.net/beobachtung.php?lon=-119.418&lat=36.778&name=Kalifornien)
Allow me three short political subjects as an aside.
Immigration. This here seems to be a naturally grown society, including a minority, the Spanish speaking people. In the streets, however, they’ll make no apparent difference, and they wouldn’t look or behave differently. You know they are Spanish, and that’s that. Currently local societies (including police) fight the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) with their headlines likes these on their website: “June 9, 2017, San Franciso , CA. In Germany we have got used to a disrupled society: Since many years many Turkish Immigrants live their separate life, speak and dress differently, eat differently, celebrate different festivities, and they hang on to that. With a lot of liberty we try to allow for such a “multicultural” society, passively and politely we try not to get into those other babits and attires, We produced a foreign land in our socicty. Like most things all this progresses without control, and certainly can’t be fixed by being right wing or even fascist. The Silicon Valley had a lot of Viemamese Immigrants after the Vietnam war; it would be inleresting to learn from them.
Trumps withdrawal frim the climate agreement. I like to make up my own mind, motto: “Think yourself”. The withdrawal – that he had promised during his campaign, and Americans thus voted for – was wrong, as it broke a given word by the US. Even states should remain reliable. Nothing bad substancially changed to justify this quick withdrawal. – But: The Paris accord is not binding, not binding for the countries that signed it, if I am informed correctly. The exorbitant expenses, especially when you ban nuclear power at the same time, as Germany does, make it not financia1ly not stable (not “sustainable”, nachhaltig), and a lot of effort goes to a perhaps unattainable goal, rather than to more pressing issues like the Middle East and Africa, subjects that can hide from public attention, while balloons are blown up with a climate “agreement” (which the nex best US President can just opt out). Look where the money goes. Industry of course more interested to build different power plants on state money than concentrating on real human issues.Then: We might not be able to stop global warming after all, and no state will glve us back all the moncy spent for “climate
cintrol” with its extra expensive car engines, expensive exhaust control and law cases, expensive photoelectric power (often in shady places), a new power distribution instead of forward looking investments into infrastructure, peace in Africa, ending the war in Syria etc. A good climate is not a switch you turn on like air conditioning. We may have to face the warming, no matter what. How about more difficult international subjects like birth control in Africa?
Suicide. I think the legalization – and apparent public acceptance – of suicide for terminally ill persons is very courageous. See the article in my photo album at https://goo.gl/photos/DxQJTxJbV1G21MXu7.
Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 – The Old (HP and Tandem Computers) Boy’s Reunion
This was the great day I had expected for quite some time: a get-together of my friends from olden days. And rather than trying to visit all of them individually in the crowded Silicon Valley or a bit farther in San Louis Obispo (or another one at Lake Tahoe) I had invited them here to Capitola, thanks to Gaye, the host to my daughter and me. A pity that Gaye was in Florida, and that John Page could not come, as he had his family visiting. But it’s not the number that makes for a good meeting, it’s the characters.
Then here was Bert, our senior, (having his 50th wedding anniversary) well prepared and organized as always, with a real bodily picture album of our Geneva years, a CD (and two fine bottles of wine!).
Then Jerry, who bridges my HP and my Tandem experience.
I must say, we all were very interesting and full of humour. The running gag turned out to be Snobol, a fine but forgotten French programming language.
Paul could tell us things of the early days, of his world’s first timesharing system in Paris, his work with Hewlett and later at Apple, where he brought in the ARM processor – and they didn’t want it for some hidden reasons.
Jerry remembered all details, from the first HP computer training at Böblingen to Jack Chapman and Ernst Lotz at Tandem.
Bert had the most consistent contacts to old friends, and had for a long time promoted the son of our German harware guy, who succumbed to cancer.
We concluded that we lived the unique time when computers were invented and developed, technically very satisfying, and a time when excitement, challenge and “can do” were the object, not return on investment. We were so lucky!
We had a nice lunch at Zelda’s at Capitola beach, then returned to chat a bit longer in Gaye’s garden, until everybody had to leave.
Technically for convenience I’m putting in an extra direct entry point to the blog,
So you should be able to come here directly, or even via
as long as this story stays on top.
Carla had joined us most of the time and had helped, had taken some pictures and made some coffee, stepping in as “lady of the house”. She then had an invitation to Santa Cruz’ board walk nd to a “sleepover” nearby, so I drove her and her friends around, enjoying the evening.
A wonderful day (with time to type this).
Sunday, June 4th, 2017, Chruch, “Pride” parade
Gisela wants me to be more personal, and to turn on the spell checker. To be more personal I’d have to tell stories of people, and I don’t know if that’s always appropriate. Can I say that in American bathrooms socks are used as face cloths? That my be funny for some, ingenious for others, plainly wrong or even offending to some. Do not make jokes on others. Also I was never a good story-type journalist. I am much too self-centered, too unbalanced, too little listening and asking; too much self-speaking. I don’t remember names. I admire journalists with genuine interest in others.
And as to spell checking: Google’s “blogger” is so dismally primitive, you work via a template, I guess, that the advantages of modern software have never reached. I could first write with Winword, and then copy to the blog, but that’s complicated and full of endless extra HTML code, and does not allow online editing. So you will have to bear with my spelling and typing errors, or just tell me! (On Friday I had to reconstruct half of my own blog text via screenshot, PDF, OCR, corrections, as I had made a mistake in adapting the format and all was gone.)
At night in bed I read a book, just taken at random from Gaye’s books nearby: Stuart McLean, “Welcome Home, Travels in Smalltown Canada”, 1992. Gaye must have struggled with her dog for the book. The cover is half ripped away, it’s heavily used (by both?), and wonderful to read and dream into. Gaye is Canadian.
This trip, like all my trips, is a change not only of site and place to me. It changes me, temporarily, with my thoughts and feelings, my moods and some of my personality (I think), at least as long as I’m alone. So I look forward for Gisela to come tomorrow, and I fear it. As old boarding school boy I adapt to every environment, I try to live simple, repair small things in the host’s household (currently the shower head’s CaCO3). So here I get to like the animals, the dog that shows idefinite and nervous relief whenever I return, the cat that wants I don’t know what. Secret animal kingdom. What does a dog think? Does it? I’m sure it does – but how far does ists self conciousness go? (Karl Valentin: Ententraum – a duck’s dream) Having nobody to chatter, using no earplugs, keeping the car radio still, I “ponder”. I let my soul lead me. Thanks to the Internet I found Catholic services just around the corner at St. Josef’s with Sunday mass times at seven, nine, eleven and five pm. Industrious people, I think. So I have an hour to write, but I’ll spare that for you this time …
To be on the correct side I put on my very best clothes, the brand new ones from Corradini at Bolzano, for the first time. I stepped around one angle, and there was St. Josef, a new, large church with a wooden roof construction, a ground layout indicating a cross, altar as on a stage scene, but it will be modified soon. Very comfortable seating. No organ. Foldable, a bit dusty kneeling boards. Nice, well dressed people, I’d guess some 800. A Karaoke screen displays prayers and songs. Numerous community members helped in the ceremony, excellent, slow and clear reading! Even though it must have been routine, all seemed to come right from the heart. Love. Consecration appeared taken lighter than in Europe, but was more intensive. After the consecration the priests kneel behind the altar, in Germany just a quick gesture, here a still moment for ten seconds. Classic “pro multis”. The public was offered bread and wine. The priest – a South African colored joung man – was good (preached asking for good deeds and later for articles for the church newsletter, rather than just sitting in mass), believable and intense. In his wide priestly outfit he looked a bit alien in his chair, at times like a buddah in the right hand corner of the theatre scene.
At the end after 1h 15m I met a friend of Carla and her parents, by chance.
A moving and interesting experience, Pentecost in America.
After breakfast (lukewarm tea, ham and eggs) and a “well-deserved” nap Carla called, all happy from the “Pride” parade, and I drove to fetch her. The congestion type queues are not as bad as after an accident. One gets used to them. Same old freeways as 1970, just a lot more cars.
We spent the afternoon at the house, Carla had some more homework and to re-order her room a bit, to make it ready for inspection by mother.
Monday, June 5, 2017, Pentecost Monday (Pfingstmontag), no holiday here. Gisela came!
Gaye has courageosly risen from too short a night! Works. I brought Carla to school at (or rather past!) nine. Her mood was reduced, I don’t know why. I seem to be the ever talkative here. There was no problem at school to get Carla to end school at twelve, so we can go to the airport.
And now I’m off to buy some groceries for a barbeque tonight …You get to learn a lot of friendly people in a supermarket in the morning. Nobody is in a hurry. I found out what sprouts are, found cucumbers, even German style bratwurst, though they are white and not reddish as Americans seem to think that sausages have to look like. Two elderly men were looking for sauerkraut, we joked about it.
At noon I had to fetch Carla from school and drive to San Jose airport for Gisela, arriving with the same flight as I a week before. We were in good time. The gate in Teminal A was just a small place, no staff but two joung man trying in vain to get the sliding doors not to slide when approached from the outside, despite all walky-talky chatter.
Gisela came 1 1/4 hour after landing, happy and tired. Driving back the 17 lots of talk – Carla and I speak less, queues in the Santa Cruz area, filling up gasoline: 13.650 gallons of Regular at 3.239$ per gallon = $44.21, no tax! (=3.7854118 l/g. 0.86 $/l. 0.8875 €/$). We partially unpacked. Gisela nervous, but she made it!
In the evening I drove with Kris to get gas for the barbeque. Here they actually refill the “bombs”. But to no avail. The burner hadn’t been used for centuries (I guess), was all rusty, and the flames came – if at all – at the wrong places. So we grilled or sausages inside, which was quite as good. First State side dinner for Gisela.
We slept well in the double bad. Gisela was really tired, and I was really flexible …
Tuesday, June 6th, 2017
Today Carla had to be at school at her regular time: 8.30. And we juuust made it. I had taken the direct approach, the queue was till highway one underpass, and I feared to get her another “tardy” entry.
Back at home Kris and I tried to fix the ancient barbeque. All four burner rods plus the three fire combining ducts were rust rotten. Replacents (Internet) would cost ninety dollars! Perhaps we can still fix the old tubes … Kris is off to the hardware store. We have no success with the barbeque, the gas pressure is too weak. Might be the regulator? Then we hang three rows of lights with solar charging across the court.
Gisela enjoys the garden. The day still cool and foggy, see my picture“romantic airborne wiring” showing the simple power installatin here. Later I look at the 110 V plug system: The rectangular contacts do not have the same size, the right one (grounding at bottom) is slightly longer, the left one the “hot phase”. Specific deviceds like vacuum cleaners require that their plug is connected the right way round, others not. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity.
|Santa Cruz Ale Works |
Castle Beach Kölsch 4.8 % Alc.
Then we shop at a drugstore for shampoos and for groceries at Mob Hills Food. While the ladies buy beauty, I talk to a homeless outside on a bench. He looks very prober and seems sober. He’s 55, from Brasil had four wifes and got around all the world, went to school in England as a son of a diplomat. Currently he’s being divorced, but his marrige was fake anyway: He git tenthousand dollars and his wife a Green Card. He’s American since the eraly 90s. Today he sleeps every night at another church, free of charge, with some other 18 men. He lives in Scotts Valley, works seven days a week, but only part-time. Downhill he uses his bicycle, back ge boes by bus, and has a monthly ticket. All the time he polished his bicycle helmet, that he had recently refound, to a shining British racing green. He lost all his belongings at the very end of a return trip from South America with many stations at the arrival here. The things he had stored with a friend burned down with the house of the friend.
In the afternoon Gisela prepared the chicken dinner for six – her first work in this kitchen. It turned out excellent es ever. Tomorrow we’ll get noodles, that’s simpler.
The new lamps glew nicely. Carla and I saw the ISS at 10.11 pm.
Wedesday, June 7th, 2017 – first cooking: stress
Time flies. We were a bit late for school, Carla was late, I had not taken the right turn, so the queues were enervating. Imagine over thousand students being brought to school by car each morning …
At home I finally learnt how to activate the top loading washing machine and the dryer, two monsters sitting on top of each others at a distance and controlled by numerous not very precise dials to turn or rather to leave as they are and have ever been.
We both drove to fetch Carla, after having shopped groceries for tonight’s Gisela’s dinner (baked noodles, special desert, see pictures) we picker her up. Our atmosphere was extremely nervous, as for cooking you need your customary things and qualities. We drove to a hardware store – more like a shop for home builders – bought two cardboard shipping boxes, and to Safeways. Plus we were hungry, so on the way home we stopped for bread at Gayle’ Bakery. Slept in the afternoon, pepared dinner, had a relaxed dinner, some more washing, to bed.
The day was cool and overcast.
Thursday, June 8th, 2017 – second cooking: rather relaxed, Carla’s last school day
We had learnt from Wednesday’s dinner. Gisela prepared onesimpler meal at night: risotto. Furthermore this was Carla’s very last day at school in America, a big, a last good-bye, only softened by electronic communication.
It turned out to be unspectacular. But: Heaven was raining, just a little, but notably, especially for California! Gisela and I drove to school, quarter of an hour earlier, about 12.45. The final exams were still running, so visitory are not well seen. I wanted to have a last word with the history teacher, I introduced Gisela to the English teacher as well. Both again praised Carla for her skills and intense social intergration. Carla was a happy sight, with her (second hand) black leather sweater Gisela had sent her. She wanted to stay with some of her friends for lunch in a Soquel restaurant. So the two of us left alone, relaxed, did some shopping (7 items on the list, over 15 in the cart).
I had invited Gisela for a simple lunch at Zelda’s on the beach, despite the rain. Gisela had fish and chips, I a thick clam chowder soup. Gisela’s knee hurt since two days, but for the rest we enjoyed this time for us.
In the afternoon Gaye’s friend came hobby carpenting the new (old looking) slide door in our rooms towards the kitchen. I tried to fix up some things in the garden.
The risotto dinner was great, relaxed, Gaye spoke about a film with the same subject as Salt on our Skin. Gisela told the history of “Dinner for One” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinner_for_One).
Friday, June 9th, 2017 – Preparations for the Saurday party, fine dinner with Albert
The day started out foggy but turned to normal quickly. Saturday even better.
With Gisela we closed Carla’s bank account with Wells Fargo and went to T-Mobile in the mall, in vain, you just call customer service to cancel. The ladies had lots of fun with massage machines there, see pictures. Bought last Santa Cruz hoodie for Carla. Shopped at Safeway. Even here a friend of Carla, working as packer I guess, came running to hug her. Crisis, when we spilt Gisela’s expensive “coffee” at Starbucks. Gisela fled the scene, but luckily stopped at the car on her way back to Bonn.
In the afternoon Gisela prepared food for tomorrow’s party.
Saturday, June 10th, 2017 – the day of Carla’s big party
A wonderful, bright and sunny day! No plan B required for the outdoor party.
Gaye and I had to get the thirty chairs and three tables from a rental service in Santa Cruz, and just barely got them into our rented SUV. We had to drive back carefully, Gaye holding the tables when we went uphill, lest they slide out the open back.
In the meantime Gisela cooked and baked and prepared here in the house. The party was in the later afternonn, so there was some time to prepare everyting.
In a second tour Gaye, Kris and I drove to San Jose to “Costco Wholesale” in Santa Cruz, a food outlet, bigger than I ever saw, for drinks, meat. We still did not find a good gas grill that Gaye wanted as replacement for the rusty, non functioning old one.
While paying I saw Margrit Schaerli in the next lane, with Avonne. What a surprise! I hadn’t seen Avonne since she was a little girl. We had no time to converse, but they again invited me to their house in the mountains.
On our next tour we went to the “Home Depot” and got a high quality (we hope) Weber model, in a large heavy box though. Kris spent an hour to assemble it, and did an excellent job. It worked prompty, in good time for the party. On the way home we also got more food and four sacks of ice.
With the n-th tour Gaye got the balloons she had ordered via phone while we had passed the store in the morning. Carla prepared her speech. The only thing we were nervous about was the question: Would all of the invited appear?
We had fourty merry girls and a handful of boys chatting, eating and dancing in the garden. One of Carla’s friends had brought a quite progessional disco equipment, one big loudespeaker, control desk, small pc and his smartpone to stream the music from. And he was very good and fast to have the music and the microphone running. At times it was Karaoke without prompting screen: They knew the texts of their favorite songs anyway. Later a friend presented a moving video for Carla with all her friends’ statements, Carla watched it and we listened to it. Carla gave a speech mentioning everybody, including Gaye and us parents, the characteristics of each.
Gaye and Gisela worked to have all things – especially the food and the canned drinks in an ice bucket – ready and enjoyed the party looking an; I “mixed with the crowd” taking pictures and some videos, not bothering anybody. I’ve never been able to take pictures so inobstrsuively than here, where the atmosphere, the feelings were so merry and joyful that I really did not matter. I felt even like dematerialized at times. To me the party was like «l’après-midi d’un faune», I saw fauns dancing, a bit louder than Debussy’s, a bit more real, but with the youth and innocence and love abundant. I think even for Capitola and its easygoing standars this was exceptional.
Aside I had good conversations with Carla’ prom friend, who had been accepted to study music, and to a girl friend with interest in writing and history. I have to learn more about “creative writing” – but you notice that when reading this. Mostly I lack memory of names.
Late in the evening the show closed, the music machines were disassembled, I brought home Carla’s best friend.
Sunday, June 11th, 2017 – Silicon Valley shopping vs. visit to the grand Schaerli family
We had to return the rented furniture by ten. So the two “early birds” in the house packed them into the car and, again, drove them carefully back to the rental service.
Gisela had prepared breakfast. The youth was not quite ready, so we had the cat join us on her side table. Slight nervousness by Gisela, who likes to have everybody synchronized. After breakfast I phoned to St. Helena and to Schaerlis for arrangements to meet.
Kris lent me his blue Volkswagen Jetta, and I drove up to Schaerlis on Loma Prieta. Reto, whom I had last seen as a boy visiting us in Frankfurt, was working with his mother and a friend in the garden. The Indian grandmother was there as well. I helped “with suggestions” … – gave ezzes, as we’d say. Avonne had been at the beach with the children of Reto. When thy returned we had a grill “antipasti” on the veranda, slightly windy. Later all had dinner inside.
I had good talks with Reto and his wife, with the grandmother, with all of them. I was very impressed by the cultured atmosphere, sort of high level American, and by the well brought up children playing an excellent role, also during discussions about nature, self-conciousness, schools and much more. Reto stressed the importance of bringing up the children, umpromped. We often think if we let them have liberty that’s fine. I returned late through the dark forest. Carla was relieved that I was back. To me this evening had shown a world “in order” and at a level I normally miss.
Gisela and Carla spent the day packing – Carla’s room, and not for our trip here.
I drove with Kris to Saratoga. We visited Montalvo and the Japanese Hakone garden, beautiful and cultivated.
While he drove I noticed that some of the German texts of the Rammstein (two m, not just one as the US Air Force base) band are quite fascist. They are fine, elaborate and artsy texts, but nevertheless with a strong tendency to unquestioned cameradery, to follow a leader without thought, example: http://Herzeleid.com/en/lyrics/liebe_ist_fuer_alle_da/haifisch. Black and brutal.
Back home we went to eat pizza at Pizza My Heart. – But we have so much leftover food from the party …
We won’t start our trip North tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 – “demonstration forest”, “Sunny Cove”
I’ve done some reading yesterday evening on Rammstein. I hadn’t even known the name, let alone the music or the songs; it was Kris who likes them, and thought that I as German might like them as well. As a trained show effects specialist he might be fascinated by them even more than just by their sound, they “are known for their pyrotechnic elements” (Wikipedia).
|Richard Kruspe of Rammstein|
Foto Collins, from Wikipedia
My first impression was “right wing”, my second: “fascist”. Now I even think – and I usually think by my own without outside influences – that part of Rammstein’s fame rides on a very unhealthy and untrue view of Germans, dating back to Nazi times: black, martial, hard, writing in blackletter typefaces (Fraktur). (In 1941 the Nazis themselves had banned 𝕱𝖗𝖆𝖐𝖙𝖚𝖗, but that’s another story.)
I remember that Germans and Japanese were seen by Americans only as crude fighters and idiots, especially in the media, i.e. films at that time. Hogan’s Heroes was a television show we liked to watch in the seventies, when I lived here, paraphrasing this prejudiced view of Germans. In the meantime most Germans – if you may generalize at all – have become extremely peaceful, even “cowads”, avoiding conflict by all means. An exception might be the worldwide trend to violence. This “black” image of Germany and Germans is picked up and enhanced by the Rammstein group, as I see it. I trust in their genuine feelings towards their shows, sounds and songs, but the effect is a highly effective and successful perpetuation and use of negative prejudices of Germans as Germanic. And it is fascist. The lengths of the Wikipedia texts clouds these negative connotations. I see this as a newcomer. Fans may not see that.
Why are their texts fascist? I just heared one text, one song that alerted me: Haifish (shark). It is a fine parody to Brecht-Weill’s Threepenny Opera, that was one of the showpieces of the theater am Schiffbauerdamm in communist East Berlin. As a student, living in West Berlin, I had loved this theatre and this play. Rammstein was founded in Berlin by an East German.
Back to the shark: “We stick together, there’s no one to stop us”, “We remain loyal to you, … , we follow the rules” – this sounds very militant to me, loyal instead of moral, brutal rather than stopping to think when in doubt. “We keep the speed. We keep our word. If one does not keep up with us, we all stop”. And do what?, I ask. Punish him or her? To whom did we give “our word”? (Remeber that the death of many, many German soldiers, including my father’s, was morally due to their [required] oath to Hitler himself.) All that does not sound even remotely peaceful or democratic. “You may think of us whatever you want, we grab what’s ours (»halten uns schadlos«), we’ll never stand still”. This is a movement, and to me one that follows a leader, follows rules no matter what, unhaltable, uncorrectable, marching on. Pure fascism, only superficially covered by flashbacks to the Treepenny Opera (the shark in tears). In fact “The Shark” may be a good title: hiding, agressive and extremely dangerous. Especially as a “culture”.
Wikipedia states some of these as “controversies”, but avoids to see that art, once produced, has its own life apart fom the artist or artists. What they think and state becomes irrelevant to their published productions.
Thread lightly, world!
Back to the USA. In the morning I had to do some shopping and to mail the one heavy carton home. It would have cost 115 Dollars, so I took it back …
Gisela nd Carla packed, Gisela reserved a hotel in South Lake Tahoe, I repaired yet another couple of things here, entrance gate, dog gate, night light for the patio, more.
In the afternoon I had a fine, long drive to the “Soquel Demonstration State Forest”, that I’d have seen from Schaerlis, 18 miles of a relatively good road via Corralitos, past some strage “training centers”. At the published address 29400 Highland Way (Los Gatos) – nothing. A bit further we found the slim entrance bridge by a biker, repairing his mountain bike. The park is unattended. Kris and I wandered in, an hour perhaps, met some bikers, and saw fine Sequoia trees, a fine forest with interesting points but no view to the other side of the valley.
Horror announcement of dying trees: “102 million dead trees in California”, f.e. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-dead-trees-20161118-story.html
We returned by driving North to Summit Road at highway 17, at the end the usual way to Schaerlis, about 40 miles and a long drive because of the usual traffic jam at highway 1 South approaching Capitola.
In the evening Carla had her last beach party at “Sunny cove” with her friends, and we hamburgers at home with Gaye.
Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 – Trip, to Lake Tahoe
Separate foto album! Pictures at https://goo.gl/photos/Rqj1xEiq9o46dNnh8
We finally got away for our trip to Oregon. When I had mentioned to Gaye that she might be happy to see us depart – at least for a while – she did not object; she might have been thinking of her work this eary in the morning …
We had a good breakfast, Gisela in good mood telling stories, Carla rather late. I started the last washing – Gisela likes to clean up and I to clean.
At ten ten we got “driving”. First stop gasoline and sandwiches. Spanish. Gasoline “pay first”, sandwiches good and fresh. We ate them on 680. Around Sacramento rich traffic, but nor queues. We stopped in nowhereland, 32°C, hot sun, happy singing birds, photoes. Next Stop a Safeway on the way up the 50 to the pass.
Spectacular view of the huge lake, from the pass just a slim blue ribbon afar. Gisela sped down, to my dismay. I like to stop often, look, walk, explore, take pictures.
So when we arrived at our hotel “Base Camp” in South Lake Tahoe I stayed in the car while Gisela and Carla went to the office to get the room keys. We then schlepped all baggage up to the first floor room and into it, just to find out that it was already occupied. So we got another elsewhere. That had had no private balcony, that Gisela needs. So we waited for yet another room to be found, and got one, excellently looking at the mountain, some snow on top, the burnt forest, the cableway (the Americans have no popular word for that, call it tram). The room is luxuriously big, two huge double beds, most modern TV, all gadgets including a night light in the bathroom and European style faucet. The rest is in “basecamp style” with simulated raw waterpiping for handles and toilet paper hold and simulated canvas: just add rings every three inces at the rim of fabricsand you’ve got this rough expedition feeling. Fitting Wifi password: exploretahoe.
We are at the very borderline to Nevada. A huge Harrah’s there since five years, but the folks from there don’t appear on the outside, I think.
First we walked to the beach, some 400m away, and relaxed. Then we drove to the Sushi restaurant “Naked Fish”, good and expensive, and ate too much, as always …
Thursday, June 15th, 2017 – Tahoe
I woke up at six, and at seven had an interesting talk with the manager (?) who watered the lawn with the new grass seeds. He told me about the Nevada California border line along the street. That explains the huge glass casino that overshadows all traditioninal small houses, hotels and setting here.
Then I typed a bit diary, sitting in the guaranteed free chair in thr bathroom, so as not to disturb.
Around nine we all went to a primitive “basecamp” breakfast. We discussed if the cableway operates, most people said no, only tomorrow, and we found out that there are two cableways here, one nearby in town (running, but in servide mode) and another one, a long one up to the mountain. This one we could not find. Maps here are miserable, pure advertizing, including Google’s. Try to find the name of a river or mountain there: You’ll find the restaurant with that name.
Friday, June 16th, 2017 – Tahoe to Sunriver
Saturday, June 17th, 2017 – Sunriver
Sunday, June 18th, 2017 – Sunriver to Mount Shasta
Monday, June 19th, 2017 – Mount Shasta to Napa Valley
Special album Napa https://goo.gl/photos/CBXfh1U6y8mHTZQu6
Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 – St. Helena, Pacific, Davenport, Capitola
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 – Capitola. Doctor. Gilroy
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 – San Francisco
… to be continued … (and perhaps to be improved)
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