2. Juni 2017

California Revisited

This is a personal diary of my trip to Northern California in June 2017. I had not been in California for perhaps fifteen years. My first California contact dates back to 1970 in Cupertino with Hewlett-Packard, see http://blogabissl.blogspot.com/2012/01/dedicated-to-my-old-friends-especially.html.
   Nothing in general can be learnt from these notes, and they are in my own queer English. So you might want to read this only if you know me well and are well inclined. Neither did I know celebrities, nor do I mention all names here.
   My special thanks go to our host, Gaye Clemson, who accepted first our daughter Carla for a full year and then the whole family for a month, as if we were dear relatives, even friendlier! And to all other old friends, to teachers and staff of Soquel High School, especially to Carla’s history teacher, the photo and English teacher, to Bill up North and my many friends up in the mountains, to anonymous people genuinely interested in us, and to my wife bearing with my grumpyness at times. 
   “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? ” (Mathew 7)  – Please take critical notes mainly as warnings for myself, who I’m allergic to my own faults seen in others. I’ve rarely been a good example; you can learn from my faults much easier.  
   Suggestions and corrections are welcome – Fritz@JoernDe

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/XXXCBXfh1U6y8mHTZQu6 (remove XXX)

Direct permanet link to this blog entry (“post”):

Monday, May 29, 2017 Bonn—Capitola
Direct entry address #529, i.e. http://blogabissl.blogspot.com/2017/06/california-revisited.html#529, etc. #602

The Rhine in Bonn.
Morning view upstream (south) from Kennedy bridge.
When I closed the door of our apartment in Bonn Friedrichstraße, I felt lonely and a bit afraid. I had said goodbye to my wife Gisela at 6.10. She had prepared all my documents, packed to perfection (carefully checking the weight limit), and I had scouted the tramway ticket price the night before at nearbvy Suttnerplatz.
   So in the gray of the morning right away the ticket vending machine went on strike on my six Euros. So I reached Siegburg high-speed train station ticketless.
   The day was cloudy and the sun rose behind them. Rhine river. From Siegburg the crowded ICE (101) train brought me with 263 km/h (163 mph) and more in twenty minutes to the Frankfurt airport.
   The airport was rather empty on this Monday morning. My special security check brought to view unknown surprises in my rucksack, from last summer in South Tryrol, screws to fix some outer windows otherwise flapping in the wind.
   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 in the sixties and seventies.
Virtual Golden Gate bridge.
All pictures may be enlared.
   During the comfortable flight I kept away from films and other excitements, to dampen future jetlag. An old Indian beside me kept asking everybody every five minutes: “Sashash” or so. We confirmed “San Jose”, and I turned on the flight TV so he could read it all the time.
   Unpleasant surprise at the Alamo car rental in San Jose: California requires an expensive extra insurance of $ 19.94 (later factually 12.95) a day for people getting hurt while in the car (sum 388.50). 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. My borrowed US Tomtom navigation system worked after some satellite searching, and brought me to Carla, my daughter, and Gaye, her host, with only a few extra circles at the very end in Capitola. “Four way stops” – the American street feature! Cheaper than roundabouts, but slower. 
   Carla embraced me at the door! Such a long time. Gaye had been waiting too. We had exchanged SMS all the time during my approach. Modern logbooks.
   First a fine, sunny, not too warm afternoon on the patio. Carla’s room well adapted to the usual full, but not necessarily ordered conditions here. I love that, but I’ll have to be positive and educational and ask 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, € 107,45, the three of us, first shock). See http://bit.ly/2tRa5H7.  
   And now I sit here in Gaye’s guest room, her cat came to greet me at night. It’s six in the morning. The day is coming up. I hear the big dog, Roxy, bark. The small one, Maddie, is really cute, but has to stay in a cage when we are out.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 – school, history, beach – Pictures start at http://bit.ly/2tJhd7T
   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 sandwich for school, and off we went into somewhat like a small queue at the nearby school in Soquel (http://soquel.sccs.net/, link not available directly fom Europe). 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 (http://bit.ly/2thjmXv) 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, a senior from Canada. “Would you rather like to live here than in Europe?”, he asked me after a while, and were it not for my inherited farm in South Tyrol, I don’t really know. As a young man with a very European wife and no children, 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 you to the one place once chosen by yourself or by destiny. The man was homesick of Canada – having divorced his Californian wife a long time ago. “Only the weather is warmer here”, he said. We both agreed that people are friendly everywhere.
   I went to the beach, chatted with two volunteer ladies making statistics on leftovers in the sand that was being cleaned; meticulously weighing the different fractions. Then I “tested” the popular “Zeldas on the beach” (831) 475 4900, with a light breakfast ($ 11.12 + 1.88 tip = $ 13 = € 11,92). Families, older citizens, sitting in the sun, black birds catching leftovers, and everybody super friendly. My small tea pot was refilled with hot water without asking, the cold water as well. Nice country, nice place.
   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 (http://bit.ly/2tMxXuF).
   The school “bell” is no bell, it sounds like a hoarse radio station’s time signal to tell everybody: time for classes. We walked to her history class. 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 (http://bit.ly/2tIZc9D). 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. In This lesson 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: In the film 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. 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. I exaggerate. 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 and required separate portfolios like portraits, nature, town (black and white), etc. – overwiew here, Carla’s page here, phantastic results! I worked on my Google picture album on Circus Roncalli. I hate (but use) this cloud offer. It thinks it knows better than you what to do and what you want (like identify persons). Should I placed this New York trip diary into my blog as 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. This one here is http://blogabissl.blogspot.com/2017/06/california-revisited.html = http://bit.ly/2tq1GHz.
   Finally Gaye got “off the hook” from her business telephone, past six p.m., all tired and finished. So  I drove the ladies down to Capitola “downtown” 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 (€ 68,76).
   I’ve still no contact to my oldest friends here, to Schaerlis (orig. Schärli, lit. little scissors), up on Loma Prieta way, their old phone number does not work any more.– Wrong: Carla’s mobile phone reached them fine. From the fixed line phone you must add a leading 1.

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 – school, English, Hope church, Davenport coast

pictures start at http://bit.ly/2tu0imZ
   Tired by jetlag, Mexican food, and all the events of the day before I slept well – until four o’ clock or so; awakened again by jetlag and age. Having the room for myself I can type Thinkpad (beloved X61s with SSD), I can read or just think at leisure. At six o’clock, when I tried to “re-sleep”, there was a “long distance” emergency call from my wife in Germany: she couldn’t park her car, as she could’nt open our expensive car parking space, the key would not turn. I emailed a photo of the correct key, and that did the job for her. Modern communication!
   Carla and I were a bit late to school, the queues were longer than minutes earlier, but we got to school just in time (I think). They monitor attendance by the minute.
   I returned home, and had to get back to school later this morning.
   Back home I found Gaye busy again on the phone: earplug in ear and Smartphone in hand – why don’t phones have hooks like old mobile phones to hang around your neck? If one or two present phone, “local” communication is reduced to unconcentrated deaf-mute sign language: Should I let the dog out to pee in the garden? Can I use the land line phone? Where’s the leash? Knowing where normal thread was, so I used that. Together with the dog I 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 Gaye had to leave, with smooth takeover of the continuing phone 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. (Thoughts suffer more than Word.)
   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 speeches with slides, should talk about one of the books. The presentations had to state the author’s argument, a counter argument and a personal opinion. This turned out to be very interesting, even when the speeches were not all presented towards the class, but to the direction of the slide instead. The atmosphere was very easygoing; one girl in the class audience even combed the long hair of her friend (http://bit.ly/2tVmWrF), but attention was nevertheless good. Group work and common lecturing alternated. The teacher’s optimistic, ever smiling activity, her positive critocism and encouragement lead the class. Great.
   All lessons take 1½ hours, then there’s a break, in repetition.
   Before we left Carla 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 (http://bit.ly/2tVpKF6, see Sunday, June 25th for more “Hope”) 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 my then wife Brigitte and I had preferred back in 1970, see http://blogabissl.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-man-who-knew-davenport.html. It’s the wild beach at the junction of highway one with the Bonny Doon road, called Bonny Doon beach I think. As the Bonny Doon river flows into the sea there, the next beach towards Davenport might be nicer and cleaner.
   Things have changed, the rock tunnel to the next bay has gone, up North there’s a new one … Even today for my girls and me it was a great (and very windy) experience. We did not climb down to the beach though.
   (Later, June 20, we ate at Davenport, see further down and http://bit.ly/2tllXiO.)
   We returned Cora home to Santa Cruz. Her young father and her 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, all living in mobile homes minutes from the beach, and they care about them. I don’t know if he’s a minister (he is, and with yearlong education, see Sunday, June 25th); 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 (lit. “black hill”) – pictures start at http://bit.ly/2tVSRs4
   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 1963.
   The photography class was very interesting – and extremely well equipped to my standards. Full of 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 an elegant, fine gesture!
   At first the students worked on their final assignment, a short “home page” telling about themselves. Only self made pictures were allowed. 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 fire conditions), so he could build his skills and his business.Intensive work, both on photography and on business practices, made him successful:
   Blake started out with loaning himself five thousand 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 always has a second “shooter” along, whom he trained personally. His wife does the editing; each pictures handed over is worked on. He sells no bodily products, not even a single print, but offers his work via the cloud. So he has no sales tax. Other photographers do that just the other way round, and oppose him therefore.
   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, http://bit.ly/2u3chL7, second message.
   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. Carla’s 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 Carla and I had to take the detour via the 17 and Summit road. A romantic drive.
   Schaerlis were well, impeccable as ever, unfortunately stressed and weakened by his treatments. The house has to be heated electrically, as they had not replaced the single walled oil tank, and built a large veranda instead. While building it, Hugo had been bitten by a young, quite poisonous rattlesnake (Klapper­schlange).
   The view from their home high up on the mountain range was breathtaking, just as I had remembered it. Perhaps we go to see them again, especially when their daughter is in.
   Once in the mountains we still had time to continue to Loma Prieta (dry hilltop), 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 non-authorized cars, and walking up in heat and dust is not advisable. Next time we must ignore the signs. We saw many burnt trees from last year’s fire, see for example http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/30/what-caused-the-loma-fire/ (http://bit.ly/2udbnfK).
   Back home 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 – pictures start at http://bit.ly/2t8RGAD


   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 my 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. “How are you today?” – to which I never can prompt with the proper answer: “fine, just fine!”; would that be ok? It is definitely not as in Germany where subway habits of ignoring the fellow man or woman prevail.
   The afternoon was hurry here and there. I collected Carla at 2.30 from school, we brought home her friend Cloe (http://bit.ly/2sZl4Oo), then returned home to get the dog, brought it to the vet to get rebandaged on the foot, 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 full, and Carla should have been back at school at five, dressed for a celebration. No way; we ended up half an hour late. 
   Gisela called from Germany on Carla’s mobile and wanted to chat, which was fine for her on a Friday evening or rather night, we however were restless because of the “resting” traffic. Gisela has special flat rate tarif including part of Eurpe and in the meantime even the USA, Carla has an expensive US mobile SIM card. To speak free of charge we normally used Whatsapp or Skype.
   Back home I walked once around the “block” to scout the rear side of the garden. It’ s a suppy street, more or less, includes even an old VW beetle (http://bit.ly/2u3x5SQ).
   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 awake. So I tried to call Carla. When finally I had reached her, she led me through making dinner for the cat and the dog, thus 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) – and managed later on June 6th..

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. ICE arrests over 50 in central California operation targeting criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, and immigration fugitives.” I’ve added a newspaper article to the pictures at http://bit.ly/2tD86Vz. – In Germany we have got used to a disrupled society: Since many years many Turkish Immigrants here live their separate life, speak and dress differently, eat differently, celebrate different festivities, and they naturally 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. Many immigrants are legal from EU counties. Many are – perhaps as often as in the US? – illegal, and no reasonable steps are taken to legalize them. We produced a foreign land in our socicty. Like most things all this progresses without control, and certainly can’t be fixed by voting right wing, left 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 from the climate agreement. I like to make up my own mind, motto: “Think for yourself”. The withdrawal – that he had promised during his campaign, and Americans thus had voted for – was wrong, as it broke a contract, 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 only financia1ly instable (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 or in again?).
   Look where the money goes. Industry of course is 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 give us back all the moncy spent for “climate control” with its extra expensive car engines, expensive exhaust control systems, “add Blue” or not, and law cases, expensive photoelectric power (here 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?
   Last subject: 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.

   entry #friends
Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 – The Old (HP and Tandem Computers) Boy’s Reunion 
   Photos start at http://bit.ly/2v75ZHc
   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 both my daughter and me now. 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.
   Paul, the original Frenchman, had even brought his wife. She works or worked at Stanford, and praised it to Carla.
   Then here was Bert, our senior, true American, (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 had 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 in the sun at Zelda’s at Capitola beach, then returned to chat a bit longer in Gaye’s garden, until everybody had to leave. For another long time …

Technically for convenience I’m putting in an extra direct entry point to the blog, 
http://blogabissl.blogspot.com/2017/06/california-revisited.html#friends
So you should be able to come here directly, or even via
http://blogabissl.blogspot.com#friends
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 and to a “sleepover” nearby, so I drove her and her friends around, enjoying the evening.
   A wonderful day (with time to type this and read a bit in Gaye’s Canadian book “Welcome Home”, see below).

Sunday, June 4th, 2017, Chruch, “Pride” parade – pictures start at http://bit.ly/2ta0FBG
   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, but 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 produces 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. Worse than old Wordstar.)
   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, she or he? I’m sure it does – but how far goes its self conciousness? (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 then five pm. Industrious people, I think. So I have an hour to write, but I’ll spare that for you this time …
   entry #church
   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, an 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 of it seemed to come right from the heart. The theme as everywhere in todays Christianity: 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.
Tired  Miss “Pride”
   At home Carla had returned fom her night out, and just re-makeupped for some gay parade in Santa Cruz: “Pride” parade. So just as I wanted to fry two eggs for breakfast she made me bring her there. With queues to and from not very practical. If she had told me a bit earlier and more, I might have taken the opportunity to stay there for a while and watch. (Why should you be proud to be LGBT? That certainly is a minority to be respected, but no personal achievement. I’m allergic already to fashinable aids events, even though people with aids seem responsible for it (unlike, say, gays). The neighbor here is “Proud Parent Of An Honor Student At New Brighton Middle School”, according to his or her bumper sticker. And I’m nor really proud of mysef, made a traffic mistake yesterday night; only consequence: an irate opponent driver.)
   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 to do and to re-order her room a bit, to make it ready for inspection by upcoming mother.

Monday, June 5, 2017, Pentecost Monday (Pfingstmontag), no holiday here. Gisela came!
photos here: http://bit.ly/2uNoNMq

   Gaye has courageosly risen from too short a night! She works. I brought Carla to school at (or rather a bit 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 drive to the airport to fetch Mama.
   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 had a week before. We were in good time. The gate in Teminal A was just a small place, no staff but two busy joung employees trying in vain to get the sliding doors not to slide when approached from the outside, despite all walky-talky chatter with their central.
   Gisela came 1 1/4 hour after landing, happy and tired. Driving back the 17 we had 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 was very nervous, but she made it!
   In the evening I drove with Kris, Gaye’s one son, to get liquid gas (Propane) for the barbeque into the bottle. 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 out – 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 – pictures from http://bit.ly/2tElYyw

    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 began at 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?  (Had been a flat tire effect from the enlarged burner holes, due to rust.)
   Then we hang three rows of lights with solar charging across the court, nice all night and non-offensive. 
   Gisela enjoys the garden. The day is 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.
   At one we parents, both of us, drive to school, get Carla, and back again via Bay Avenue to “Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria” for lunch.
   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 proper and seems sober. He’s 55, from Brasil, had four wifes and got around all the world as a son of a diplomat, went to school in England . Currently he’s being divorced, but his marrige was fake anyway: He got tenthousand dollars and his wife a Green Card. He’s American since the eraly 90s. Nowadys he sleeps every night at another church, free of charge, with some other up to twenty men. He lives nearby in Scotts Valley, works seven days a week, but only part-time. Coming from there 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 arrival here from a return trip from South America with many stations . The things he had stored with a friend had burned (burnt?) down with the house of the friend.
    In the afternoon Gisela prepared a chicken dinner for six – her first cooking in this American kitchen. As always with her it turned out excellent. 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 – pictues from http://bit.ly/2sMf6MD

   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.
   Again 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 a simpler 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 visitors were not very welcome. I wanted to have a last word with the history teacher, I introduced Gisela to the English teacher as well. Both teachers again nicely 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 ate 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 senior friend came hobby carpenting the new (old looking) slide door between “our” room and 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 – pictures start at http://bit.ly/2ueXBcr
   The day started out foggy but turned to normal quickly. Saturday was to be even better.
   With Gisela we closed Carla’s bank account at 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. Carla bought the last Santa Cruz hoodie. We shopped at Safeway. Even here a friend of Carla, working as packer I guess, came running to hug her. Then we had a crisis, when we spilt Gisela’s expensive “coffee” at Starbucks smack on the floor. Gisela fled the scene in awe, but luckily stopped at the car on her way back to Bonn.
   In the afternoon Gisela prepared food for tomorrow’s party.
   In the evening Albert came. We had an excellent dinner with good conversations and style. I had to fetch Carla from the beach with friends – police closes down the beaches at about ten – and it was romantic (see pictures)!

Saturday, June 10th, 2017 – the day of Carla’s big party – pictures from http://bit.ly/2u5osHp
   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 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 any I ever saw, for drinks, meat. We still did not find a good gas grill that Gaye wanted as replacement for the old rusty one.
   When I paid I saw Margrit Schaerli in the next lane, with Avonne, my old Swiss friends from Loma Prieta. What a surprise! I hadn’t seen Avonne since she was a little girl, neary fifty years. We had no time to converse, but they invited me again 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 (E-310), and got it in a large, heavy cardboard box. 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?
   entry #party

The party was a miracle of happiness, with a (tear-)drop of good-bye atmosphere. Carla made her appearance in the Tyrolean “costume” we call a “Dirndl” (»Dirne« used to be just a name for woman, the »l« is a diminuitive; todays use of the word has changed). Later she changed into a standard dress and gave away some of her many dresses.
   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 professional 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, or they were from the musical they all had staged at school.
   Later a friend presented a moving video for Carla, with all her friends’ statements, Carla watched it, and the rest of us listened to it. Carla gave a speech mentioning everybody, including Gaye and us parents, including characteristics of each.  
   Gaye and Gisela worked to have all things ready – especially the food and the canned drinks in an ice bucket – and enjoyed the party looking on; 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 and concentrated that I really did not matter. I felt 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.
   In parallel 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” – 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, talked briefly to her father, the priest.

   entry #11
Sunday, June 11th, 2017 – Silicon Valley shopping vs. visit to the grand Schaerli family
photos http://bit.ly/2t1tPrg
   We had  to return the rented furniture by ten. So the two “early birds” in the house, Gaye and myself, packed them into the car and drove them carefully back to the rental service, just in time.
   In the meantime Gisela had prepared breakfast. The youth was not quite ready, so we had the cat join us on a side table. Slight nervousness by Gisela, who likes to have everybody synchronized, meals together, even breakfast.
   After breakfast I phoned to St. Helena and to Schaerlis for arrangements to meet.
   In the afternoon Gisela and Carla drove across the mountain to the Silicon Valley, to San Jose for shopping.
   Kris lent me his blue Volkswagen Jetta, and I drove up to Schaerlis on Loma Prieta. Reto. Their son Reto had come with his family, whom I had last seen as a boy visiting us in Frankfurt. He worked with his mother and his cousin Hans in the garden. The Indian grandmother Sumitra was there as well (Names in Reto’s mail of 13.06.2017 19:58). I helped “with suggestions” … – gave ezzes, as we’d say. Avonne, Reto’s younget sister, 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 our children have maximum liberty that’s fine – it’s fine for us, not necessarily for them.
   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.
    
Monday, June 12th 2017. Packing, Montalvo and Japanese Garden in Saratoga. Pictures from http://bit.ly/2tFFfjq
   Gisela and Carla spent the day packing for her return to Germany.
   I drove with Kris to Saratoga. We visited Montalvo and the Japanese Hakone garden, beautiful and cultivated, dear in my memory.
   entry #Rammstein
   While he drove I noticed that some of the German texts of the Rammstein band (two m, not just one as the US Air Force base) are quite fascist. They are fine, elaborate and artsy texts, but nevertheless with a strong tendency to unquestioned cameradery, to follow a leader without hesitation or 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, the Jörn family, won’t start our planned trip North tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017  – “demonstration forest”, “Sunny Cove” –
 pictures http://bit.ly/2uNTQaX

   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 he 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
   The German Wikipedia has an extremely long entry about the band, the English (or probably better: American) Wikipedia entry is quite sizeable as well. Right up front there is a hint to controversial views, but overshadowed and far outweighted by fame: “The group is – though until today seen controversally and also never expected by the members – seen by the majority of the media as one of the most important ‘culture exports’ of Germany” (»Die Gruppe wird – obwohl bis heute kontrovers betrachtet und auch nie von den Mitgliedern so erwartet – in der Medienmehrheit als einer der wichtigsten ›Kulturexporte‹ des Landes gesehen.«) The statement does not appear in the English version. Note that Wikipedia quotes an opinion not by themselves, not by a majority of, say, Germans, but by an undefined “majority of the media”, typical for a biased judgement and typical of Wikipedia slipping in tendencies and opinions into their enyclopedia.
   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 “cowards”, 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, loud and crude 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 any more.
   Why are their texts fascist? I just heared one text, one song that alerted me: Haifisch (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. It was immoral to desert.)
   All this 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 separate 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 and Carla again 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 with Kris to the “Soquel Demonstration State Forest”, that I had seen from above from Schaerlis, 18 miles of a relatively good road via Corralitos, past some strage hidden “training centers”. At  the published address 29400 Highland Way (Los Gatos) there was – nothing. A bit further on we found the slim entrance bridge with the help of a biker, repairing his mountain bike.
   The park is unattended. Kris and I wandered in, an hour perhaps, met some more bikers, and saw fine Sequoia trees, a fine forest with interesting points but no view out to the other side of the valley or the coast.
   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 photo 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; perhaps she was distracted by her work this early in the morning … ?
   To start we had a good breakfast, Gisela in a positive 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”. Before turning onto highway one North a first stop in Capitola for gasoline and sandwiches. Spanish. Gasoline “pay first”, sandwiches good and fresh. We ate them later, leaving the Silicon Valley on 680. Around Sacramento rich traffic, but no queues.


   We stopped in nowhereland, see panorama, 32°C, hot sun, happy singing birds, photos.
   Next Stop a Safeway on the way up the 50 (“Lincoln Highway”) to the “Echo Summit” pass. Another “bridal veil waterfall” by the road.

   Spectacular view of the huge lake Tahoe, from the pass just a slim blue ribbon afar; I love this romantic southern approach to the Lake Tahoe basin. Gisela sped down, to my dismay. I like to stop often, look, walk, explore, take pictures. Carla, sitting up front, shot a good current picture, Wikipedia remains historical (2008).
   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 the given room was already occupied. Then we got another elsewhere. That had no private balcony however, that Gisela needs. So we waited for yet another room to be found, and got one, excellently looking at Monument Peak, some snow on top, the burnt forest, the cableway or “Gondola” (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 even the toilet paper hold, and simulated canvas: just add rings every three inces at the rim of fabrics and you’ve got this rough toughboy expedition feeling. Fitting Wifi password: exploretahoe.
   We are at the very borderline to Nevada. A huge Harrah’s faces California there since five years, but the folks from there don’t appear on the outside, I think.
   First we walked to the lake beach, some 400 m 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 – pictures http://bit.ly/2uemxQw
   I woke up at six, and at seven had an interesting talk with a man watering the lawn with newly seeded grass. 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 to this diary, sitting in the one guaranteed free seat at this time: in the bathroom, so as not to disturb.
   Around nine we all went to a primitive “basecamp” breakfast. We discussed if the cableway would operate; most people said no, only tomorrow, and we found out that there are two cableways here, one nearby in town (running, but only in service mode, at “Heavenly Mountain Resort” – 38.956815, -119.942647) and another one, a long one up to the mountain at the upper end of Ski Run Street (or so. May be incorrect). This one we could’nt find right away. Maps here are miserable, pure advertizing, including Google’s. Try to find the name of a river or a mountain there: You’ll just find the restaurant with that name elsewhere.
   So we drove to Emerald Bay, the most known spot on Lake Tahoe. With a little bit of curving around and creative luck we could even park the car. The sight was spectacular, the blue deeper than ever seen, the island with the ruin of a castle green and in contrast.
This is NOT Lake Tahoe! See text.
As Gisela’s German guide book had suggested, I hiked “to the nearby upper lake”. The lake however was not Eagle Lake (elevation gain 420 ft = 130 m) but Granite Lake (elevation gain 880 ft = 270 m), see map, a two hour uphill hike for me in the midday heat, including  “river crossing” and snow fields. Luckily I had broken a walking stick for me right at the start. After three hours and sore knees I was back with the ladies, who had waited patiently. Communication worked in spots via Carla’s phone that I had borrowed. Wonderful sights, interesting trees, but a dismal, dry forest.
   For a change we had a late lunch at the sea side near our hotel. Carla managed to “swim” in the ice cold lake, said to have been 51°F or 11°C (Tahoe_Beach 17.jpg, offline only).
   We then toured the casino, had dinner in a not expensive self service place, our best US pizza at “South Lake Tahoe Dough Custom Pizza Est. 2016” where they make the dough with a machine (“Somerset”).

Friday, June 16th, 2017 – Tahoe to Sunriver – Pictures from http://bit.ly/2tfdHhc
Driving North
   Today breakfast was a bit better at “Base Camp”, standard.
   For our long trip via Reno and Klamath Falls to Oregon we left directly to Nevada.
   The heat came – at least for us. The endless semi desert roads. I remember a pause at a solitary tree, decorated with tennis shoes, from years of passing travellers? Or a mystical meaning?
   Finally we arrived at “Sunriver”, a totally planned village, to meet Christel from Aurich, East Freesia (Ostfriesland), Germany, 96 – and her new friend Bill, 84. Unfortunately her memory has strongly deteriorated in the last months, and Bill’s, the mechanical “inventor’s”, was not perfect either.
   The disorder in our sleeping room hit us more than the usual disorder in households here, in this case mainly due to his packages and things that had all been left where last time used. This seems to be a general problem – even in our own households in Europe. The precious and the unimportant are put away together, left as they are, as if you could google them all later on. A computer you can leave any time as well.

Saturday, June 17th, 2017 – Sunriver. A Crew Cut for me – pictures from http://bit.ly/2tJ5mFV
    So our visit was a bit depressing, with the feeling that we might never see these nice two people again. I stayed with Bill this day, and we had a good common theme with his inventions. We drove to Bills fine house (and work shed on the opposite side of the access road) parallel to the Deschutes River – disorder here as well –, he explained me his “rotary engine” that after endless hours of work and lots of investment (and a divorce?) had once even turned by its own power, using one of the two square “cylinders”.
   Bill told me that he’d become rich with a simple grip to correcty pull printed circuit boards and showed me a sample: “I’ve made millions with this”, he said.
Christel and Bill
   Bill told me about his hard youth in the Monterey region, as one of many children of a farmer family. They had to work the fields at dawn before school. He got beaten nearly every day, some times even by his mother, who cared about the money (cashed it), and the children. After his last beating with 15 he left home – and school. A touching story, and certainly not invented.
   I had no time and he did not have the concentration to tell me all his life. His luck with wifes was as well limited, perhaps because of his dedication to inventions. He was married three times, I think. One of his daughters became mentally and physically handicapped as consequence of a brain infection at the hospital where she had had a minor brain operation. She (and he, Bill) never claimed damages.
   His newest invention, patented, is a motorized mechanic stool lifting the person from floor level into an elevated or upright position. He wants to sell his Sunriver house, move to Idahoe, and produce this chair with the money he then would have. But, I think, only after Christel’s death, as he lives with her. Will his last plans ever become reality?
   The two of us had time for a tour to the small Sunriver airport. Bill showed me a “Mooney” airplane. Such a model he had once owned, he told me, and that he still was allowed to pilot, so long as his driver’s licence continues to be valid. Of course he doesn’t – just as I never drive a truck, despite keeping up the permit. We old people – I found me thinking.
   At the airport we saw an eagle, chipmunks and a hungry coyote – see pictures.
   In the late afternoon Bill gave me a very needed crew cut with his motorized mechanic shaving machine I had seen lying around. He was really good at it – as he had done haircuts for his friends at school.
   Gisela had stayed with Christel amd Carla all day, and now made one of her fine dinners, a risotto. As an added mischief half the rice spilled on the hot ceramic oven, and immediately started to burn with rich smoke. Gisela shouted for help, and we were quick to remove the rice from the hot surfaces, but the oven kept smoking dangerously from its inside for an hour, while we ate. All of us were very nervous.

Sunday, June 18th, 2017 – Sunriver to Mount Shasta via Crater Lake
pictures http://bit.ly/2tNKDiS
   We had originally wanted to make a day trip to Crater Lake and returm to Sunriver. As the long trip to the lake was in the direction of our next goal south, we all decided for a final depature right away. That was a good decision, I think. We were tense.
Crater Lake
   Driving to Crater Lake took much longer than planned, as the North entrance road was closed due to snow, and we had to circle all around to the South entrance.
   Horrible forests with dead trees changed to normal, “romantic” forests of former, wetter times. I had been at Crater Lake twice before, I even drove around once, some fourty years ago.
   This time the rim road was closed. Only a little part to the east of the crowded hotel was open. The high walls of snow from the exceptional winter 2016/17 here – and then the view across the lake were spectatcular and well worth this trip.
   Please have a look at the pictures. [I may have to reorder them. Google photos mixed them up after additions of videos.]
   We continued South via Lake Klamath and Klamath Falls to Mount Shasta. This isolated mountain – rather two mountains – is impressively visible from afar and from all directions. Just south of it, in the relative plain, we stopped for the night at a “Best Western” hotel, again after getting an occupied room first. All was very comfortable, good food, clean beds and a room with balcony and view to the Mount Shasta (with some 80 percent buildings in between), romantic railway engine hooting when another endless freight train passed town. Our atmosphere was still very nervous.

Monday, June 19th, 2017 – Mount Shasta to Napa Valley – pics http://bit.ly/2t4HduJ
   Special picture album Napa https://goo.gl/photos/XXXCBXfh1U6y8mHTZQu6 (remove XXX)
40°C = 104°F
   We arrived mid afternoon in St. Helena, having come in from the east and then via Calistoga. The trip, first through the ever descending Sacramento Valley and then in the fruitful plain, was mainly hot, up to 40°C. Almond trees. Excellent, modern rest facilities.
   In St. Helena we bought flowers, again with the help of Carla and Carla’s Iphone. We would have never found the florist by asking around. The village seemed elegant, rich and full of tourists and cars.  
  Our friends and their daughter – whom I know since she was a little girl – had already waited for us.
   I had an hour or more with him, on their bank in the trees and in the winery, while Gisela and Carla stood with his wife and swum in the pool. We enjoyed a fine light dinner.
   I don’t want to write about this – perhaps last – visit with them. He has built up from nothing a family “business” that can well give work and wealth to a family, for generations to come. I could not say that from anyone of us.

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 – St. Helena, Bodega Bay, Davenport, Capitola
pictures http://bit.ly/2tf6tK7
   We slept so-so in the upper Napa Valley, as the heat had arrived here as well and even in the night, despite newly installed air conditioning. I made an extensive solitary morning walk before breakfast, again taking lots of photos, see the special album.
   We left in the late morning after breakfast in a hurry. There was nothing a longer stay could have added, we all felt.
   Carla had a clogged ear from swimming. It hurt.
   We had planned to drive out to Santa Rosa and then to the Pacific, in order to find reasonable temperatures. And then we wanted to stay two nights somewhere at the coast.
   In Santa Rosa we pulled money from our German accounts. We managed after the second try, though everything became difficult and abstract in this exceptional heat.
   Finally we came to the ocean at Bodega Bay, again thanks to Pat’s US navigation system.
   At Bodega Bay I even inquired about a room for us. But before settling down we wanted to get a late lunch and plan our next steps.
   With the help of a friendly lady at the Bodega Bay “info” we came to the main tourist eating place, “Fisherman’s Cove”. Everything was crowded. We ate outside across street from the yacht harbor.
   The air finally was good and cool. We were still very stressed. We did not know where to go next. Further North? Stay inland, somehere else? Rooms were rapidly taken, we felt. It was high season, schools had just closed.

Then Carla relieved us: She had severe ear problems now and wanted to drive home to Capitola, ending our side trip. We all liked this suggestion for a reason to “give up”. From then on the atmosphere, the joy of our trip went uphill. To have a lasting look we drove to the end of Badega bay rim (“Bodega Bay Trailhead” 38.303626, -123.064578), to a strong wind and a spectacular ocean view.

   Only then we left Bodega Bay area, southbound. Driving the coastal highway number one was beautiful and offered many unexpected views, inland and at the seaside. Unfortunately the most dramatic part from Stinson Beach to Muir Beach was closed, and we had to drive inland.
   We kept going, crossed Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco (queues), and continued on highway one south. I remembered that my friend George Browne (see www.Joern.com/Erfurt.pdf from 1999) had written about a good restaurant at Davenport (near Santa Cruz, see above May 31st). So that’s where we had a good, fine dinner with live Jazz music, to end our trip. Our nervousness had ceased.

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 – Capitola. Doctor. Gilroy – pictures http://bit.ly/2uSi048
   I accompanied Carla to the doctor. They washed her hurting right eare, asked her to take an antibiotic against “swimmer’s ear”. In contrast to myself the ladies are in favor of never using Q-tips.
   The medical system turned out to be quite costly here ($ 221 for the visit), but well organized. The doctor asks you about your preferred pharmacy – usually part of another, larger shop – and the recipe is electronically sent there. By the time you drive there they have the medicine ready.
   In the afternoon we all made a trip to Gilroy, mainly to replace my worn shoes. We had a good meal there and again: abundant heat. 

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 – San Francisco – pictures http://bit.ly/2tfHjuU
   This was the day we had reserved for a trip to San Francisco. We drove up highway one to Half Moon Bay, crossed inland, and took the 280 towards San Francisco.
   We parked at Fishermans Wharf (no apostrope, why?) for fifty Dollars, as it turned out later. We took a day ticket for the Cable Car, $ 21 (a single ticket is $ 7). So we drove around a lot, walked to the “House of Nanking”, a Chinese restaurant that Gisela had suggested.
   The ladies went into shops, while I looked at the architecture and waited. At the end we got separated (at Market / Powell street cablecar end point) and wound up separately at the end of the cable car near Fishermans wharf, where I had waited for them by a modern statue for San Francisco in the cold wind.
   We happily returned via One to Capitola with a stop at Half Moon Bay, relatively a long drive, but rather fine and free of traffic. Calming.

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 – Capitola – foto http://bit.ly/2sQTCOU
  
Saturday, Jun3 24th, 2017 – Capitola, Santa Cruz – fotos http://bit.ly/2ufzA41
   We had not been to Santa Cruz downtown. So Gaye gave us a tour. I was slightly handycapped by the new shoes, that I had never worn before. The ladies entered each fashion shop. Until they came out again I had ample time to study the interesting architecture, local art like a fiddling lumberjack, and people. Finally we ended up in the bookshop, a fine place to be and stay a while. Incidentally: All shops, including supermarkets, have easily findable and clean restrooms. They seem to take pride to serve their customers in all respects.
   In the library I partially read a few books. Comics (“graphic novels” nowadays) were much less complete than in Bonn’s comic shop around the corner, books for children were abundant; the one I read (jewish, “I dissent” by Debbie Levy) was excellent, but a bit kitschy (for me, but I am no child). I liked poems by Jennifer Kronovet (see pictures).
   We then drove to the street fest, more a local event than a big thing. In a nearby Mexican restaurant (East Side Eatery, $ 74.73, 4 persons) we had a good meal – I my best Chili con carne – and then back home.
   Gisela made a fine steak dinner. Talk on how to make salad.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017 – Capitola. “Hope” church, Arboretum, packing
   pictures start at http://bit.ly/2tJkxik
   Sermon https://youtu.be/Tjg5Pr2QLVI and http://www.santacruzhope.com/podcast/
   This was a very interesting event, This regular Sunday gathering of the “Hope” church in Soquel. The building had been an “adult” cinema, disturbing most parents of nearby Soquel schools. The Hope church had converted it into a church and event place, offering God and “free pancakes”, a community and during the week a well equipped covered skate board place for the kids (see http://bit.ly/2tVpKF6 May 31).
   Carla’s best friend here is the daughter of the leading minister, so we later went with her family and friends to a lunch in a small, popular restaurant. I taked to nice people, the mailny priest (he’s the one running the mobile home park), very impressive, long studies, exams, rise through the ranks, strong belief in God. In the church a Jewish mother of a seven days old boy told me her story, why she comes regularly tu Hope, and about her life at home. The priest told me his career.
   Carla’s friend had sung at the beginning of the service, solo, very fine and intense. Her father held the sermon about God speaking to us and we giving God’s words to others, some 35 minutes. The congregation were about eighty people, mostly regular visitors of all ages. Before church pancakes and food were offered, plus a blown-up jumpfield for the kids. I saw vivid signs of belief, much contact between the faithful and all others, nearly a party. Not at all comparable to mass in Germany.
   At noon I made an excursion with Gaye to a Santa Cruz attration, the University of California’s Santa Cruz Arboretum. It was mediterranean. It was hot. But it was a wonderful experience and site, pure concentrated nature plus a bit of art. I noticed that I speak too much. And Gaye was an expert in many plants.
   In the afternoon a hummingbird came for a visit. Look at the spectacular pictures!

Monday, June 26, 2017 – Monterey – pictures start at http://bit.ly/2tLyLzm
   Carla has an appointment with her friend with the red Camaro at twelve …
   I started early – about five – to continue this diary. Later I repaired three old chairs, who had broken of old age. Then, when Gisela was awake, she prepared a good breakfast with eggs “up”.
   TodayGisela and I went on tour alone. First to Carmel, the via the Seventeen Mile Drive to Monterey, then back.
   Spectacular sights, rich houses, boasting red cars (mostly Mustangs). A German Ranger lady, Heidi Weidler, audibly from Hesse, cashing at the Soutth gate. Once “inside” we missed the drive (keep left!) and ended up inland: forests in horrible status, dry, rotten, asking for bugs as if this species needed extra protection. Man and nature is an unsolved chapter here too. We backed up and went along the seaside, saw “Monterey cypresses”, crashing waves, seals etc. – the world famous sights!

Later in Monterey we had burgers in the famous Cannery row. A passage through the marine museum (Monterey Bay Aquarium)  led to a fine view over the bay. We did not visit the museum.
   Carla had a good, reminscing time with her friend, visiting school places, and had wound up here “at home” in Capitola as well.
   Back home with Kris I later installed a “switch” to turn the security light in the garden off and on. We ate here, had enough leftovers for a fine hot meal and a famous apricot dessert outside.

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 – last day – photos start at http://bit.ly/2vg70Nm
   Gisela had a bad stomach. She slept lomg. Then we did final packing, weighing of luggage, sorting out.

   I left for a ride up Old Soquel Road that had been reopened just the day before. It is the continuation of the street to Carla’s high school, the street we drive every day leaving home here.
   Romantic. On the way back I visited the Soquel cimitery, waterless, unkept, with many little American flags, plaques, veterans, jews. I met an old couple, Russian jews. They had come from communist Russia (I think Minsk, White Russia) to the States, very friendly, very nice. Standing in the sun we had a long talk, but too short and rather full of anecdotes as to remeber it all. They had been living in Dresden and in Vienna. They wanted to invite me for dinner. Politically he feared the Communists would slowly become a majority here, he complained about bad education and upbringing of youth, increasing anitsemitism – especially in the black communities – etc. He was a bit pessimistic, but never imposing. I guess they were happy to speak with someone who could at least vaguely imagine their life. He had been brought up correctly communistic, as his father feared to give his real opinion even to his sons, afraid of the Gulag. So it took him 35 years to find out the truth, he said. (Ask around for the meaning of “Gulag”!)
   In the evening we had our “last dinner” with Sushis. Again: medium quality (sauce all over), too much, and horribly expensive (250 $ or € 237,21, 6 persons).

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 – Departure –photos http://bit.ly/2tLULKk
   Since 5.30 I sit outside. I’ve opened the sun umbrella against the dew that was slowly falling. First I stored yesterday’s picture into the “cloud” album, then this text here. In the meantime it’s nearly seven, Gaye let the young dog, Maggie, out to pee. She is experienced in training her dogs.
  Also as consultant I think she is very good, and hard working. She starts her day at seven, feeds the two dogs first, then works long hours, mainly with telephone conferences (she calls them “meetings”), and applies strategy. Like, literally: “How then will we measure the success of this effort?”. Sometimes she mentions her challenges to control a total change of strategy for her company, with a very much thinned out and thus unexperienced staff.
   We had til twelve, and then wanted to drive off via highway 17 to the San Jose airport.
   I even manged to walk a small round to the rim of the Pacific, to have a last view of Capitola, a last view of houses, plants and surfers. You find that in the picture album.
   At 12.15 we left in two cars, Gaye in her upen VW – having fully automaticly unfolded the roof  – with Carla and her best friend, Gisela and I with the luggage in the rented car. We had a fast drive to Terminal B, unloaded, Gaye drove off to park and I to return the rented car. On my way back I erroneosly got out at Terminal A, got a bit nervous, but walked back to the nearby Terminal A.
   Gisela had checked in all luggage, and had to pay some 250 Dollars of surplus weight, unexpectedly. Gaye had not yet returned, but then came in good time with a package of hamburgers for a “last meal”, improvised outside security control and the tearful goodbye.
   The flight started late. They had to first clean the airplane and fix a toilet. So we took off three quarters of an hour later at 15.50. The airplane was completely booked, crowded. Nobody slept well, I had a good talk with my neighbour, a young lady from San Francisco travelling to Florence to be a bridesmaid for her friend at an “out of house” marriage in Chianti. Her father was a wine dealer. She knew Togni. She had studied communications, very interesting; her friend specialized in transportation and had a company to bus large company employees. She mostly smartphoned and watched films.

Thursday, June 29th, 2017 – Back – Fotos ab http://bit.ly/2umwDzq
   Eleven hours later Frankfurt greeted us with cloudy, rainy weather, and an endless (aircraft) rolling and (bus) driving at the airport. We had an “out” position. At immigration we tried new automats. Carla was not accepted by them, she was too young, but the machine did not tell us that.
   We had to wait a long time for the luggage, some seven heavy pieces, to be put on two trolleys. Difficulties started, as no elevater would bring us to level two with the passage to the fast trains across the street. We had to take two different elevators, one too slim for cart and baggage. Luckily fast trains to Bonn-Siegburg run every half hour. We were quite taken by jetlag, which added to the difficulties. Gisela got tickets, we searched for elevators.
   The hypermodern train station leaked rainwater from the roof. In some places they had put a bucket and a warning sign as fix. One train to another destination was cancelled “due to technical reasons”. With the help of a friendly attendant we managed to get all luggage in, and a friendly young man helped us to take it out at Siegburg, the next station. Gisela had phoned ahead to get a special luggage taxi (for handicapped really, with ramps). At Siegburg no carts. But, now better trained, we manged to get all baggage in one go to the taxi. Good that you can mobile phone!
   SMS dialogue with Gaye later:
F: Well arrived, see mail. Thank you so much!
G: Oh [some undeciphered signs]
G: Good hope the trek wasn’t too arduous hauling all your luggage [again some signs]
F: Sure was, but with Gisela’s effectiveness and my calm power plus Carla’s common sense 
G.: Best trio ever!!!!
   We had a nice taxi driver. He has two children a bit older than Carla, and envyed us a bit for this opportunity. His daughter, 18, high school student in Carla’s school in the final year, works at Phantasialand. The other one studies Asian culture and Japanese in Bonn.
  At home in Friedrichstraße we were greeted by two friends of Carla, patiently sitting on door’s step. They helped to get all loggage up to the fist floor (here up one level of stairs, not level zero as in the US … )
   Carla was happy about her new big room (see pictures). All of us were deady tired, we slept in the afternoon, I copied pictures, but constantly fell asleep at the computer. With Carla and her friends we had ice cream at a nearby cafe on market place, I met two ladies I know remotely (Rothenbüchler and the bighatted lady from church). Rain in the evening. We are back.
  
A long trip into a modern world – interesting, sometimes spectacular, but filled with disorder, like ours too. Friendly, intense people! Many things to do not finished, left open, from the thousand small items in the houses and the partially dying huge forests to the big decisions of the state how to deal with Mexicans living here, and all those who want to come. Stress between local and state authorities. Civilization grinding to halts. (I wish my English writing were better.)
   You may think our time in California was a monthlong vacation, tanned as we are, but in reality and especially for me it was deeper, more intense, not just happy fun. It felt like a new visit to a far, beloved home, a home left behind; perhaps a last visit.

———————————————————

PS. “Hi, Kris found a pair of shoes that we think are yours. Are you missing a pair of brown shoes?
Gaye” –
   “ Thank you, Gaye and Kris. – I wore those shoes many years, day by day. They repeatedly got new soles, and they fitted me fine, better than any others – but the leather got weak and it produced a hole, the looks deteriorated despite good care, and so Gisela decided to buy me identical new ones at Gilroy, for half the price as (than?) in Germany, 85 Euro according to her credit card. When we left I forced me to leave my well worn lowest level past behind, and just took the brand new ones. I had test worn them before in San Francisco, to give them some romantic remembrances. I don’t know if that worked. In any case I now have an open blister, that slowly disappears, while I continue daily to train my new shoes. – We had bought the shoes you found on October 9, 2012, at Macys in New York for $ 90 + tax (see http://bit.ly/2tTruyl for the German diary, read 1500 times, unbelievable!). –  That’s the shoe story, Gaye. You may do with them what you like. And I hope I have not made problems for you. I just couldn’t throw them away myself … ”

––––––––––––––––––––––––

Please comment and send corrections directly to Fritz@Joern.com
Direct permanet link to this blog entry (“post”):
http://blogabissl.blogspot.com/2017/06/california-revisited.html

Keine Kommentare: