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Sunday, May 26, 2002

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Off to California

I'm off to visit my son and daughter-in-law today. It's not too crowded in the bus station and most of the people are waiting for Hermosillo. I think I missed the big Memorial Day crunch by leaving Sunday instead of Saturday. I had a class all day yesterday or I would have been sitting in the crowds too.

Bus is on time but I'm put on the section that says Phoenix so I hope I don't have to transfer to a different bus in Phoenix. The driver said it depends on how many people they have waiting there. Our bus from Tucson is #2492, an MC-12, at Phoenix they did put us on another bus, #6323, which is a newer bus but now we are packed in. I ended up with a seat by myself but it's four seats from the back.

We passed a pickup on the railroad tracks. Normal looking but it had metal wheels attached before the front wheels and behind the back wheels so it could travel on the tracks. I would have liked to have seen it close up.

I'm reading more than usual when I travel. I've traveled this stretch so many times that I'm not caught up in the scenery. It's cloudy outside, just the kind of day I want to spend reading and the rhythm of the bus is relaxing. I read "Fish, Blood and Bone" by Leslie Forbes. This story follows Claire as she tries to find out who she is as she tries to solve the mystery of a (her?) British Indian family. The story goes from the hunting grounds of Jack the Ripper in London to the opium trade, legal and illegal, in India and, finally to an illegal trek to Nepal looking for a legendary poppy.

It's a fascinating book that looks at colonialism and the current theft (?) of commodities by the west. It's all tied together with Claire's search for who she is. British colonialism has always been a very paradoxical issue for me. I love Kipling, especially Kim, and the british culture that developed in India was so appealing on the surface, partly because I wanted it to be. I'm sure this is a holdover from being the children of missionaries and being told that there were only benefits when westerners "helped" indigenous people. I still am totally uninterested in living like most indigenous people do and often wonder why they want to live like that since most of them have a comparatively short and very hard life, but I know that's my choice influenced by the culture I grew up in.

Looking back I can see the real racism and downright criminal behavior of too many "colonialists". I remember the first time I read about the opium trade and was apalled. Still, I think most westerners weren't deliberately cruel, just blind.

I'm busy reading when the bus pulled over to the side of the interstate. It was because an elderly woman was feeling faint was pale with a pulse in the 60s. Turns out she's diabetic and had forgotten to give herself a shot. She doesn’t speak english and a kid she has with her was doing the translating. One lady took her pulse and the driver kept saying he could drive her to the Palm Springs hospital but she kept saying she just wants to go home. She gave herself a shot and drank water she was given and soon was ok. I expect all the upheavel from traveling with the kid just threw her off schedule. It was interesting how helpful everyone was. One rough looking guy with various tatoos talked to her until he knew she was ok and was very sweet. Another gave her a bottle of water. I stood there and watched to make sure she gave herself the shot ok, though I don't know what I would have done if she couldn't have. It's like we were an island in ourselves. The drivers, since 9/11, have cell phones, but there isn't much service when you're in the middle of nowhere.

Mike was waiting at the San Bernardino station in his renaissance costume and a few people were looking at him funny. It was so nice to see him. We drove out the the faire, which was closed for the evening, where they had a campsite with several friends next to the faire. We passed a burned area and Mike said they are as dry as we are. Soon they all started wandering in and it was introductions all around. I see some of these people every two or three years and some were new so I am always totally lost when it comes to their names. It was fun to see everyone wandering around in their costumes.

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© Rachel Aschmann 2002.
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