What heavenly weather in very sunny California, what a lovely time with family whom I haven't seen in more years than I am willing to admit, what a pity my internet connection will continue to be inconstant at best. Trust me, the story isn't worth the telling. Suffice it to say I am limited by circumstance to writing to you, and photos will likely only be added after March 1. [Photos now added...as you can see.]
It has been a bright whirlwind of dragon dances, incense, firecrackers, parades, hugs and catching up with family. And the FOOD, a whole separate post is the least I can give it. There are also all the hallmarks of the US: vintage shop signs; pristine public spaces (the Getty is a must-see--and be sure to give it the time it deserves); bumper stickers; a distressingly large number of very overweight people dressed in exercise clothes; bumper stickers; message T-shirts ("Fathers Impart Destiny"...); and the Goodyear blimp floating placidly above it all. Here, all the last names (on salespeoples' name tags) sing of places far away, the air is full of the bird-like sounds of languages only vaguely familiar: Spanish, Vietnamese...Too many businesses are shuttered, too many people seem over-qualified for the jobs they have, and yet the optimism is still (mostly) here.