Alas, I’m Back, part 1

I flew in yesterday and it was not at all fun. I’m currently sorting all my feelings about it because it was really more of a scouting visit, to see if I liked the city and if I could live there. The short answer is yes, but it’s an answer with a plethora of weighted feelings which I have to put in proper perspective. We aren’t here for that, though. The vacation itself was wonderful. To me it was nearly miraculous, if I’m to be honest. I’ve written an entire entry that is too long for even the most patient of souls to read, so I will edit it and break it up into three still very long entries where I go over the various aspects of my time there. So, let’s start!


My leg has had problems for over a year now, to varying degrees. The end result (aside from walking like a 90 year old man well over 50 years too soon) is that my once strong legs withered and atrophied because I simply couldn’t walk without intense, painful spasms, or without the leg literally cramping up or giving out. I couldn’t walk anywhere. My chiropractor has given me exercises and put my skeleton back in proper order, my doctors have given me pills and tests, and I have become disheartened. I walked the 1.7 miles home one day and I thought I was going to pass out and couldn’t walk for days.

When the plane landed and I called Uber to get me from the airport to my hotel, I realized that EVERYthing was within walking distance…to the healthy person I used to be. The blocks there are maybe a fifth the size of what they are here, so when looking at Google Maps, things looked deceptively far away. As an example, on my last night there, I looked for a Thai food place and it was 5 blocks up, 2 blocks over. It took 5 minutes to walk (maybe more because by that time I was totally exhausted). Here, going 7 blocks is about 3 miles and would take roughly 1 hour and 5 minutes to walk.

I checked in, went to my hotel room, and went to eat. I went back to my room and unpacked a little, sat down, and did a few things…but I couldn’t sit there. There was so much city to see and so much to do. So, I got out my phone and a list of the places I wanted to visit and found it was quite close, so I walked there. Like 4 blocks or something. Closed. So, I called Uber and went somewhere else. Got bored with that so I walked somewhere else. That was the first and only walk I underestimated. But I was out and seeing the city and having fun just exploring.

So, I walked and walked and walked some more. Tired, I got to my destination and sat down. I stayed, I had fun, and then I left. I took Uber back and collapsed on the bed, watched the Hobbit on the hotel TV, and passed out. In the morning I lazed around, ate, and lazed some more. At night I went exploring again and went to at least three different night spots. I met someone and he took me all over the city, or so it seemed. My leg and Achilles tendons were screaming…but they held up. They were fine. They were stronger and my determination to get out more profound. My curiosity was limitless. And, for the first time in over a year, my body mostly kept up. Nobody was more shocked than me.


And the scenery of the city! Sweet, gentle, baby of all that is holy, I have been in forests and on mountains which had fewer trees. The air there is pure. The quality of the air is unquestionable. You can see the mountains in the distance. You can’t do that here. You’re lucky if you can see the crusty brown hills only a few cities away. Green everywhere (and no, I wasn’t in Seattle. Stop trying to guess).

There’s a huge river that cuts through the middle of the city. There are trees and water and rain and sunshine. There is natural beauty all around. Shade is plentiful, even on the busy streets of downtown there are enough trees to block out the sun. Trees everywhere. It’s like a city sprang up in a forest (which still surrounds it) and very little was done to molest the trees in the area. They line every street. The whole place is green and thriving and beautiful.

And on days it’s sunny or warm, everything changes. People go out in droves. They walk, they ride their bikes down near the river, they jog, they work out, they thunder out of their homes and workplaces. They do act as though it’s the end of the world, though. It was 80 degrees and people were dressed like it was 95. I was thinking, “Well, welcome to my life.” The day I left it was supposed to get up to 87 and the local news was saying that was a record breaking high. Not to belittle that, because it’s all about the threshold of tolerance and how much you can take because of what you are used to, but I found myself wondering what they would do with a week of ghastly Southern California Santa Ana winds, where the heated air off Satan’s taint flies around to slay the noses of anyone nearby. I admit that I was a little smug.

Then I was put right into my place by a very nice Uber driver who was originally from Nigeria. He explained to me about the heat there and what it is like and how it’s totally inescapable and cloying and during the rainy season how bad it is…and I told him that I was whining and then he wins. So much for being smug.

The only thing to add to this section is that as we were landing in the city, I saw patches and patches of green. Green everywhere. Unabashed, unmitigated greenery. On the flight back, all I saw was brown. Brown fields, brown and gray streets, palm trees (of which I did not see a single specimen on my vacation). It was like watching The Wizard of Oz in reverse…or forward for that matter. Only in my version, rather than wanting to go home, Dorothy was pissed off about it.

So, I shall end for tonight. Thursday I will talk about the social aspects there, which were the things that blew me away the most (and is the longest section by far).


~ by Darren Endymion on April 19, 2016.

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