Friday, July 2, 2010
Going to Las Vegas:) Nevada
I am living almost anyone’s dream. It is not that I plan to build myself a statue, it’s just that so many friends of mine complain that they don’t have time for anything else but work, they ask both me and Jan how we do this or some of them they ask why, but to explain the true situations that we live, the beauty of the places that we see and the great people experience that we have….well I am not such a good writer to do all that but at least I try.
Its already 28th of june and we are travelling slowly through the United States. After we left Jordan’s house in Hollywood, we made our first night out, camping. We drove south towards Laguna Beach, in Orange county, because our close destination was San Diego, but all the coast was a prohibitive place for free camping. Or we had to pay around 15 dollars or there were only private houses or hotels. We were feeling disappointed but also stressed because the night was approaching and we could not find a good place where to sleep. We bought this Chevy van with the idea that sometime we can camp feely on the side of the road, but to park on the coast of California seems a painful search. After looking and looking we decided to take a small road on the left, away from the cliffs and we found a small road behind a nice residential neighborhood of Laguna Beach. It was the first night out, camping with a van in the US, so to be honest I did not sleep very well, although I tried to convince myself that no one will come during the night…and actually no one did. Next day we went walking through Laguna Beach, a nice but obviously expensive place. I have the feeling that here in California there is some sort of competition on building the best or the most beautiful house. We continued descending towards San Diego, that is only 30 minutes from the Mexican border. In California in general many names of streets or of places are in Spanish and there are many latino immigrants. We arrived to La Joya, the place where Josep (the brother of Jan Soler) and Ana, his Mexican wife , live. They are quite an interesting couple in the way that Josep is 5 years younger than Ana, they got married about 6 years ago and they still haven’t decided how their life will look like. For the moment both are still studying different things, Ana to teach Yoga and Josep is finishing a Phd in Linguistics. Here, in their house, although very small we felt welcome and at ease. It was nice to spend a few days in a familiar mood and also speaking catalan and Spanish. I would have loved to spend more time with them but we had to start going towards Las Vegas, where another couple from couchsurfing will be waiting for us. We left San Diego early in the morning on Thursday, and we started to drive towards inland. I knew that the temperatures will grow but I did not expect 44-46 degrees Celsius. It was unbearable. On the coast it was no more than 25-26 degrees during the day , but in West California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona we were boiling at 45 degrees. The temperature shock was strong for me and I felt sick all day. We entered in the evening in Joshua Natural Park, where we spent our second night outside. This time it was much better, first because it was weekend and second because there was no one. Next day we woke up very early, so early that at 7 am we were already doing a trail through the park. It was nice to walk through the desert on mild temperatures but definitely it is not the right season to be here. The walk was much better than I expected anyway. Before 9 am we already could start driving to the rest of the attractions of the park, but the temperature was rising from 24 to 36 degrees. The nature in the desert is so beautiful. Here in this park it is found the typical Mojave desert ecosystem, that is very fragile. Going out of the park, through large desertic plains, surrounded by rocky hills and mountains , we were struck by the heat. It was no less than 45 degrees, just like Africa or Iran. At least there was no humidity but still you could not breathe, and that was the moment when I started to regret not having filled the AC gas of the car. Anyway, I was mentalising myself to hold on, because the next 2 weeks or so will be the same or even worst. I was also noticing the scarceness of houses and I was telling to Jan that for me, living here would be impossible. I could never live in such difficult, arid and unwelcoming climate, but I was remembering that probably in Africa was even wors.
At some point, while driving, we got on the famous Route 66. We found there a very peculiar tree. The shoes tree, and later we discovered that there are more places in the world that have this kind of tree (eople just throw their shoes into the tree...even if they have new shoes...weird). Travelling through the US, and through the desert, there is one place that no one wants to miss and that is LAS VEGAS.
After driving most of the day through this dry and hot climate, we finally arrived around 7 pm in Las Vegas, more exactly in a small town outside called Henderson. There, we went directly at the house of Justin and Heather, two friends from Couchsurfing. I was happy to meet them because they have lived 2 years and a half in Romania as Peace Corps volunteers. They were volunteering in Drobeta Turnu Severin…a town where most of the Romanians never arrive hehe. That evening we took a good shower, cooled off from the horrible heat outside and waited for Justin. We got their house key so we could enter inside….into the aircon miracle. You cannot live in Arizona, Nevada, and parts of Utah unless you have aircon. After a quick salad dinner with Justin (Heather was not there because she is working in the Grand Canyon, south Rim- she is a volunteer there) we went to bed….we were dead tired.
In the morning we could chat a bit with Justin, and decided to start our 7 days camping journey through the national parks of the area. 7 days of heat.