Stalking Arnold (the Governator)

Trip Start Oct 19, 2005
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Monday, August 21, 2006

Stalking Arnold

Well why else would you come to Sacramento? Think of your stereotype of a small American country town/ city and you can picture Sacramento. Tree lined avenues set out in neat blocks, portable basketball hoops sitting in driveways/ on the side walks, perfect manicured lawns intersected by paths leading to oversized porches dominated by stars and stripes flags flying proud in front of standard rectangular clapboard houses add gangland warfare, no go areas and meths and you have Sacramento.

After the longest day of my life, Monday 14th was my groundhog day and it seemed it was never going to end. I spent it on planes, in airport after airport, trying to reason with over-officious and illogical security, this concept of not taking water through to the gates but yet selling it in shops/ restaurants on the other side of the x-ray machines, kinda baffled me. And I still managed to get to Sacramento before I had left Fiji with slightly lighter luggage as a new sun screen, forgot it was in my bag, and my Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream, were both missed in Fiji but confiscated at LAX.

I was met at Sacramento airport by Meg, a med student I had met in Botswana and I spent a fab week hanging out with her in sleepy ol' Sacramento, trying to get my body clock on US time and get over another culture shock. I didn't manage to see Arnie, even though I hung around the capitol building... but I did manage to get to Yosemite National park which was spectacular. I hired a car and set off, driving on the wrong side of the road and arrived in Yosemite about 3 ˝ hours later. I made my way to Tuolumne Meadows and river and went for a good hike along the river and, past rapids, through meadows over rocks and it was fantastic. I then slowly made my way back along the Tuolumne road to White Wolf lodge, stopping to walk up to May Lake a high altitude lake in the sierras. My accommodation at White Wolf was a permanent tent that had been kitted out with a wood burning stove, four camp beds, with linen and a table and two chairs, basic but functional. I didn't realize the significance of having a wood burning stove until the morning, when I woke up chilled to the bone, despite having piled on several blankets and eiderdowns. It was freezing and combined with the fact that my eyes were glued together, yup I had conjunctivitis, made the morning somewhat miserable. Therefore, instead of heading to Yosemite Valley to explore el captain I cut my losses and made my way slowly back to Sacramento.

I then discovered how difficult it was to get health care in the US. Apart from going to emergency rooms in hospitals and waiting several hours there is little a foreigner can do to see a doctor... Even more frustratingly when you know what the problem is and to get your diagnosis confirmed would be costly. Luckily staying with a medical student I had access to a doctor, who wrote a prescription for me. However, when I went to pick up the eye drops I was confronted by a bill of $92.00.... $92.00 for eye drops. I decided to leave it and let my eyes heal on their own.

On Saturday, Meg and I headed out to Amador County for wine tasting, it wasn't Napa but was pretty and less commercial, no charge to taste the wines. After several sips and a lot of nibbles later we hit the outlet shops at Vacaville. Where I stocked up on my GAP tops to replace those I had jettisoned along the way. We ended the day in Davis, a small college town west of Sacramento towards San Francisco, where we laid into some much needed Thai sustenance.

On Sunday I caught the Amtrak train through the Californian plains and along the edge of the Bay waters to Oakland and was met by Erin, another med student I had become friends with in Botswana and her fiancé Carter and was taken to Palo Alto or Stanford university where they currently live...
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