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Would you be alarmed by this track record of near misses?

There is a slightly worrying pattern emerging in our travels. Iceland 2009- we leave the day before the volcano spectacularly erupts, covering much of northern Europe with ash; Philippines 2008, another volcano, this time with accompanying landslides; Christmas in Thailand, 2004, and THAT tsunami…throw in a couple of pacific rim earthquakes, a Californian forest fire and a Canadian twister and we nearly have a full set of near-miss natural disasters under our belt. And so we left Brisbane last week (truly sorry about the unprecedented and catastrophic flooding….) Not sure many countries will be welcoming us back any time soon.

A hop over the pacific and California welcomed us with big skies; big plates of food; and a big temperature drop. Brrrr.

Palm canyon in Palm Springs was a magical highlight of our fleeting visit. We hiked through gravelly desert until we wandered into a proper oasis, a valley incongruously lined with flourishing palm trees along a rock littered stream. The whole place was almost too picturesque – it could have been a water park. We drove back via a garden centre which only stocked cacti, and a dimly lit cavern of a diner dedicated to 1980s sporting memorabilia.A

These had had a rather brutal trim!

This one needs a haircut!

Luckily, we decided to go to see the film ‘127 hours’ post desert hike.  I have never seen such a white-faced, silent audience emerge blinking from a movie theatre. The usual post film chatter of ‘did you enjoy it?’ seemed inappropriately banal, given that we had just witnessed a guy hacking his arm off with a blunt penknife. Yet it was a great film, if not exactly entertaining. One of our mates couldn’t bring himself to speak until well into his second beer.

And who says America lacks history? This mission was a good couple of hundred years old with beautiful courtyard gardens and Spanish style architecture. Not sure exactly why the systematic  ‘saving’ of thousands of indigenous folk from their own beliefs and culture is quite the message we still want to be promoting, but no doubt the heathens were eternally grateful for the addition of the devil and tithing into their lives.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

So now we are home. I’m enjoying having my proper desk and chair back. We reacquainted ourselves with our local last night. I’m even not minding the persistent drizzle, although it is only day 5. I can take or leave the jet lag if I’m honest. Not sure which time zone would see me sleeping only from 11pm to 2am but it’s not one I want to stay in for too long.

Next trip? who knows. We have some ideas…..

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