Thursday, October 20, 2011

This seems a strange time to be in America, with news of protest occupations of Wall Street and San Francisco - & now the rest of the world - flooding facebook... a strange time to be anywhere, maybe.
I think a lot about these things, and the news from Libya, as I pace along the five mile stretch of Half Moon Bay.
It's a great place to walk and reflect: there's usually no-one else around, apart from a few surfers down by the harbour, and the odd dog-walker.
I've walked here every day since I arrived last Friday, watching the pelicans' dipping flight and the tiny sanderlings skittering along the rim of the waves and snatching at the dark shimmering sand for molluscs. There is huge solace in this timelessness, in becoming invisible on the long shoreline as swirling sea mists drift in.
So in lieu of weighty matters I've decided to focus on a few aspects of life here in, all beginning with P.
1 Pumpkins, obviously. Half Moon Bay is the pumpkin capital of the world - it's official & on all the banners. Thousands of cars crawled the final miles of Highway One to cram the town's Pumpkin Festival last weekend, where the streets were dense with stalls selling pumpkinabilia while bands played. Best act was Farmer Mike, carving Disney faces into giant squashes with remarkable skill. Pumkins grow easily in this climate - the fields are all scattered with orange - and a pumpkin for Halloween is an Article of Faith over here.
2 Pelicans - they seem so exotic and bizarre, like small lost pterodactyls looking for another era.
3 Plinko. My great friends & generous hosts, Mo & Anja, have acquired a cat and that's his name. Apparently it's from a 'pricing game' on American TV but Plinks is clearly oblivious to that, being into physical rather than fiscal play.

4 Pharmacists - well, the one in Half Moon Bay's CVS, anyway. I had a bit of an itch in my eye, so I approached the Consultant Pharmacist counter for advice. He decided it was probably an incipient stye. "Have you got anything...?" I asked. He scoffed - really, it's the only applicable verb.
"This is America! Of course we've got something. Look, here y'are - " (it was a small tube obligingly labled STYE) " - it's vaseline. Vaseline! D'you wanna pay 11 dollars for vaseline? Do you know what vaseline does to skin? It blocks the pores. This is America, this is American capitalism! Get a hot compress, that's all you need. I dunno what it's like where you come from but this is America and it's lousy."
Always good to consult a specialist, I thought as I thanked him and scuttled away. (Oh and my eye's better now, thanks. Hot compress seems to have done the trick...) I don't have a picture of the rogue retailer himself but here's the halloween figure greeting CVS shoppers, which probably didn't improve his patriotic fervour.

5 Prosecco in the garden at sunset... since then it's been log fires before supper, but Sunday was really lovely.

6&7 Peace and privilege of being here.

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