While today was a fairly bland day of travel, moving from Palm Desert to Davis (both in California) changing at Phoenix airport (2 flights) it marked a turning point in the tour (the Big Switcheroo) as Will and Dave leave to return to the UK, and Ewan and Hester will fly in, arriving during the evening. We are a bit like a football team in this regard with a squad of players, who get rotated, when family commitments necessitate.
This is Dave, who works at the theatre and who also drove us to the airport (I remember him from last time) he lives half the year in San Diego and the other half in Palm Desert - it gets too hot in summer - over 40 degrees! While he is an amiable fellow, he has an unsettling habit of announcing he's going to tell a joke, which means you have to lean into his personal space with a conspiratorial air and a smirk, prime yourself to throw back your head, roar with laughter etc, at what you judge the appropriate moment (my ears are pinging due to all the flights we've been taking - so my hearing is not great).
He did tell us some interesting info on the way to the airport - Palm Desert is in the Coachella Valley, along with five other towns (inc Palm Springs) and the mountain range is called the Chocolate mountains: the San Andreas fault runs through here and the last big one was in 1993. There's also a huge festival here called Coachella and Dave had driven big cheeses like Pharrell and Drake around (who he described as fairly non communicative) maybe it was the jokes.
Here we are arriving at Palm Springs airport, with its exterior departure lounge
I wandered around browsing the shops - I can't buy anything as my lugagge is already at the limit, it was 50.5 when I checked my bag, the limit is 50 - but I got waved through.
The barrier with the Chocolate mountains behind - Palm Springs is not an international hub so fairly small.
Sony Bono, the singer (of Sonny and Cher fame) used to live here and the airport concourse is called 'The Sony Bono Concourse' - I spotted this bust of him by artist Emmanuil J Snitkovsky.
The 'burbs of Phoenix
On the flight, I had been given a window seat, which I asked my fellow passenger, a brick shithouse of a man called Charles, if he wouldn't mind swapping with me, on account of my long legs - 'ABSOLUTELY NOT' he squealed - it subsequently turned out that the poor guy hated flying, but loved his job as a 'salon coordinator' ie quality control for a large hairdressing company, which meant, ergo, he had to travel a lot. He spent the entire flight gripping the sides of his chair and revealed he had taken several 'downers' before the flight to keep himself calm, but they were wearing off. I spent a lot of the flight telling him how great he was doing, to breathe deeply and had he ever thought of having some kind of therapy (fear of flying is quite a common phobia).
Phoenix airport, where we changed planes, is the only place I've seen these, lollipops made with farmed scorpions (stings removed) totally gross but perfectly edible and my daughter loves them. I picked up several on the way to the gate, despite my luggage problems - I might have to jettison more stuff....Arrival at Sacramento - I remember these luggage columns from last time - very impressive.
On arrival at Davis and since we'd not had a chance to get any lunch, I went stright to the nearest restaurant and had a large plate of rice with shrimp, accompanied by alternating sips of water, tea and beer - very good. My bill came with the usual fortune cookie - I have mixed feelings about fortune cookies (see this blog) and this one was suitably inscrutable - either do something or do nothing (is it a reference to Jean Paul Satre's philiosophical tract 'Being and Nothingness' - or am I going mad?). I went back to the hotel and feel into a very deep afternoon sleep and woke up at 7 in the evening. After joining the crew at the hotel bar, we were just in time to welcome Ewan and Hester, who arrived cheerful but zonked. This is the ninth hotel of the tour and here is the pen to prove it.....