Week 3

From chilly California to hot and dry and simultaneously cold and very humid Arizona. The third week of our trip – in summary.

2. Located here is one of the best golf clubs in the country.

3. The locations are picturesque even on a gloomy morning.

4. The local residents live luxuriously, but not without taste.

5. The city of Carmel itself is nice as well. It feels like I stepped into Europe, even though I have never been there.

6. But this is definitely not America.

7. The telephone booth and car subtly hint at this.

8. I’d live here.

9. The streets aren’t american either. I even got a whiff of western Ukraine here.

10. Santa Barbara welcomed us with the already familiar chilly air, an LGBT arc, and ugly stump-buses.

11. The dock is in place, and ever-present tourists are at their designated locations.

12. Friendship.

13. Local bums don’t beg, they earn. Enjoyed the beauty? Leave some change 🙂

14. Or, if you want, try to throw the coins into a cup or a target to prove right the sign next to it, for example “I am the best lover”.

15. Santa Barbara is lovely, unless you’ve experienced Honolulu.

16. Heading to southern California after freezing enough in the northern part. We observe Los Angeles and Hollywood from inside the car – there’s really nothing for us to explore there. Finally, we’re in San Diego – the only thing further south is Mexico.

17. An aerial banner for the Hyatt Hotel.

18. The business-oriented downtown of San Diego only looks cramped from far away – once you’re up close, it’s quite spacious.

19. The ubiquitous local architectural style.

20. To help take care of the planet, you can make macrame creations using plastic shopping bags. Anyone is welcome to add on to it.

21. In San Diego you will find the Kissing Statue (officially known as “Unconditional Surrender”), in memory of a sailor returning home from war.

22. Quite a decent sized sculpture.

23. The Yacht-Club near the city center for some reason doesn’t have a pier, so all the yachts are parked in the roads, and the yachtsmen get to the shore on their small (and typically old) boats.

24. The outskirts of San Diego look just like every other american suburb.

25. Except for the more defined Spanish-style in the buildings.

26. In the evening it’s nice to take a walk around the old downtown.

27. One of the most boring games in the world – baseball – going at full blast.

28. San Diego has a pretty nice zoo.

29. The target audience is kids more than adults.

30. But even the kids can get tired and refuse to walk further, especially uphill.

31. Like any other successful institution in the USA, the zoo’s funding comes mostly from private sponsors, and minimally from the government.

32. During the day the majority of the animals look like this.

33. Refined elephant cages.

34. In addition to the open top double-decker buses, you can get around the territory of the zoo with the help of a gondola lift.

35. The flamingos have great sleeping poses.

36. Is this comfy or what?

37. List of companies, firms and corporations, who contributed to the construction and upkeep of the zoo. Across the road there’s a recognition wall ten times bigger – there you’ll find a list of the specific people who have contributed their blood, sweat and tears into the happiness of the kids and adults (not sure about the animals though).

38. Order on the huge parking lot is kept by a police man, residing in the booth on the hydraulic lift.

39. A hobo was not feeling so well.

40. Moving on towards Arizona. Right around the town of Jacumba we visited the American-Mexican border. The border was only partially locked. For some reason, the fence didn’t continue onto the hills. The border patrol guard said that the government ran out of funds for construction. I asked if the Mexicans take advantage of this and go around the fence into the US. He answered that no, they don’t like to have to walk so far, so most just climb over the fence right around that small concrete building. How often? Every day.

41. For reasons unknown to me, the guard continued driving along the border, the side mirror turned away extra far, as if to show off that nothing can escape his watch. Idiotic bureaucracy in all its glory – the border is crossed by anyone and everyone, at any time of their choosing, yet here we are with our fence, our guard, his car, and a pathetic all-seeing side mirror.

42. Denizens of the near-border village, the majority of whom are Mexicans, set up their homes almost identically to how they did it on the homeland.

43. A youth center.

44. What would you do if you had an unlimited amount of hills, clay…

45. … and straw?

46. Leonard Knight has been building these sorts of things for the past 20 years, and then painting the creations into layers of different colors.

47. Finally, Leonard built up to this, which is known as “Salvation Mountain”.

48. Leonard passed a year ago, and the place is now cared for by volunteers.

49. I don’t know how, from what, and just how many people were saved here, but couples often visit the spot to watch the sunset.

50. This place is one of the best illustrations of the uselessness, archaism and absurdity of religion. The following photo encompasses it all: An old, beat down, unusable van that doesn’t take anybody anywhere, naive and amateur artistic expressions, a slew of biblical quotes and the words “Jesus”, “God”, and “Bible”, plus an altar call phrased to scare people into salvation with the fires of hell. If you want to understand the objective, reason and practical use of any religious denomination, just look at this photograph.

51. Slab City – an abandoned Marine Training Facility from WWII. In the winter months, this place attracts snowbirds – people from northern states, mainly retirees, low income people, hippies, etc. About 150 people are living here at any given point in time. As expected, there is also a church.

52. The city is a perfect set for any post-apocalyptic film.

53. The only difference is that these set decorations are actually homes for real people.

54. In the middle of the Sonora desert, without water, electricity, plumbing, and any other public utilities.

55. Club “Oasis”. It’s been very long since I felt the feelings that I did when driving through this strange place. Not since the time I watched “Mad Max” when I was young.

56. California feeds many of America’s needs. This includes its needs for beef.

57. But the beef also needs to be fed.

58. Alla’s photos come second to mine because I had an aerial advantage.

59. On the southernmost part of California, we discovered a mini Sahara.

60. The northern Algodones Dunes stretch for about 320square kilometers – it is the biggest sandbox in North America.

61. In a place like this you completely lose your sense of distance. I had planned to go out a little ways so that Alla could take a landscape photo, and after walking a bit, I had turned around to ask “Is this good?”, only to discover that this is how far I had actually went.

62. Not too far from the dunes is a small town with a pretty large store. Right now it’s desolate, but in the winter time it welcomes up to 200,000 dune junkies who come here to ride on their dune buggies, motorcycles and quads.

63. But for now it’s almost silent and very very hot.

64. Arizona welcomed us with a pass over huge piles of rocks.

65. And a strong hot wind.

66. The whole way I was amazed at how well things like potatoes, wheat, and other grains grow in such an arid climate. As it turns out, nothing would be growing here if it weren’t for the trucked in fields of fertile soil. It’s hard to imagine the countless tons and innumerable commutes.

67. Entering the state of Arizona.

68. Hello Phoenix, Arizona’s capital.

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