California is one of those places you can’t help but have prejudices and expectations, especially for a self styled Green, and especially for the Bay Area: from the Berkeley bicycle-friendly avenues adorned with “organic” shops, to the sight of a wild sea otter anchored in the mats of giant kelp, acres of artichokes interspersed with fresh Tomales stands, and the immense scale of vaporous waterfalls drifting down the many faces of Yosemite. so far so good!
There’s a lot happening here, good and bad. Good in the sense of a coastal culture proudly engaged in their wildlands and progressive legislation, bad in that it’s entirely unsustainable. I’ve just passed through, hanging out with a friend in a vegetarian coop, mostly doing ridiculous certification and work permits stuff, and otherwise weekend tripping. At Ana Nuevo State park, I was privileged to get within metres of Elephant Seals! All the magnificent males (upto 6 m long) had left, having fought and fornicated and leaving the females to tend to the pups. Some of the subadult 5 year old males started to have that characteristic floppy snout and head-banding fighting disposition. We even spotted one with a time-depth recorder. At the park, the officials had measured dives down to 2 km, a depth which beats the record of any air-breathing animal, from whales to penguins.
Now, I’m off to Vancouver and back down to Oregon. It’s a border run to get a firearms license and a TN1 Status work permit. It’s ridiculous what I have to do to work in the USA. Considering how easy it is people like Poles and a Swedes, whose differences rank among the most extreme on the planet, can work in each other’s country without any formalities, and yet I’m terrified by what harassment I’ll get at our border….