Published: May 21st 2012May 21st 2012
By now you probably all know that Barak Obama, during an interview with the ABC, declared that he supports gay marriage this Wednesday. I don’t know how you guys feel about this, and my personal opinion about politics is usually kept out of the class room, but this is such an important statement by one of the most powerful leaders in the world that I cannot keep quiet. I was utterly delighted. The question about same sex marriage is about civil rights, I believe.
I’m saying this because I’m staying at a campground just about 80 miles north of San Francisco (for you music lovers: try to find The War doing ‘Cisco Kid’ – turn it up to 11 and shake your butt), on Lake Solano. I travelled along highway 101, and then highway 1 from Oregon all the way to the Sonoma Valley and the Napa Valley, both famous for their wine growing. I’m a huge Pinot Noir fan and the Russian River Valley, Sonoma, is known around the world for this grape. I’m drinking a 55 dollar bottle of wine as we speak, as they say.
(BTW, I just found out that peacocks can fly.
I did not know that. I always thought they are like chicken. It must be mating season or something and the dudes better shut up when it’s getting dark. I don’t mind the odd call, but they are going nuts right now. )
I stayed in a Wildlife Refuge on the coast yesterday and it was like magic, especially since I was only one out of three campers there. So many birds at dawn, it was an utter delight to be there. The coast of Washington, Oregon and California is on some sort of bird superhighway, migrating up and down with the seasons. I’ve seen so many Canadian Geese (which I love, they are so photogenic) but apparently all sorts of birds migrate down to Mexico for the winter and are coming back right now. This morning I took a photo of the prettiest Pelicans I’ve ever seen. Ours are white, sort of, but here they have stripes and dark bellies and a bit of yellow on their wings. I also stopped at a place called Jenner, at the mouth of the Russian River. There were some people standing on the side of the street watching the water. I
stopped the van, turned around and had a look. It looked like there were dead sea lions on the beach, about 50 of them. I couldn’t believe it and thought what on earth kind of disaster has struck these poor animals and walked up to the next car and asked a couple standing next to their car. ‘Are they dead?’. The guy started laughing but the girl told me that they were harbour seals and only relaxing. She said if I look closer, which I did, some of them are in the water. I apologised for my hysteria (I swear they looked like they all had died and people were taking photos of their corpses) and decided to have one of the most expensive meals I had in America so far. I’m not telling how much it really was, but it was delicious. The restaurant was right at the mouth of the river, overlooking the dead – sorry – chilling seals.
And then I found out that all campgrounds and hotels in Yosemite National Park are booked out for the next two days, which was a real bummer. I only have about 5 days left and this was slightly
disappointing, BUT, now you will find out why I started with Obama’s change of opinion: I was sitting here next to the lake, looking at maps etc. and trying to figure out what I should do. Give Yosemite a miss? Stay in San Francisco for a few days instead? I’m just not into cities anymore. I was getting quite agitated when these two ladies appeared with the most youthful looking 13 year old Yorkshire Terrier. As you can imagine, the dog had my immediate attention. Both of the women were just delightful. When I mentioned my problem they started talking about a few alternatives, which I will not get into here but I let you know how it turned out. I have to visit the Capitan, don’t I (look that up)? Having said that, the ladies were partners and if I could guess their age and their relationship from their body language and the way they were talking to me and each other, they have been together for a long time. Love is such a strange and brittle emotion, I’m sure some of you know that already. I cannot imagine being in love with someone and ‘officially’ not allowed to
show my feelings in public because I live in a regional or rural area where most people are homophobes, or the religion my parents chose for me forbid my feelings altogether.
I don’t get that fear at all, anyway. Just like racism, it’s based on fear of the unknown I believe. What is that all about? Different skin colour? Different sexual orientation? What does it matter? I know that as a teacher I should have some sort of answers, but I don’t.
There are more photos below