Monthly Archives: April 2014

Do people go to Bali to experience a simpler life, or escape?

I just watched a documentary about Bali. It was an hour long. I have seen information about Bali before, and it is close to being in the #1 spot for places I want to go as soon as time permits. I learned some interesting things about the island’s history. They used to have a very simple life, and in many parts of the island still do. People would bath naked outdoors. People made their living doing simple things like farming, fishing, and artwork. These days, a lot of money came into the island from tourism and other industries, so electricity and modern living has made its way to much of the island. There are still many places that live life the old way.

Bali attracts with its simplicity…
One of the attractions for tourists is (or used to be) being in a place that is simpler. If you are from a modern place with a hectic lifestyle, you probably crave having time to unwind with no cell phones, no computers, and perhaps the sound of birds. Having some exotic people around you who cook spicy Asian food might be another attractive perk. Western travelers often question why the Balinese are in such a hurry to get electricity and “ruin” their idyllic way of life?

Craving a simpler life…
My question is, if so many Westerners crave a simpler life, why not create it? What Westerners don’t understand is that we choose our reality to a certain extent. Our choices are based only on what is available which limits us, but there is more flexibility than you think. There is simplicity right here in America. You can go to remote communities where there is no electricity and cell phones don’t work. Most people can’t live in these communities because you can’t make a living there. Therefor we NEED complexity to make a living. But, you can go for vacation and enjoy the trees, the ocean and whatever else is there.

Why not create this simpler life?
The Amish have a very industrious and happy lifestyle without electricity. I think their way of life is something that we can consider duplicating in other areas. Why not have areas set aside for simple living. How simple? It is up to the community. It would be much more affordable to live in such areas since there would be very limited plumbing, no gas, and no electricity. Many regular tourists in Bali were saddened by the fast modernization. But, in reality, Bali could choose to set certain areas aside to be a little bit simpler. That might be a nice tourist attraction as well. Most countries make the mistake of wanting to have every human being in the country have exactly the same standards for housing. But, maybe life is more fun if there are different zones with different standards!

A spiritual point of view on the issue…
According to spirituality, our surroundings are the way they are due to an inner condition. In real life, this is not completely true, but there is an element of what I call the “reflective spiritual axiom of equality.” What is on the inside reflects an exact replica on the outside. Hindus believe this spiritual law, but the reality (which they never seem to investigate or document case studies) disproves this Hindu belief. The truth is that what is on the inside attracts atmospheres that “best match” you for places or situations that you will spend a lot of time with. There is no such thing as an exact replica since thousands of humans live in particular areas, yet those humans only have limited shared attributes. Maybe we live in a complicated place because we are complicated on the inside? Enough about Hindu philosophy and its failings.

One benefit of electricity
The biggest advantage of electricity coming to the villages in Bali was that children could now study at night. But, with a good LED lantern, you can study at night too without all the wires!

Just because you live in a modern world
Even though most of us live in a modern world, it doesn’t mean we have to fly to an exotic foreign country to be simple. We can be simple wherever we are. We tend to get caught up in modern life and follow whatever everyone else is doing. It becomes something we are not conscious of. But, you can life in a modern city, and choose not to use electricity, or at least not use it much. You can choose not to use a cell phone, or at least not have the most recent model of i-phone. You can have a car, but choose to walk to the local market instead of driving and fighting for a parking place.

What are we really seeking?
I think that Westerners who go to Bali are not seeking simplicity, although that is a novelty for a while. People want to be refreshed. Most of us tend to work too much, and wherever we live becomes monotonous after a while. It is fun to be in a place that is really different. Different people, different landscape, different animals, different trees, different foods, different amenities. Bali has all of these if you ignore that it is constantly being invaded by armies of camera bearing tourists! We just need a change of pace. It is fun to go without plumbing for a few days. It is fun to not have electricity for a day or two. It helps us relax. But, after we are relaxed, I think that most of us would prefer to have our electricity back, unless we are retired. The fact is that we need modern amenities to enjoy a prosperous and interesting lifestyle.

My personal story with simplicity
Personally, I was the last of my friends to use the internet, but I swore I would become big on the internet once I built whatever site I was going to build. A few years later I did exactly that. The internet has changed since then, and my presence continued to grow in many unexpected ways. Now, I find this new tool Twitter to be a wonderful source of interesting articles and new friends. Ten years ago who would have thought? If I lived in a cave I would enjoy simplicity, but who would I tweet to?

I also enjoy simplicity though. So, from time to time I go to parts of India that are simple. I also visit Yosemite, and enjoy mountains, deserts, and beaches in the Western parts of the USA. Sometimes it is fun to be in a very remote town in Arizona or New Mexico for a while. But, when it is all over, I come back to what I term, “A normal life.” Maybe it is analogous to sleep. We need to be active for periods of time, and then we need to rest. Perhaps simplicity is good, but as a mechanism to optimize our resting periods…

La Jolla, CA — a pleasant place to stroll and browse

I am a frequent visitor to La Jolla California. It is not just that I like to see how the top 1% live, I find it healthy and rejuvenating being there. I love walking around at night and going to the small shops and galleries. People are very friendly there, and I seem to make new friends there from time to time too!

Where to stay.
I have stayed at many of the hotels in La Jolla. I found that I sleep better at the Best Western than the other hotels and wake up earlier as well. I love the little chocolates they give in the rooms upon arrival, and depend on the apples they keep in the lobby! They have a very nice staff, and it is relaxing just to be there! It seems to capture the ambiance of the sea and dolphin energy even though they are a few blocks farther from the sea than many other local hotels. A paradox to ponder!

The Grande Colonial Hotel is a very stately place to stay with a nice classy bar on the main floor. Service is excellent and it is in the middle of all of the action as well.

La Valencia hotel has some exquisite dining and wines to drink. You will enjoy its traditional Hacienda style architecture and convenient location. They sometimes have fancy set dinners at their restaurant for their gourmet visitors. This might qualify as being the classiest hotel in the neighborhood.

What to do? Start at the beach!
La Jolla is a neighborhood of cafes, beaches, restaurants, art galleries, and friendly people. I have never had a bad experience visiting there. The question is what to do, and when to do it? For me, a quick jaunt to the beach is an absolute necessity for emotional reasons. You can see dozens of seals (sea lions) swimming around and basking on the rocks. They are adorable creatures. I typically start my day with a short walk to the coast and walk around the beach, see the sea mammals, soak in the ocean’s healing energy, and then go about my day. My chiropractor says it is good to walk barefoot in the sand, so find a sandy part of the beach and take your shoes off and walk back and forth. It is truly therapeutic! Additionally, the beach is nice place to go after sunset for a quiet atmosphere to enjoy with your significant other!

Ice cream anyone?
You have a choice of Haagen Daz (my favorite), Cold Stone, and multiple gelato places. One place even has designer ice cream bars with very unusual flavors for unusually high prices! No trip to La Jolla is complete without a small helping of ice cream.

Coffee houses!
The most popular hangout is “The Living Room”. Coffee, Hookahs, food, and desserts. All under one roof. My favorite coffee stop is to have mocha at Aroma Cafe near Fay and Prospect Street. They have a very unusual menu of American, Italian, Cajun, and Mid-Eastern foods and even have unusual dishes like Coca Cola Chicken! I always enjoy dining at Aroma no matter what time of the day it is.

Art Galleries
There are many to choose from. Just walk down the side streets off Prospect and you will be bombarded with art. My favorite is a little gallery with nature pictures. You can get small cards with photos of animals you can take home for a small price!

Fine Dining
There are endless choices of places to dine for every budget. Prospect street has infinite choices, but Fay ave has many more if you go a few blocks South. You can get French, Italian, Sushi, American, and many other types of cuisines. Famous restaurants include Steakhouse Azul at La Jolla, Crab Catcher, Eddie V’s, Amaya La Jolla, and La Valencia is very fancy as well. I enjoyed Tapas and “tinto” (red wine) at Ibirico Bistro on Prospect. A nice place for budget travelers is Bubba’s Smoke House BBQ. The brisket sandwiches are smoky and amazing!

If you go across the highway to downtown La Jolla, there are a few amazing restaurants near the Hyatt. Fleming’s Steak House has the best burger anywhere as well as great steaks and seafood. Cafe Japengo has great Asian Fusion. Truluck’s has fancy seafood. Which place is my favorite place to eat? I have had only one fancy meal in La Jolla because I normally eat in other parts of town when I am in San Diego!

Bars & Wine tasting
There is a small olive oil shop that has wine tasting as well. It is called We Olive & Wine Bar. I tried a few of their reds which all had the characteristic of having strong flavors. I experienced cranberry notes, walnut notes, and other distinct flavors. I am more partial to fruity or “big reds”, but it was an interesting experience in any case. Loved their map of wine growing regions in California. You would be surprised at how many valleys there really are here! There are many bars in La Jolla. The classiest is at the Grand Colonial. But, you can drink wine at the tapas restaurant, sushi places, or anywhere else in town as well. Flemings (a few miles inland) has an amazing wine selection as well. For those who are serious about fine wines, there is a very nice place that is about 45 minutes from La Jolla. If you go up to Rancho Santa Fe (you will get lost in the hills if you don’t know the area) you can find an excellent selection of fine wines at Delicias. The other option is to go to Downtown San Diego where there are more choices of places to go wine tasting.

Traveling to India — Hazards you are not thinking of

When we think of India we think of the Taj Mahal, (or as I call it, the “Tajma Hall”). We think of Red Fort in Agra; We think of the beautiful Himalayas; And we think of the backwaters of Kerela. In real life, most of India is nothing like these fabulous places. Most of India is a flat rural place with a few overpopulated teaming cities mixed in. But, traveling to India has its hazards too. Are you prepared?

Hazard #1: Lost Passports
When we travel to India, we are warned about pick pockets, con-men, and food poisoning. But, the most common hazard in India is giving your passport to a clerk at a hotel or airport. It is not that they are “trying” to lose it — it just happens out of carelessness. On two occasions on my last trip, the airline personnel dropped my passport on the floor. They couldn’t find it after shuffling through their papers. When you get out of your rick shaw and arrive at your hotel, the first thing they want is a photocopy of your passport. So, the hotel clerk hands your passport to their runner (normally a boy about 18 years old who looks like he hasn’t a clue) and the gopher boy takes it to the neighborhood photocopy place. But, what if he loses your passport? Then, you will be stranded in India for the rest of your life! Don’t let your passport or personal belongings out of your site for more than a nano-second in India — even with trusted professionals!

Hazard #2: Dysentery
Sure, we have all been warned of bacterial maladies that happen to wary travelers in Asia. Vomiting, Dysentery, and what I call LBS — Liquid bowel syndrome are all common in India. The trick is to know what to do. India is actually a much better place to get sick than America. It is very affordable to be really sick in India and help is around every corner! Cipro (ciprofloxacin) will kill any infection known to mankind. But, do you carry it on your person before you get sick? Do you know how long to take it? Cipro only costs pennies in India but a course could cost $100 or more in the USA. Wherever you get it, you might consider keeping it on your person just in case. In India, roughly half of all tourists get sick. How long they remain sick can vary, and the severity varies too. Even Indians returning home after five or more years of bacterial acculturation in America often get upset stomachs. I got very sick in Bangalore, and we just went to a neighborhood pharmacy. I got a consultation and holistic medicine for about US$3 without any waiting in lines. If you had to go to an emergency room in the USA, you would pay $1000 after an eight hour wait. India has its problems, but if you want medical care, it is sometimes not a bad location.

Hazard #3: Where you eat and what you eat
Foreigners are paranoid about getting sick, and avoid many places they could eat. It is unpredictable where you are going to get sick. I started out being careful. But, after a while I got more adventurous on subsequent India trips. I started eating street food and drinking regular untreated tap water. Nothing happened. Later I learned that my stomach didn’t like potatoes unless they were in a samosa. Interesting fact. I survived train food, street food, and tap water, and then got violently ill eating food that one of the ladies in our spiritual group cooked. It was a potato dish. That was the one day that I wasn’t carrying toilet paper on my person. Big mistake. I used a squat toilet with no toilet paper for the first time in my life. It only took that bacteria 15 minutes to make me violently ill. I was freezing in the air conditioned train and couldn’t stay awake. I guess these illnesses are part of the spiritual cleansing. That is what they tell us. I lived in any case.

Hazard #4: Walking on a side walk.
For those of you who feel that crossing the street in India is risking your life — you are right. Indians, however are cool as a cucumber when attempting this treacherous risk — after all, they believe in reincarnation. If they get run over by a truck, they will get infinite second chances! I was ran into by a motorcycle on a sidewalk. Luckily he was in parking mode, but he crashed right into my side. I guess he doesn’t know how to gauge distances — or maybe he was hungover. Luckily I wasn’t hurt.

Other Hazards
Keep your wallet in your front pocket and keep your hand on the pocket in the train. If someone pushes you, keep that hand on the wallet and let your body crash into the soft bodies ahead of you. They won’t mind — they are immune to that. If you forget about your wallet, the pickpockets and molesters will take it. Watch out for floods. Keep an inflatable boat on your person at all times. You never know. Also, if you see 200 Hindus about to confront 300 Muslims armed with sticks and knives — run fast!

“I’ll be right back” — he said: A travel story

I was in La Jolla. For those of you who frequent my blog, you will know that I travel to San Diego County often to revive myself. It revives my health, sleep schedule and spirit. My psychic told me that a goddess named Usha lived in La Jolla 10,000 years ago and the entire area is blessed by her divine vibration. She loved the seals and she loved the coast. It is still wonderful to this day! How does a goddess in prehistoric America get a Hindu name? Not sure — maybe the Hindus got around more than we think on Atlantian modes of transportation beyond our comprehension. Anyway… getting back to the story.

During one of my nightly walks around La Jolla, in my quest for ice cream, good conversation and relaxation, I was having a conversation while eating my Swiss Vanilla Almond. We were talking about wicker furniture, and then I mentioned my problems finding .net programmers. The guy who I will call “Frank” at the neighboring table interjected. He told me all about his programming background and he wanted to be a project manager. We talked for about half an hour. He told me he wanted to give me his card. And then he uttered the words,

“I’ll be right back.”

Sounds like something Arnold would say in The Terminator. I got nervous when he said that. Would he really come back? His car was only 50 feet away. Why was I having this reaction. In any case, he came back and gave me his card. We talked for four more hours. Then, the next evening I met him at the same place and we talked for another hour.

A few days later, I talked with my psychic — yeah, the same guy who told me about the goddess. Never a dull moment with him. There is always a fascinating story to be told. I never know if the story is completely true, but the stories always have some bearing on reality and are always interesting. The psychic told me that I knew Frank in a past life. We were war buddies. We were in a battle situation together taking in some hostile fire. He had to go for a few minutes to get something. Unfortunately, I never heard from him again in that life. He wandered off and was killed minutes after I last saw him. His parting words before he was killed were:

“I’ll be right back”

Now, I know why I got so nervous when he said that he would be right back. The last time he said that he got killed. What an amazing story. Most of us are completely unaware that the people we meet in daily life might be people we knew in past lives. I met a guy in New Mexico who was my mother in a past life! No wonder he gave me food for free even after his restaurant was closed for a party!

A trip to Kerela with mishaps, elephants, and miracles.

It was 2007. I had to go to India to go to a huge spiritual gathering in Tirapur. Most Indians don’t even know that Tirapur exists. But, it is the garment capital of India. If you make T-shirts, you need to be there. So, I flew to Chennai (Madras). I spent a few days at the ashram meditating. Then, I flew to Hyderabad to meet with a programmer. I had fun there. I saw Char-Minar which is a great monument in the middle of a street. You can walk up the stairs and get a view of the entire neighborhood. I saw Gol-Konda which is a great Islamic fort. Then, I saw a few museums and then went to “Filim City”. I’m not sure how it is spelled, but they pronounce it that way. There were endless gardens of all types so that they could film movies there. Indians need gardens for the love scenes where the guy chases the girl around a tree in a garden (cultural note of the day). Then, I left and flew back to Chennai and got a train going to Kerela.

I was in such a hurry, that I hadn’t booked a room at a hotel where I was going. I didn’t learn the local geography either. I didn’t know the name of the town where the train station was. Ernakulam — now I know. Kochi was the metro I was going to. It is also spelled Cochin like the word for pig in Spanish. It is a city shaped like San Francisco, and Ernakalum was where Berkeley would be. It’s after you cross the bay bridge near the Taj Hotel.

So, there I was on a night train, going through uncharted territory deep in the heart of Tamil Nadu. I didn’t know the names of any hotels and hadn’t thought about it either. That was dumb. Some hotels are affordable and nice while others are impossibly expensive. In any case, there was an Islamic guy in the same quarters that I was in. He had a bed across from me. He was engaged in some activities that were not condoned by his faith. He kept getting out of his bed and walking around the train. He would come back, and then disappear and then come back. I am always afraid of being robbed, so my valuables stay under my clothes in my money belt and my huge bag stays securely under the bed. It would be hard to remove without being noticed. The manager of the railway car started to be bothered by this crazy guy going in and out and in and out. The Islamic guy was drunk on whiskey and offering whiskey to the staff of the train many of whom were accepting his gift.

For those of you who don’t know about “currency” in India. There are various types of currency of different levels of acceptability. Dollars are appreciated. Rupees are the norm. But, whiskey is a prized commodity even more valuable than cash, especially imported whiskey!

We talked about spirituality and religion. He told me that I was on the wrong path. Meditation is not the wrong path. I don’t think there is a wrong path. I told him that at least I was on a path! We talked about fasting for Islam. I thought they fasted for God, but they fasted for the poor. My opinion is, why don’t they just give their food to the poor if they care so much about the poor. But, Muslims fast by day and gorge by night. A silly Ramadan habit that makes no logical senses and doesn’t do anyone any good — especially not the poor who are the ones who are supposed to be “helped” by these traditions.

Putting aside my quarrelsome nature and how I debate religion with everyone under the sun and moon, this Islamic guy gave me a few phone numbers of affordable hotels. He saved my rear! I booked a room while still on the train. My sim-card was working! I paid only $25 per night and stayed at a very clean place with excellent Kerelite food.

I toured the city, saw the docks where the fishermen go out. My long lost friend was standing right there! Was it Lucas? Let me take a closer look. Yes! Yes, it was Lucas. It had been five or ten years since I last had seen him. We talked a while and then talked about which train he was taking to the gathering. We were both in the same spiritual group.

Then, I got up early the next day for a tour of the mountains. My cab ride didn’t come at the appointed time. We saw spice gardens in the hills. Then, we saw the high mountains and animals up there. I made friends with an elephant named Laxmi who ate 200 bananas per day! She was six years old and very adorable! We saw a bunch of tourist sites in the mountains, got badly rained on, and returned to the hotel.

There was a bus strike in Kerela when I desperately needed to get out of there. I was planning on leaving by bus, but couldn’t. Luckily, but the grace of god (god seems to do more miracles in India for regular folks like me than he does in America) a special train was organized to travel East. I booked a ticket on that train and I was the only one (almost) on the train. I got off at Coimbatore. From there, I booked a hotel, had a beautiful tour of the gardens and lakes of Ooti in the hills, and got a cab to take me to my spiritual gathering.

My trip to Kerela was a sequence of mishaps, bad planning and miracles. India is a pain in the neck, but I love many of the people, and I love that god intervenes more in daily life in India. Everything is chaotic in India, but somehow everyone gets where they are going in the end through divine intervention — if necessary!

My 2004 Armpit of Nevada Trip

The armpit of Nevada

I remember reading an article many years ago. It was about Battle Mountain — the armpit of Nevada. My buddy and I liked to drive around to see museums, scenic spots back in those days.

This must have been around 2004 or so. He had a few days off work and we decided to go on a trip. We were going to see all of Nevada in several days.

Out Trip Starts
We started by driving from Los Angeles, and staying somewhere in the Vegas area. It has been so long, I don’t even remember! The next day we drove through the mountains of central Nevada on the 93 Northbound. This was a very long drive. It started out being regular looking desert terrain, but after we got further North, we started hitting bad weather. Then we took the 375 Northwest for a while, and then the 376 North.

The Snow Storm
It started to snow a bit. We stopped at this tiny little town which is not even on the map. I believe it is called Austin. There was only one little store / restaurant. Some kids were playing in the store — presumably family of the owner. There were little books on the table that looked like they were from the 1940’s. They were for quick reads while customers were waiting for their food. I don’t even remember what the books were about this was so long ago, but they were about quirky country characters like Farmer John, etc. A man came in and told everyone what the plowing situation was like. There was heavy snowfall, and we were far from done with our journey. We had to keep moving. So, we made small-talk, had a quick bite and a quick soda, and got out of there.

The White-Out
So, we proceeded north on the 305. I was a bit nervous by now. It was 30 degrees and we were in the middle of nowhere in a snowstom in Nevada of all places. We kept driving and the snow kept getting worse. Finally, it became a white-out. The snow was so severe, I couldn’t see the road. I had endured as much as I could. I just had to pull the car over and take a look outside. I tried to gauge where the side of the road was. I thought we might have to be there for hours, or might even die there. I cleaned the snow off the car while I was waiting. It kept accumulating so fast! If we got stuck there, we might freeze to death, especially when the temperature dropped more!

Battle Mountain
Miraculously, after only 15 minutes, the snow lightened up quite a bit, so I could see very clearly. There were only drifts of snow that obstructed my view a tiny bit. I was able to drive about 50 MPH all the way to our destination: Battle Mountain, the armpit of Nevada. My buddy and I have been to the highlights of many cities and states. But, we wanted a change of pace. We wanted to see the worst places that you could see, to jazz things up a bit. So, we got to Battle Mountain.

It was nothing fancy. It was not a terrible place by any standards. It was just a stripped down town. It had what you needed, and nothing more. There was a hotel, a gas station, mini-casino, one or two stores, a large bar, perhaps a tire shop, and that was it. We stuck our head in the store and made small talk with the lady who was running it. She had read the article too about how Battle Mountain was the armpit of Nevada. But, in reality it is just another typical Nevada town, with no redeeming features. Every Nevada town has some sort of casino, hotel, gas
station, store, etc. It was just like that, except with absolutely nothing else to speak of. So, we got bored quickly, and wanted to get a hotel on the way to Reno.

After our ordeal and not so interesting curiousity stop in Battle Mountain, we made our way to Winnemucca. The highway had a lot of snow build up, and there were snowplows everywhere.

There is not much worse than driving up hills on a highway with snow. It is easy to skid out of control which is dangerous if there are trucks nearby. Luckily, I am a confident driver and have only had two skidding incidents on a highway in my life — both were on ice. Unpleasant as it was, we made it to Winnemucca. The town was one giant truck stop. It had all of the typical Nevada “fixins”. Small casinos, stores, hotels, but there were more gas stations and motels since it was a truck stop of a town. We found an affordable hotel, got some shut-eye, and then kept moving.

The next day we got up early because we wanted to drive to Lake Tahoe, and then down to Vegas. That is a long drive on roads which don’t got straight to where you are going. Reno was boring. We had a quick meal at Denny’s and then popped our heads in various casinos. “Seen one, seen ’em all” was our attitude. My subsequent and more detailed visits to Reno reveal that it has a thriving culinary scene and some very pleasant hotels, but on our quick passing through, we didn’t have time to savor that reality.

Lake Tahoe
We got directions to the lake and were on our way. I still remember the song we were listening to by Kanye West using a Shaka Khan “Through the fire” remix. The gradual descent down the hill to the lake was spellbinding. The view was exquisite and kept evolving the lower you got and changed through every twist in the road. We stopped for a “Starbucks”, if I can use the word that way. It was interesting sitting there in Incline Village with all of the affluent Colorado / California types sitting in proximity to us. We were physically in Nevada, but it felt like California. Of course, we were right on the border, but still! We were in a different world. A world of Real Estate investments, vacations, time shares, skiing, boating, and more. It was about 30 degrees, so we wanted to see that world another time when we had a few days to spare, and preferably at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit!

Area 51
We left the lake fast, but held a reminder of its beauty in our minds. It was off to Vegas now. We drove to Carson City, and then on the smaller highways all the way down. Unfortunately for us, they were not roads that went in a straight line to Vegas. They went East, South, East, South, but not Southeast! We passed Walker Lake which was uninspiring, and with lifeless surroundings.

We saw Tonopah which is just a small Old West type of a place. After that, there was a very long drive past Area 51. We had heard many stories about this forboding place. The military controlled that part of Nevada. But, were there really aliens locked up in underground compounds? There is no way to know! Then we took the 160 and went through Pahrump just for fun even though it was not the fastest route. Although it has a reputation of being a very immoral town, it seemed like just another Nevada town on the surface. Then, we made it to Vegas.

The Luxor
We stayed at the Luxor. It had changed since my previous visit. They had build separate floors on the lower levels. We had margaritas, and then went to sleep. The next day we had to awaken early to meditate with our friends nearby.

The Next Day
We got up, made it to meditation. We saw our meditation companions who visited California often for meditation events. It was pleasant. We made small talk, talked about old times, and then it was time to go back home. Our 3-day trip through nevada was crazy, exciting, dangerous, and mildly interesting. The point was to see the state in its entirety, and we sort of did that. There are still a few spots near the Utah border that we didn’t see. Echo Canyon State Park, Spring Valley State Park, Cathedral Gorge State Park, Ely, and Elko are all places I still would like to see. They are very far away. Maybe on another trip when I’m not pressed for time!