Thursday, May 31, 2007

where the jacaranda still blooms

Those other-worldly blossoms, the jacaranda, still glow and shimmer on the trees in Ojai. Every time I see them I marvel again at their amazing color. We got to our hotel, The Blue Iguana Inn about 3 PM after a speedy trip down I-5. The Patient, aka The Pilot, decided to change our route at the very last minute. And I do mean the last minute. We were headed for I-80 west to hook up with 680 and then on to San Jose and US 101, when he decided to change lanes, take I-80 east, pick up I-5 and pick up the highway south of Castain that would take us across to Ojai. Smart move on his part, but that Pilot is a pretty smart guy. We missed all the commuter traffic heading for SF, the Bay Area and San Jose. It was a breeze.

I haven't been to Ojai for about 20 years but, except for the hideous traffic, it looks pretty much the same. The architecture downtown is a blend of Santa Barbara/Montecito/Santa Fe. There are still lots of huge ranches, most of which now seem to be devoted to growing grapes instead of oranges. You see herds of fat cattle, along with pastures of horses trotting around in the sunshine. The city fathers (and mothers) have managed to keep "signage" under control; no bill boards or flashy neon announcements in town or along Highway 150/33. I am looking forward to getting into town tomorrow to walk around and try to find some of my old Ojai favorites, like to big outdoor bookstore. I think I can find it.

Tonight we are dining in. Our apartment is comfortable and completely furnished, down to an iron! But no waffle iron so isn't it a good thing we brought our own? Again, thanks to the Pilot. We even have a little patio off the bedroom, a perfect place for reading or napping. Things I brought to read: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murikama; The Life of Pi by Yann Martel ; Death of an Expert Witness by P.D. James (is it Dalgleish I love or Roy Marsden?); and The Alteration by Kingsley Amis.

In the morning we are meeting Andrew for brunch and some quiet time together before all the other relations descend on the town and claim his attention.


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