USA and Europe 2013 travel blog

Chinese laundry at Temecula

Our residence at Temecula

Contrast natural countryside and watered areas at Temecula

Typical street in Temecula

Our street in Temecula

Last year while we were away in Papua New Guinea, Rosemary and Jim from California stayed in our house in Eden Hills on the basis that sometime we would stay in Rosemary's house in Temecula in Southern California which is about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego. We organised to spend three nights at Rosemary's place giving us time to do our washing, update our journal and have a bit of a rest.

That was the theory but the practice has not worked out so well.

We thought that we would avoid the chaos of flying in to Los Angeles airport (LAX) by coming into Long Beach Airport just south of LA. But little did we know what we had let ourselves in for. We arrived at Long Beach about 3.00pm, picked up our rented car and headed towards Temecula, 120 kilometres away about half an hour later. We made good progress early but when we got on to Highway 91 near Anaheim, the 120kph traffic slowed to a crawl ie about 10kph. After about two hours we had travelled about 60 kms. Then we turned onto one of the premier roads, the I15, and crawled 12 kms in 45 minutes - at least there was some excuse as there was a motorbike accident along the way. After the accident normal service resumed with frustrated drivers hurtling in every direction. Eventually we arrived at Temecula about 6.35pm - nearly three and a half hours to travel 120 kms. So much for the efficient American highway system.

Then when we got to Rosemary's place, we discovered that the dishwasher was not available, she does not have TV and even worse she does not have an internet connection. You might gather that we were a little irritated. To add insult to injury, we went to the recommended supermarket firstly to discover that they only seem to have items in large sizes and that they do not take credit cards only debit cards, cash or cheques - were we really in America? As usual there was some small consolation - we bought two bottles of white wine (with corks) for about $2 each and they are drinkable (fortunately they were not cold when we bought them otherwise we may have made short work of them.)

But we have been able to get our washing done (they have dryers and no clothes lines so we created our own Chinese laundry in the back yard - you would have been proud of us, Jane) and managed some home made meals (good steak at the equivalent of $15 per kilo) and we have been practicing Bananagrams (thanks to you again, Jane).

Having spent two days here (plenty of time to make informed judgement), I am scratching my head about where we have landed. Firstly I think that we are in the land of Peter, Paul and Mary's little boxes which all look the same - the houses are either cream or pink and all have red tiled roofs and are buit of similar design. There are no front fences and cars everywhere (little wonder the freeways are crowded) - most houses have double garages with two cars parked in the drive, then there are more cars parked on the street. We are in a cul-de-sac off of a multi-lane major 75kph road and shops are several kilometres away so everybody drives. Then there are several huge shopping precincts at least as big as Marion (for those that know it) serving, I believe, a population of about 100,000 people. Shopping is obviously big business.

One good thing was the excellent library which looks new - most of the development is relatively new (our house and neighbourhood looks to be maybe 30 years old). But it had high speed internet - 1 hour for $1 which allowed us to catch up with emails.

Another good thing has been the weather which has been pleasantly warm to hot, cooler than we had expected.

Next step may be back into the furnace at El Paso and Big Bend National Park.

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