We just completed 10 days in Visalia, staying with Heather and her son, Cayman. Heather used to work in Hollywood and has lots of fascinating tales, so much so that she has written a novel based on some of her experiences. Cayman is a student and provided us with the highlight of our stay, Scotland the Brave and Amazing Grace played on his own bagpipes. Awesome!
Heather and Cayman are well-travelled and have a refreshingly international take on world affairs and get our sense of humour. We had some great conversations and it felt like a real exchange of ideas and cultures as well as work (painting the kitchen ceiling and erecting a gazebo) and bed and board (including cookies, pancakes and tamales). I feel sure we’ll keep in touch with Heather and Cayman and see them again.
Before and after the pergola. Painted ceiling.
Visalia is a small town with one Main Street as most of the shopping etc is done in out of town retail parks. We went to one Mall, which was pretty much like ours, but out of the centre. Heather introduced us to friends at the Celtic Society, all of whom had some connection with the UK, and we went to a Christmas party with a group of artists and writers. It was really great to be invited to people’s houses and everyone was welcoming, interesting and interested in our trip. We also went to the Quaker Meeting House with Heather and Cayman, experienced the silent meeting and shared lunch.
The only thing we wish we’d done from Visalia but didn’t manage to organise was a visit to the Sequoia National Park. It’s only 40 miles away but buses aren’t running at the moment but we may be able to organise something from here.
We arrived in Merced to spend Christmas earlier today. First impressions are that it’s a rather depressed and depressing little town, and we seem to be staying in the most depressing part if it. We have a nice little self-contained bungalow but the ‘hood seems a bit dodgy so we need to hire a car in order to organise our time here. This is difficult as the owner of the apartment has not yet given us the WiFi code. Hopefully it’ll get sorted this evening. Unfortunately we may have to splash out a bit of money if we want to have a non-depressing Christmas.