Sunday, 15 March 2015

West Coast Life

So here I am 11 months since I last posted.
I've travelled a third of the way around the world to California. This is the first trip where the internet access has been good enough to blog and post photos while away, so it seems a good way to share my trip with those back home who don't do FB (they know who they are).

The main purpose of the visit is a meeting at Stanford University, but I have taken the opportunity to take in some days leave while I am here. Starting off in Palo Alto, staying in the conference hotel, I have been walkabout. I am struck as on all travels abroad by the things that are the same and the things that are different.

It is unseasonably warm here on the west coast, while the east coast has been suffering more snow than usual, I think. A shop keeper told me how much they need water and this is evidenced by many dry gardens.

It is in the gardens that the same but different is so noticeable. There are roses, and daffodils (at the same time!), pelargoniums and may other bedding plants we would see at home in a couple of months time, but which seem to be treated as perennials here.

I saw many fine examples of strelizia, the bird of paradise, and many other exotic plants that can survive in this mild west coast climate, that would never last the winter in Yorkshire.

The ground is very dry and whilst some trees are full of leaves, others have hardly any, or none. One particular species seems to grow along many of the streets but in most cases it has no leaves, I don't know what it is but there are many of its spiky fruit on the ground.

Does anyone know what this is?