I’m just back from an amazing, and as-warned much to short visit to California to see my novio. Sigh. And the Mexican customs confiscated the delicious salami that I was bringing back. I’m grumpy to be back. I’m sure my mood will improve once I go for a run.

Except for the fact that I am a bit sad to have left my novio after 4 short days and my lack of Italian treats to share, I really can’t complain. I was on vacation from the Peace Corps, which sounds a bit ridiculous in the first place. Since I haven’t lived in the US since 2007, it is always strange to go back; however, Berkeley is one of my favorite place to go visit, and it feels the most like home for any place in the US.

We took two days of proper vacation and drove up the coast for the weekend to Sonoma county to do some exploring and bouldering on Saturday. We camped overnight. The fog was unforgiving on Sunday, so we went with some friends for a hike in the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. What hadn’t affected me until this trip is the California budget issues. All my friends in the bay area have jobs or are in school, and I just haven’t seen the impact until trying to visit all the smaller park areas along the coast. Many parks are closed, many of those still open have drastically reduced services, and the prices are incredibly high to camp. I wasn’t just viewing the prices through a Peace-Corps-salary-in-Mexican-pesos lens, everyone was a bit stunned. I’m not sure though if it is only a sad thing. It was interesting to see nature reclaiming one of the closed parks that we snuck into and explored trying to find boulders. I wish I had taken a picture of the picnic tables being taken over my moss.

As if wasn’t wonderful enough to be visiting M., I also got to use his camera, a Nikon D7000. I already knew it was a better camera than my D60 (which was his until he upgraded and so generously gifted to me as a going-away present), but M. finally convinced me about this whole shooting RAW thing. I’m convinced. One round of editing, and I’m ready to back up, empty, and start over with my memory cards – ready for my new huge files. Also, it helps that I have plenty of space on the new laptop, for now. It was time for an upgrade since Photoshop would barely run and I was having severe heat issues. So, I spent a bunch of my “real” money, and of course it was worth it. Last one was from late 2006.

I was debating trickling out the photos from the trip over a bunch of posts, but there are always more photos to be taken. So here they are. I will be adding a bunch to the “From the Window Seat” page as I get them edited. The pictures of me are taken my M., but the rest are ones that I took.