Sunday, 24 May 2015

Eureka! indeed, alas poor Arcata, where did my photos go?

Somehow I lost half a day of photos and the record especially of souls encountered in the afternoon in Arcata. I have discovered that there are three ways things do not get onto the reality world of camera world. First this way, the worst way: the actual loss of images, moments seized and treasured. Second: how in paroxysm of astonishment, as several times, not actually taking the picture. Third: on being informed, waking in the back seat of the Mammoth Maxima, that astonishing sights had been seen. "Really, where are the photos." "Oh we forgot." "Then it did not happen."

My companions have become thick as thieves, Liz has fallen back into a free-spirit laugh she adopted so long ago, borrowed, stolen from Eddie Murphy in Trading Places — catch it at 40 second in this clip....

A manner of laughing explored around the time Liz wrote Long Legs the Baby Grarf  ... I realise, recalling that story just now, that it bears very much upon what we have been doing this past week. This thus typed by the author at about age 6.
One suny morning whan Long Legs was wallcing throo the forust when SUDLY she hured a cracling sound and out came a MONSTER it was gray and ringcly. Long Legs ran away. Don’t run awaye.I’m just a big elafant said the monstr. Ok said Long Legs. lets go exploring said the elefant. But were shood we start? said Ling Leg Ovre ther said the elifant poyting to a cave. Ok said Long Legs.
OK, then. Over here we begin..

Eureka! An excellent name for a town in California.

Here is a great tragedy, irony of history.

At the time of Mexican independence, wrested from Spain some time after El Grito de Dolores in 1810, the massive silver deposits of Mexico had been severely depleted and with flight of capital, trade and many Spaniards, economic decline followed, a major contributor to upheavals in Mexico and conflict with the big trading and lending nations.

Washington had wanted California for quite a while, and got it for $15,000,000 at the end of the Mexican war in February 1848, the United States' ground-breaking beginning to war on foreign territory.

In the previous month, gold had been discovered in California.



Back to the story? Please?

Eureka California is just south of Arcata.

The ladies in one thrift shop (no photo, sorry) in Arcata had spoken with a measure of despair of the greater drug problems in Eureka. These towns as noted have problems of economic decline, struggle, arrival and presence of people of modest means and perhaps some less warm designs, over time.

But their town centres are possessed of character, pride, imagination.

We arrived in Eureka a few minutes after packing out of the mini-house in Trinidad.

After ordering breakfast in the Black Lightning Motorcycle Cafe...

... you step outside because you think you saw from the car a really nice mural with a dog you need to photograph, then you find in fact it's a queue of dogs at a public convenience

... and then, turning round, your teeth and brain fly out as gob-smacked and eye-whacked you find yourself confronted by the most, most astonishing coup d'oeil

There is no hole in that wall, it's in your head, the wall is flat. 

Were I to write a something entertaining to suit this situation it would be a double show,
with the refined musical modern folks on the right all done up nice
while to the left the quadruple-breasted top-hatted bank manager, 
just a little bit Mussolini-like,
on his balcony above the good and bad folks of gold-town,
a wild and hostile crowded,
 explains where the money done gone. 

"The Well Cinched Dancer and the Soon to be Lynched Banker" 
- sounds ok to me.
The guy with the bass knows the money's in the van.

An experience that reminded me of Kenneth Koch's poem 'One Train May Hide Another'. Try it even if you are a poem-avoider. Koch is good.

The old town is lovely, much of it nineteenth century grand. And tidy. Even the pigeons fall in with the neat order of things.

I will get back to record separately two special things in Eureka, when I have faster broadband than at the moment. We did get away, drive on, just a bit before lunch.

Oh just one more photo, or two, to explain the wanderer's dilemma.

You step out from the wonderful Clarke Museum – in a bank bought for the purpose in the 1950s by a determined history teacher, Cecile Clarke, for museum purpose – and when done with the photo you realise a pedestrian has been patiently waiting for you to finish, with a warm smile. And he, it turns out, works developing rehabilitation programs for disabled Native Americans. This deserved at least a half-hour discussion, but neither of us had it.

my shooting from the hip photography perhaps not always flattering,
I should do a selfie or two this way sometime to improve my self-awareness

oh and another interesting person was Alfred, volunteer in the museum. He was cleaning the glass on tops of displays, admiring all those things thereunder which his work brought more clearly into sight.

Born in a village northeast of Guangzhou,
Alfred retains a great hatred of the communist government of China.
"I don't understand, we didn't understand, how could it be.
The Japanese army took our food
but the communists killed anyone who disagreed with them.
They killed their own people..."
Fleeing to his uncle in Hong Kong aged 17 in 1952, moving to America in 1966
(perhaps because at that moment the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
 rattled down to the Hong Kong border)
a Chinese restaurant here in town for 25 years before retirement.
I asked about local appreciation of Chinese food.
"Oh, all they want is 'all you can eat'" with a grin.

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