The Death Planet and its Valley

September 2015

The beauty of a place is given by its people. Or, to put it differently, the places are the measure of a people who live there: Oakland, San Francisco or L.A. are to us fabulous places thanks to the people we've met there, who have welcomed us wholeheartedly, offering us the comfort of their homes, spending with us precious time, showing us around.

Sadly, the corollary is also valid. One single negative interaction can sometimes be enough to ruin the whole experience with a place. It was my case with the Death Valley. It wasn't the massive heat and the feeling of spinning inside a microwave oven at the point of boiling liquids, neither the scorched and barren land that seemed brought from an unfriendly planet. It was a red-shirted macho whose selfie frame I dared to unwittingly step in who started to cast insults, spoiling my Zabriskie Point karma. Now that I think about that petty redneck I find it anodyne. At that moment, with the boiling brain and blood, I felt like an atomic bomb, ready to implode. Well, how to say, that day I just couldn't enjoy the other things I've seen, not even the rain (yes, rain!!!) that fell in the Death Valley!

Relief only came when we've reached the Owens Valley, towards Lone Pine, at the other end of a long salvation road. The cool Blue Moon and chat at Still Life in Independence, a bistrot held by a French guy established there decades ago, completely washed away the memory of that day. The Death Valley was already behind us like a blurred delirium.

Zabriskie Point, so darn hot

Merciless 120ºF... no more, no less than 48ºC

Dune, somewhere on Arrakis planet

Getting out alive

Heading for the Sierras

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