Palm Springs November 2004
I have to confess I wasn't as pleased as usual to be visiting Palm Springs this time.
It was for me a time of a certain amount of anger, and sadness. I had hoped that enough people would realise just how much George W Bush had done to worsen the lives of the average American; I trusted that enough people would be concerned about the Iraq War and how the World's opinion of America had sunk thanks to this aggressive warmonger.
"Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."
(Hermann Goering, Hitler's Reich-Marshall at the Nuremberg Trials)
But no, just enough fools voted Bush back in, and I was mad about it. Also I was extremely annoyed that the US should decide that British people (yes, you know, the only foreign 'power' to support the US in the invasion of Iraq) were to have their photographs taken and be fingerprinted on entry to the US.
Personally I'm sick of people telling me that if I have nothing to hide I have nothing to fear. Can anyone tell me what fingerprinting everyone on entry to the US will achieve? I don't see how it can stop a repeat of 9/11, as those involved in that attack had visas given to them by the US Embassy in their country. I'm also wondering how accurate the data is - how many fingerprints will they have collected in just a few months? I wonder who the 'authorized officials and selected law enforcement agencies' are that are allowed to see the data, and what reasons they have to give to see that data?
So, on this particular occasion I travelled to the US via Canada. I took a flight to Vancouver, a very pleasant airport with friendly and polite people, and then stayed the night there before taking a bus across the border to Seattle. From there I took a flight down to Palm Springs. A little long winded but I was pleased with myself to have given the US Government the finger in a way they hadn't expected.
The first order of business was to deal with my condo. My last tenant was rather disappointing, having failed to pay rent on time or at all, and had left the place in a mess. I was ready to sell and never return to the US ever again, but fortunately I do have some great friends there, including my original tenant David. With the help of his friends they came up with a someone needing a new home, and Frank moved into my condo at the start of December. So the condo 'problem' was resolved, I have an excuse to return to the US, and I have my friends there to thank for it all.
Not all my friends were as great though. I think one relationship died on this trip. Over dinner with Bridget, she told me how Kerry's wife was a bull dyke and how the war in Iraq was just a training exercise to get them 'battle ready' (for what, Armageddon?). I was shocked.
Palm Springs was as lovely as ever - although with my condo worries I didn't have time to enjoy it. Las Vegas was as fun as ever, the Star Trek Experience in the Hilton was even better than last time, thanks to the new Borg 4D ride.
Joining the players club at the Hilton had an unexpected bonus too. That evening a new show was starting and they had complimentary tickets going. So I went to see the the 'Aussie Angels'. What a hoot! Ten busty babes strutting their stuff on and off stage! My poor friend Stephen was perhaps just a little embarrassed by these uninhibited beauties getting their jugs out for the lads, or was he just embarrassed by me howling and roaring as they did it? He left in disgust and just a few minutes later they came dancing round the tables. Before I knew it I was pounced on and ended up on stage with ten Australian Angels! What a riot.
The final part of my trip involved a
drive to Long Beach to see Anna and Jamie that I met on my Antarctica
expedition. We all ended up in Fredrick's of Hollywood looking
for a party 'outfit' for Jamie, lets just say it was great fun and