Got up around 10:30, showered (skipped the night before because of the natural shower and sitting for hours doing nothing but watch more rain). Fairly low water pressure, kind of expected that, but enough. Hard Rock's design geniuses have made shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion all in the same size, shape and colors (silver print on black) in fonts too small to read.
Skipped breakfast, went to Thai Smile for lunch. Though it is Saturday, they were on their weekday lunch menu. I wanted fried rice, which is good for settling my stomach if it's done the Thai way, but it wasn't on the menu. I asked one of the staff if shed spoke Thai (you never know anymore) and she did. So I asked in Thai what kind of fried rice they had. She brought out their full menu and read to me in Thai what the English said. Points for that. I went for the ข้าวผัดหมู. They had automatically put American iced tea with lemon in front of me when I sat down, I asked if she had Thai iced tea. "with milk?" she asked. Yup, that's the key word.
Real Thai iced tea was promptly delivered. The fried rice did not live up to that. It was made from short grained rice which had been cooked in oil instead of steamed. It was enough for two, in a big dish with a serving spoon. It was okay, but not what my tummy needed.
Back to the hotel, took my last pair of Immodium tablets, and faced the fact that going anywhere like the zoo or Joshua Tree was not a good idea. It was late, and colder than yesterday, and windier than yesterday. And I was not feeling 100%.
So I put on my coat and my photographer's hat, and went in search of the statue I'd seen when walking from the bus to the hotel, and the Amtrak bus stop. Because it's easy to get turned around here, especially after taking their free bus.
Found both. Took lots of photos of the statue and the carefully maintained cactus garden around it. The artist appears to be a bit of a hack, he left all the indentations in the metal from the mold process. But other than that it's impressive. Two local native women with baskets of something - chestnuts or ??
Found the bus stop, there was someone waiting for the local transit bus which is supposed to stop there every 20 minutes on weekends, but he had been there longer, It pulled up as I was walking back to the hotel.
Wanted to take some photos of the town, and hopped on the free bus, got off at what I thought was the other end of town. Lots of things caught my eye, including a piece of artwork which spouted water from long tubes mounted on swivels. Got some good phone video of that, still images didn't do it justice.
Got on another free bus (same route, different driver). They claim to run every 15 minutes, but it was closer to half an hour. I wanted to stop off at 7-11 to get food for tomorrow's trip, and diet Coke, because I was going through withdrawal, and Hard Rock & Amtrak only serve Pepsi.
As we pulled out of the spot, I saw the hotel was at the other end of the plaza. This made for a very long ride. But with the sun out, there was a better view than last night, and I saw that there were two supermarkets and a couple of drug stores which probably would have been a better choice. But I stayed with the plan.
Bought about $30 of stuff, and waited for the next free bus. Again, half an hour from the last one. And the driver taking a break, saying she hadn't had one all day.
I asked her to let me know when we got near the Hard Rock, and she said she would, but she didn't. I got off at that stop I had mentioned and walked the two blocks.
Drank some diet Coke, watched some football while playing online. Went downstairs expecting the bar to be showing the NFL game, but it was showing one screen of college bowl game, and two screens of Hard Rock's total waste of resources montage of unrelated clips, many of them simply repeated patterns, others from old movies, and some from old TV. Nothing from music videos. Go figure.
So instead of sitting at the bar I sat in the lounge where I could see the one screen, sort of. The design geniuses put the two POS terminals for the bar right under the middle screen, so the screen was half blocked almost all the time by the bartenders ringing things up.
There was some eye candy, but not enough to keep me there. Even after they switched to the NFL game, because I couldn't see it very well.
So, back upstairs, thought about ordering room service, instead had a banana and some mini donuts from 7-11, and the last of my honey roasted peanuts.
Watched the last of the NFL game, and concluded the Eagles need to rotate out their entire coaching staff. And maybe look into the game being fixed, because there were way too many uncaused fumbles and dropped passes by Eagles players.
That done, I switched to the UCLA-Nebraska game, in which UCLA showed how lousy special teams coaching can ruin a team's chances of winning.
Plans for tomorrow:
Up at 7:30
Bus stop by 8:50
Bus to Fullerton, train to Santa Barbara, bus to San Jose, and if that bus is early or on time, light rail home, otherwise taxi.