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The Centre of the World pyramid, Felicity, CA
20th May 2008
The centre of the world is Felicity. Brush with Immigration.

Felicity is a tiny (5-house) town at the edge of California, inhabitied by at least one redneck (whom I met) and one very eccentric Frenchman.  The latter is the mayor of this town, and evidently has vast quantities of money and time. 

He has convinced the French geological survey that the centre of the world lies not in Paris, not at the intersection of the equator and the prime meridian, rather in his town.   The French bought this, and attended the very grand dedication ceremony (which I saw on the DVD).

Further to this, the mayor has installed a vast array of expensive granite plaques, detailing his passions:  the French Foreign Legion, the Korean War, the history of (French) aviation, the history of parachute jumping, and, most importantly, a history of humanity.

The latter is my connection.  My friend, the very smart and utterly delecatable Kristen, wrote the 400+ pages of the history of humanity. It's a few paragraphs on all the important parts of the development of mankind, from the big bang, through the Tigris and the Euphrates to Christ, to Caesar, to Shakespear. 

Kristen is an English grad from Emory University (one of the US's finest), and I am a complete hound for English these days (since living in America of course; and since studying other languages my desire for exactitide in my own has increased manifold), and therefore I inspected her work with a fine tooth comb. I found a couple of factual, typographical and grammatical errors.  I'm such bastard.


I was intending to sleep under the stars tonight, in the desert, but after reading the plaques for several hours and it still being only teatime, I decided to push on to San Diego.  On the way I was stopped twice by the Customs and Border Patrol, who had several temporary roadblocks on the freeway.  The first guys immediately spied my front plate (a Union Jack flag, not a California plate, remember) and asked right away of my citizenship.  He asked what I am doing in America, and to see my visa.  I chose my answer and the page to show him carefully:  I said I was working and showed him my (still-valid and fully legal, but in a grey area - see my second diary entry) I94, which is the crappy piece of card the immigration gives one upon entry into the country and which one must keep hold of until depareture.... because apparently computer-readable passports are insufficient.  He waved me through. 

The second encounter was with a sniffer dog, I guess checking for illegals in my boot (trunk).  The Interstate-8 is literally just 5 minutes from Mexico, so perhaps this was the reason for the spot-checks, although if I was trying to sneak in to the US I would not then drive or hitch along the border that I'd just crossed, rather I would head away from it.


Now I am in Ocean Beach in San Diego, in a huge anonymous hostel that I don't really like so far.


Addendum to my Radio comments:  Mexican radio is very prolific down by the border.  The pop music is just as bland and mass-mastered as pop from the UK or US, but the traditional music is qute good.  The commercials are hilarous.  I do not like the sound of Spanish, in fact I think it sounds stupid, and these commerical sounded exactly like the Fast Show's 1990s spoof TV station Channel 9 and its Specialis Reportos ("Bono estente!"

Next: Two nights and a day on Ocean Beach, San Diego
Previous: A sizzling day in Phoenix

Diary Photos

The Centre of the World pyramid, Felicity, CA

Panorama of the plaques, Felicity, CA

Kristen`s introduction, Felicity, CA

Kristen`s work, Felicity, CA

View from the church hill, Felicity, CA

Part of the Eiffel Tower, Felicity, CA

Railroad station, Felicity, CA

Felicity, CA

Border Patrol spot check, I-8, CA

The Ocean Beach hostel, CA

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