Monday, June 23, 2008

Pocotello Idaho to Salt Lake City Utah

monday, june 23rd. writing this on the bus, somewhere between pocatello and salt lake city.

we met up with katie (from missoula montana) and max (from vancouver, who left us in olympia to collect katie) at the unitarian church in pocatello idaho. there are lots of churches in pocatello, it was a very quiet sunday in the town, and apparently there are lots of mormons - some who, according to the locals, still practice the traditional mormon lifestyle. the unitarians offered a wonderful potluck dinner selection, and i consumed noodle salad, vegetables, rice & lentils, salad, tomatoes, fruit salad, dried apricots, at a table with two former californias who reminisced, with much relish, their younger days in the bay area and berkeley. they miss the diversity of culture (pocatello is predominantly white) and the vibrant activist communities, but they've found a home with the unitarians and appreciate the affordable housing prices in the valley town.

three representatives from the corporate media, the idaho state journal ( interviewed max and nita, and we awakened monday morning to a wonderful front page article and photo of john, our driver, underneath the bus cleaning the radiator.

we were billeted, after dinner and a viewing of 'who's afraid of the little yellow schoolbus' (about the 1993 caravanistas who endured a hunger strike for 23 days prior to the bus' release by american authorities), at two or three different places, including the church. max and i opted for a floor in sarah's basement suite, and two young fellows from the church (casey and garrett) also joined us. we chatted, for a while, about how much fun the caravan is and they're all intent on fundraising and saving their pennies so they can join next year. (i almost wrote 'so they can join us next year' and then realized that it's highly unlikely i'll be able to afford the time and money, unfortunately). i (being the elder by many years) was able to sleep on sarah's memory foam floor mattress and was awakened in the night by her rather frenzied young kitty-cat who was intent on running madly about from room to room. in the morning max said the cat jumped on his face, twice, but he was able to get some decent sleep regardless.

sarah, our billeter, works for walmart. she's been there for four years. she earns $5.25 an hour taking portrait photos. minimum wage in idaho is $6.35 (or thereabouts, can't quite remember exactly) an hour. hurray for walmart, champions of social justice and women's right to an independent lifestyle and opportunities to travel with the caravan to cuba.

max and i walked a few blocks to the church for a wonderful breakfast of scrambled eggs and veggies and coffee and toast. again i guiltily confess my indulgence - mostly in the veggie and bread component, of which i'm not sure the ingredients .... i hope the suffering animals will forgive me.

hazel wants to write something now ......

Margaret and I - the senior caravanistas - were grateful to spend the night with Mary
Eng, a local Unitarian, and enjoy the luxury of proper beds. Mary has a Chinese husband (her roots are variously Russian, Italian and English) and the family pet is a Husky dog. I made internet contact for the first time in 4 days with friends and family from the UK-the copy editor of my book (Three months in Nepal) wants to know more about what I am doing and my colleague in Kathmandu wants a full submission for the anti-war production we are taking to the International Theatre festival there in November entitled Eloquent Protest - we are one of 19 companies accepted from 70 applicants it seems. A enewsletter from the Cuba Solidarity Campaign in London informs me that the new Mayor of London Boris Johnson (an unbelievably awful choice to replace Ken Livingstone) has refused permission for the CSC to take part in the annual RISE festival - an important anti-rascist festival which takes place annually in London - worse he has redesignated the festival as a community rather than an anti-rascist festival! Unity,, the white collar union who provides office space for the CSC has pulled their funding for the festival. Johnson the mindless joker who referred to black people as piccaninies with water melon smiles - in jest you understand- has only been in office a few weeks- Londoners you have been warned!

click here for photos from pocotello idaho to salt lake city utah.