College of the Redwoods, CA
Walking south though Eureka, the road led through residential neighbourhood before curving down to a low river plain. I followed the river south, up towards the hills. Eureka sits on a broad, flat plain along the coast, surrounded to the south and east by high hills, refuge of mountain lions, black bears and other things wild and lawless in the so-called Emerald Triangle of California’s pot-growing counties. Soon, the farmland gave way to high pasture land with spectacular views over the sea.
I was trying to get to the College of the Redwoods, where I figured it would be easy to meet someone who would take me in from the cold and rain. My map told me I could take a shortcut though the forest over a nearby hill, but near the hill’s apex, less than a half mile from the school, I knocked on a door and was told that no path existed, and if it did, this lady informed me curtly, ”I wouldn’t know how to find it”. I thought it amazing to find myself in a place where the need to navigate on foot had been so completely resolved.
I met Carly and her boyfriend, Josh, in the cafeteria, and Josh volunteered to host me on his roommate’s bed. I wandered through the campus handing out photos to students taking breaks from final exams. In particular, I found myself seeking out young women: in my comparison between Indian and American society, I had begun to feel as if the lifestyle of women in the two cultures would be of considerable mutual interest. This was the story I started to tell myself – as if there was something wrong with hanging out with beautiful girls.