I am sitting on a balcony in Avalon. That sounds good. Indeed it is good. Avalon is the picturesque little seaport of Catalina Island, California. It is currently 5:15 pm and the temperature is currently 63 degrees, according to my OSX weather widget, which I have just switched to local weather, having duly noted that the weather back home is just above freezing. Yes, that’s better.

Location is everything. We are perched on a little balcony overlooking a hidden courtyard at the end of a dead end street called “Sunny Lane”. Sounds contrived, or (worse yet) quaint, but feels like the whole array of little houses have sort of just grown, organically, out of the hillside. A little hummingbird is eying my Tsingtao beer as I write this, and twenty five feet below me a fountain burbles and some younger types sit in around it and make plans for the evening. There are more rooflines here than could reasonably be accommodated by the most cubist of cubist painters. In the distance, two blocks downhill, is the sea, and between me and it are more balconies, telephone wires, and absurdly spindly palm trees. Birds are staking their claims to territories as the sun begins its descent, and smells of steaks in passageways mix with damp fragrances from flowers I cannot identify.

Sure, I could be on Catalina Island in any number of ways, but this seems best. None of the more secluded resorts would afford the intimacy of this spot, central but hidden from view. The evening settles down, and the birds begin to sing.


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