Sunday, March 21, 2010

Palm Desert Visit

Palm Desert is beautiful this time of the year. The boulevards are a riot of color, the mountains snow-capped and the sky clear and blue. Although it's high season and a tennis tournament was underway, the
streets didn't seem crowded last week while I was visiting with some friends from Winnipeg.

They are staying at the Hampton Inn/Suites and got me a room there too which was quite comfortable.
Linda, Pat and Erna have a ball during their month-long visit. Of course, they have a way of having fun no matter what. Pat cuts every kind of coupon and watches carefully for "deals" so she is always pulling a dollar-off or free something out of her purse. Erna does all the driving and gets plenty of friendly back-seat help from Linda who is an accomplished map reader. At the moment they eschew GPS because they like maps and Linda enjoys reading them and navigating. They love Palm Desert and the freedom for a while from having to dress in heavy clothing for even the briefest exposure outdoors. How liberating to just walk out the door dressed in indoor clothing without giving it a thought. We Californians take so much for granted.

Our conversations range all over the place during these visits but of course we spend time catching up on news of old school friends, neighborhood friends and Winnipeg news in general. At this age, we spend more than a little time comparing our health problems and expressing gratitude that we are still "above ground" and able to get around. It's a highlight of my year.

Fishing is a major interest for this trio and during the summer months, as much time as possible is spent with a line in the water. Erna told me they have even devised a method of fishing during pouring rain by placing the rods in a spot visible from the car. They sit under cover running outdoors only when a rod is bobbing. Mostly they catch pickerel (which makes my mouth water to say the word) and catch and release. The fishing is still good apparently because of this wise conservation method adhered to by most ardent fisherpeople.

A great treat when we were growing up was Winnipeg Goldeye. I have fond memories of nibbling away at this delicacy while spending the night with Linda at their families cottage at Matlock. Goldeye in its natural state apparently has soft and unappealing flesh (I've never seen it in it's natural state). Fishermen discovered that the flesh could be firmed up by soaking in brine, poaching and then smoking the fish in oak wood, apple wood and other woods. The photo above is a Flickr photo with permission to copy. The smoked fish became a fashionable gourmet dish after the turn of the century. According to Wikipedia, Woodrow Wilson and the Prince of Wales were fans.


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