Glendale, California (just a tad northeast of Los Angeles and right next to Burbank) was very different. The people there are truly brilliant or even if they are not brilliant, they hope and aspire to be. The culture there is rich and diverse and full of art and singing and life, busy, busy, busy. There is a sense that people are only important if they can get you something or somewhere. Hope is very high as is faith and drama and never have I seen so many people hoping to be discovered. I jammed with some folks on Sunset strip and wondered why everyone makes a big deal about it- studios are much bigger and cleaner elsewhere. Great musicians! No parking. Very expensive place, though, in many ways. I found myself alone though surrounded by scenery and people. I guess I like open spaces and time alone to think. Unique experience. Onward to Lakeland, Florida (half way between Tampa and Orlando). Here is where I hang my hat now. It is a big city with small town feel only Southern. There is a mix of snowbird (retired folks who come down to avoid winter and fly back north when spring comes), transplants and natives (of which I have maybe met 20 or so). It has a blend of redneck and non-redneck and I have never seen so many people driving trucks and large SUVs in my life. Inland enough to avoid most tropical storms, it is lovely year round weather, all things considering. Mosquitoes will about kill you and many more kinds of bugs are here than I’ve ever seen in my life. However, the non-fragrant flowers and tropical plants are colorful and amazing year round. And I get a kick out of seeing alligators in every lake. For that reason, you only swim in pools here. Big Bible belt here and you can find a church about anywhere. The best friends I’ve met here were actually old friends from up north. Funny thing really, most folks have their little groups established and you just can’t seem to get in. Bustles of activity and many people would rather go broke than miss a year of Disney annual passes. Large (hundreds of families) home school here, so there is a lot of support for that here. I need to go back to a couple places I missed on my travel reminiscences. I spent two summers at Beechwood Lake Camp in Bloomfield, Indiana, which is in southern rural Indiana. It’s beauty and clever trickery of the imaginative road designs boggles the mind. It is a place you would love to relax in but always are compelled to work in. There is peace and calm there. You don’t go there for the intensive busyness or intellectual conversations (no offense) but for stimulating natural beauty, getting back to nature and Spiritual roots. What amazing people are there! So loving and welcoming! On to Johnson City, Tennessee on my next installment.