From Jungle to Desert

After two weeks in Ecuador, DonQui sets off on the third leg of his around the world trip. Next stop Southern California. 

It is a long two day journey: canoe back up the Cuyabeno, car to Coca where he stays overnight, and then three flights in quick succession — Coca to Quito, Quito to Miami, and then on to Los Angeles. He only just makes the connection in Miami thanks to long queues at security and US immigration.

Hiring a car in LA, DonQui drives off towards the Mojave desert.

His first destination is Sacred Sands at the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park

DonQui is more than pleased with his accommodation which is quite a contrast to roughing it in Amazonia.

Joshua Tree National Park is breathtakingly beautiful.

The iconic joshua trees look like a cross between a cactus and palm tree. They are in fact yuccas, which DonQui learns are somewhat bizarrely related to asparagus.

The rock formations dotted across the desert landscape are as impressive as the trees…

… none more so than the other-worldly skull rock.

The small town of Joshua Tree is very pleasant with an artsy, alternative vibe. DonQui finds souvenir shops selling crystals and incense underneath posters advertising spiritual retreats, yoga, sound healings and other sorts of new agey stuff.

The entrance to the Joshua Tree Saloon looks as if a bus load of hippies pulled up several decades ago and stayed. Quite probably they did.

Inside the saloon DonQui feels as if he has entered a movie set with a couple of characters from central casting making good use of the pool table.

DonQui settles in for a couple of hours to watch the locals and enjoy some very good food and beer.

DonQui had expected the desert nights to be cold but his arrival is timed with an unseasonal cold snap with high winds. As he leaves the saloon he is more than a little shocked to find it is snowing. This is not exactly what he had been expecting.