I hate to travel. Always have. Getting to the airport on time, the check-in process, being sandwiched in with dozens of complete strangers on a plane, for hours – and don't even get me started on hotel booking screw-ups, language barriers, currency confusion, weird food and digestion problems, questionable washroom facilities, guarding my personal safety and belongings in a strange place...ugh! I did it for work but only because I had to, to make money.
Then, along came Google Earth and Google Street View. Now, I can safely stroll down a street in Sydney, Paris, Toronto, Bogota, London, Venice, Reykjavik, Moscow, Beverly Hills, Hawaii, Rome, Brooklyn, Madrid...I can get up-close and personal with the CN Tower, Uluru, the Eiffel Tower, Alcatraz Prison, the Devil's Tower (which, oddly enough, always seems to give me a craving for mashed potatoes), the Burj Khalifa, the pyramids at Giza...just so many wonderful hours of enjoyment on my 27" HD monitor – without having to worry about negotiating my way through sweaty, smelly crowds, getting lost or mugged, getting sick after contracting God knows what, or having to pee in a hole in the ground because there are no toilets.
When I have the time, I like to just wander around in the middle of wherever, using Street View to check out the apartment buildings, houses and front yards, the cars people drive, the neighbourhood businesses, the people walking down the street or riding on their bikes. A slice of life, a moment captured in time, in another city, somewhere in the world.
Well, earlier today, I got a glimpse of what life is like at a home in the Lucerne Valley desert, on North Shore Drive, northeast of San Bernardino, CA. A man in a lawn chair, lounging in the shade under the trees in front of his house, while his big, black dog lies flat on his side, baking in the midday sun. I'll betcha he's got a few good stories to tell!