2   I Have Arrived

The morning after two eventful days in Washington DC, it was time to board my United Airlines flight at Dulles Airport. This proved to be not quite uneventful. There is no manual check-in anymore at that airline's desk. Instead, the traveller is confronted by a row of check-in machines, each with an employee behind to explain how to use it. My advisor happened to give me false instructions, so the electronic reservation from back home was cancelled by the computer. It took tremendous diplomatic efforts to convince the supervisor of my legitimate travel request.

That having been accomplished, the rest of the trip to San Francisco went smoothly, with swift and efficient service on board. My landlady welcomed me with open arms when I eventually arrived at my forthcoming Berkeley residence.

On Saturday morning, after a good night's sleep, I ventured forth to regain familiarity with the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) Campus, the major point of interest for my two-month adventure trip. I did not expect much excitement on that initially f oggy day before Easter, but how wrong I was! The whole campus sizzled with events, as if all of Berkeley had decided that this was the day to congregate at UCB.

To mention just a few of the events: there was an Easter egg hunt and general children's entertainment festivity on the green grass lawns behind the Life Sciences building. Easter Bunnies were throwing eggs (of plastic, thankfully) everywhere on the big lawn, with all Berkeley's children, it seemed, screaming with delight and collecting eggs in big baskets. Happy parents and grannies accompanied them on the hunt and hunted in turn their offspring with ever clicking cameras. All in all, a delightful view to digest for a reborn photographer.

In one of the other classical Campus halls, Wheeler Hall, a seminar on geology was given to a large audience, as part of a weeklong conference. I managed to sneak in to get a healthy luncheon, served by an Indian caterer at nominal prices, and to be enjoyed whilst sitting outside the building on one of the numerous benches under the sun, which by then had chased the fog away.

Last but not least, the Indian community in the Bay Area, at least the younger generation, had decided to celebrate the traditional Indian spring festival (Holi) at Campus that day. Many eager UCB students joined the fun. The huge Lower Sproul Plaza was filled with hundreds and hundreds of youngsters who, accompanied by tremendously loud traditional Indian music, pranced about, egged on by a an enormous spray of various paints, issued from a water cannon sitting on the edge of the Plaza.

Initially I had planned an hour's photographic activity, to catch pictures of Campus buildings in the quiet of weekend hiatus. Instead, I spent six hours there without a calm moment and have more than 200 pictures to show for it. This was a positive start for my two-month sojourn, indeed!