Reveling in the free life outside of California
Last week, I wrote about the beginning of my journey, driving to Boise, Idaho from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. I subsequently spent most of the week exploring the city, where I enjoyed myself very much. I think I would have liked Boise in any event, but what made the trip so eye-opening was being reminded what life is like in a state that hasn't destroyed itself by embracing squalor and crime while imposing totalitarian restrictions on its law-abiding citizens.
My first impression was that Boise, compared to California, is incredibly clean. I didn't see any random garbage. The streets weren't full of potholes. I didn't see even one homeless person — maybe because the weather is cold this time of year, but also, I suspect, because Boise doesn't cater to them.
California embraces having indigent addicts running rampant; pays them $600 a month in assistance; and now, in San Francisco, is also planning on giving them their chosen set of drugs and a "safe" place to shoot them up in a "navigation center."
Stores in Boise are clean and, obviously, have not been picked through by emboldened shoplifters, as is the case in the Bay Area. I didn't see anyone with an open car trunk, selling random packaged goods lifted from the local grocery or pharmacy, which is, again, a common sight at home.
People were friendly, not wary, in Boise. What a contrast to home! It actually took some getting used to.
And then there was the whole masking issue. Every time I left my cottage, I felt as if, maybe, I'd forgotten to put on some crucial item of clothing. I eventually got used to that bare-faced feeling, and, I must say, not once in the whole trip did I put on a mask.
People smiled everywhere I went, and they engaged in friendly conversations, too. I could tell they were smiling because, for the most part, I could see their faces. Some stores and businesses enforced a policy making their workers wear masks, but that was it. Nobody drove with a mask on, and few walked around wearing them.
Can I tell you how pleasurable it was to exercise at the local branch of my gym, without the wet, steamy muzzle? I look forward to the fact that in California, starting today, the mask mandate "expires." Would that the local "vaccine mandate" went with it!
As for those things I thought would make my Bay Area home hard to leave, to my surprise, I found that most of those things had come to Boise, too. This has become a much smaller world.
Within a couple of blocks of my little cottage, I found an Asian grocery, an African grocery, and a Turkish/Mediterranean grocery. All well stocked, too. And as was the case with everything I saw, they were all spotlessly clean.
Here in California, we expect every ethnic store to be dirty and disorganized. I've never understood why.
While in Boise, which leftists view as a bastion of narrow-minded Americana, I ate pho and Indian food, which were both quite good. Given more time, I'm sure I'd find even more such pleasures. There's a proud Basque history in Boise, and my first stop when I arrived was a delicious little Basque store and restaurant, on the Basque block downtown.
I went to the art museum, which, in this university town, was heavily invested in being the face of Japanese internment in WW2, of the indigenous population, of the Mexican immigrant. Comments left on the website warned that the museum had a political bent. Still, after living in the Bay Area, I had the feeling that the liberal university town element coexists peacefully with more conservative locals. Most of the people I talked with were either apolitical with an open mind or solidly to the right of center.
Immigration from California has bolstered housing prices considerably in Boise. In fact, there are many realtors advertising themselves as "specialists" in relocation from California and other blue states.
While I'm not sure it's the place for us, Boise is a possibility. It is the first place I've looked, but I'm pretty sure that if things in my state get any more stupid, expensive, and ugly (our taxes are very ugly!), it'll be time to find some alternative. Not Texas, either. I know it's trendy these days, but I can't bring myself to consider it.
This is a wide-open country, and I want to see more of it. I hope to find some place to dig in for the duration that combines good cultural opportunities; a thriving economy; lower taxes; decent medical care; and far, far less of blue-state politics. I know I'm not alone thinking this way. That's why a U-Haul rental in California is so very hard to come by, and reportedly outrageously expensive.