A Quick Opinion: It doesn’t take long to get back to normal

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A Winters Express opinion column

By Charley Wallace
Publisher Emeritus

After a week of sleeping in my own bed, I almost feel normal again. Someone will have to explain to me: Why can I travel east across the globe, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and be ready to go, but coming home, heading west, it takes me a week to get my internal clock to reset? Catching up on eight hours of time difference shouldn’t be that hard, but for me it takes at least a week.

I grew up in the big City of Winters, but spent my summers working on area farms, just like most of my friends. I don’t claim to be an expert on farming, like some of my schoolmates, the Pedes, Martins, Ramoses or Romingers, but I can tell the difference between a walnut and almond tree. I like to joke that I’ve thrown more apricots than most people will eat in their lifetimes.

The best part of an overseas trip is when we get to visit a local farmer and share a meal with the family. A few years ago, I was amazed to see potatoes growing at 12,000 feet in Peru. But, there were hundred of farmers using animals to pull their plows, living off the land that their ancestors farmed before them — just like in Winters.

Looking at the rocky soil in Morocco, I wasn’t sure anyone could farm the land, but it is a big country. There were areas with great soil — all that was needed was water. Our guide told us you can buy good farmland cheap, and if you find water, you are rich. We visited a few farms that had found water and they were growing everything from tomatoes, eggplant, wheat, peaches, apricots, figs and a lot of olive trees.

At local markets, you could buy anything from live animals, eggs and animal feed, to produce. Most towns had a market once a week, with some of the farmers making the rounds, just like here. Locals would travel to the markets for their weekly shopping. Buses had racks on top to carry people, and whatever they bought that day, back home.

Morocco has the High Atlas Mountain Range, at around 14,000 feet, that gets rain and snow. It provides water for thousands of acres of farmland and cities far and wide. A lot of Morocco is covered in cobblestones, which locals refer to as desert. Riding in a train from Marrakesh to Casablanca, there were miles and miles of this cobblestone desert. No amount of water was going to help this landscape.

Flying back into Sacramento, you notice all of the flooded rice fields. I read that  rice farmers were going to have to let their land go fallow this year, but I guess not around Sacramento. When our Moroccan guide was talking about cheap land and then finding water, it reminded me ofCentral Valley farmers who bought up cheap desert land and then signed water contracts with the State of California, making them rich. Now that water is limited or non-existent, they are crying about their plight and pumping water that causes the ground to subside, forever.

But I digress.

One of the advantages of traveling around election time is that I didn’t have to watch the political commercials, or empty the junk mail in my mailbox everyday. English language newspapers are hard to find overseas and the English television stations broadcast world news, which is almost as depressing as ours.

Safe travels and I might add, it is good to be back.

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