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Adrian Florido and I have been out and about these past couple of weeks, reporting from a different neighborhood every day.
My shoes are even more torn than when we started and I spent more time than I ever wanted to in Starbucks around San Diego, using their Internet connection.
Along the way, people were extremely generous, allowing us strangers into their homes to hear their stories and photograph them (and often their walls, cars, pets, or anything else that got into my sightline).
I took a lot of frames that didn’t make it into the stories. So now that we’ve concluded that project — at least for now — here are some more of my visual notes, sorted into neighborhoods, starting with what was my favorite stop along the way: San Pasqual.
The San Pasqual Valley is a fascinating place. Like so many rural communities, it’s geographically large, but is, in fact, a small, close-knit community.
While we were there, we talked with a number of people who had been affected by the 2007 wildfires, and even saw the remaining rubble of the country store. It wasn’t the first time I met its managers, Don and Nancy Chrystal. In 2007, as Will Carless and I reported from San Diego’s backcountry during the wildfires, we encountered them picking through the rubble of the country store. The moment I met them last week, the memories of that day came rushing back.
I knew that there was a San Diego neighborhood named Nestor, but I didn’t know it was the small enclave adjacent to Imperial Beach. I guess I should join the club.
In Nestor, we found a community that didn’t necessarily even know its own name and development that had churches running into industry, running into residential, running into nurseries.
I actually traveled to Nestor twice that day — the second time to check out the South Bay Drive In. If you go exploring Nestor yourself, make some good time at the end of the day to catch two movies for $7.
In Linda Vista, we did a lot of walking the streets, looking for interesting folks to talk to. But our most interesting encounter of the day didn’t come from the streets — it came inside the double-wide mobile home of Janice Eisner, a mother of 10, who said of Linda Vista, “This is like my little oasis.”
In Rolando, we encountered the biggest albatross of our reporting. We wanted to find out what was under the covers of this massive thing in someone’s driveway. We knocked on the door but no one was around. Guesses anyone?