I flew in relatively early — the first plenary isn’t until tomorrow night, and the tracks and sessions don’t begin until Friday — to give myself the luxury of being settled in when the conference started, and (most importantly) to attend an unofficial dinner tomorrow before the plenary. Rather than struggle to get here in time for all of that on the 4th, I came in today w/o worrying about the time. (Oh, the tomorrow’s plenary speaker is Bill McKibben.)

Claremont itself is an extremely well manicured place; signs of the devastating California drought are not widely apparent in the lawns and gardens along Indian Hill Blvd. The town is very Middle-to-Upper-Middle class. The downtown area is busy with many mid-scale restaurants that are not franchises. Even at 9:00 on a Wednesday, they are quite busy. Not only a Wednesday, but a Wednesday after the semester is over: The Claremont Colleges are a significant presence in the area, although even here it seems doubtful that the undergraduates would bring sufficient monies into the area to maintain the downtown restaurant scene. So the steady traffic of customers extends well beyond just a student base.