President Barrack Obama made a historic trip to our Coachella Valley to meet with the Chinese President Xi Yinping at Sunnylands. They discussed Green House emissions, Nuclear Programs and Cyber-security. Everything can’t be accomplished in one session of talks but they have made a start in communicating their concerns. Cyber-security is one of the main issues. China and the US are so connected with the trade relations that these issues need to be at the forefront in negotiation between the two Presidents. There has been much information on their meetings and possible resolutions in every form of media in the Desert so I won’t comment on that. I will talk about what the media do when a President arrives by plane in our Desert.
The Arrival of President Obama came on one of the hottest days so far this summer. He exited the plane and I am sure it felt like a furnace blast of heat as the temperature was above 112 degrees. He ran down the steps from the plane and mentioned something about a hat. He was greeted by local dignitaries Mayor Steve Pougnet, Mayor Richard Kite, Congressmen Raul Ruiz and Mark Takano, Governor Jerry Brown and Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Chairman Jeff Grubbe. One reporter hollered Mr. President and he turned and waved just before he got into the Presidential Limo.
The temperatures reached 117 on the photographers platform. Cell phones were overheating and cameras were hot in the sun. Media had to be in place over almost 2 hours before his arrival. Water was dispensed to everyone and they provided an air conditioned bus for temporary relief from the heat. One reporter was reported to have had to leave by ambulance because of overheating. The platform for cameras was filled, other press and photographers stood on the tarmac behind the fence waiting for the Presidents plane to arrive. Once the President left a few dignitaries stayed and were interviewed by TV cameras and press.
His departure was in the morning so it was cooler for media this time. Everyone was in place for a couple of hours prior to his departure. People lined the streets waiting for his limo to pass by. Lucky exiting passengers from another plane got to see Air-force 1 and take a few photos.I talked with others later that had their eyes to the sky to be able to see the plane fly overhead.
President Obama arrived and ran up the steps to the plane. Once he reached the top he did turn around and wave for a few seconds. He was squinting as he had to look into the sun. When the plane taxied to the runway someone said it was like being in Baghdad because of the sand it stirred up. You could barely see the plane before it took off.
The Presidential trip was not without some protestors. No one could get near Sunnylands as streets nearby were blocked off. Some protesters to the President lined the corner of Gerald Ford and Bob Hope. They took their flags and signs and walked as close as they could. Most were from Viet Nam but there were a few local people protesting other issues. Protests for President Xi Yinping were also seen around the Valley.
It was not all protests as there were other areas where people held signs in support of both Presidents and placards welcoming them to the Desert. Streets were lined with people wanting to get a glimpse of the President as he drove by. Parents brought their children to see his limo and took them to the airport to see Air-force 1. His visit here was a very important event.
Let us hope that some inroads were made in these meetings. The Desert and Sunnylands are a perfect place for high level discussions as there are also diversions and relaxation as some played golf. Many great things have come from former International meetings at Sunnylands over the years with Presidents and Kings and Queens that have come and worked out world problems there. This meeting will hopefully bring the Coachella Valley and its beauty to the world stage for tourism from China and other parts of the U.S.A.