I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all.
I can feel bits of my brain falling away like wet cake.
The rulebook seems to suggest that the desert across the river counts as adjacent for settlement placing. Is that correct? (In the rule booklet, they actually use flowers, not desert.). What about for the oasis extra action?
I assume you're looking at the example with river spaces X'd out on page 4. Note the caption: "This illustration is an example of a mandatory action where the player cannot build next to their own settlement." It's showing a case where the player does not have adjacency. In that example, the player can build a new settlement on any hex across the river exactly because those spaces are not adjacent to the existing settlements.