Maybe, baby. In any case, it seems I’ve been discovered by a whole swarm of one-appearance gnats who rush in, rush out and rudely don’t even comment. Poo on you! So at this point, let me insert a heartfelt greeting to all the West Coast homies in Cali who’ve been stopping in. (end fake valley ghetto speak)
I love California. I suppose it’s genetic. Hoards of Germans love it there, too. I fought it for a long time, but now I’m willing to admit that the three years we lived in Monterey were easily the best years I spent in the States. If it didn’t sit in hell, I think my favorite city would be Sacramento. It’s so beautiful, it’s like a friggin’ mirage! Come to think of it, with the temperatures the way there are around there, perhaps it is a mirage. San Francisco turned me into a late hippie and made me sing Scott Mackenzie. Just couldn’t help it. We lived near San Jose when Terminator 2 was filmed there, though of course the only star was the Cyberdyne building which we used to pass on the way to the mall (ha!). I remember the smell of dead skunk around San Luis Obispo. In the summer, you REALLY wanted a car with air conditioning because rolling down the window was simply not an option. Gilroy assaulted your nose with a smell of a different kind. It’s famous for its garlic fields, especially the aptly named elephant garlic. And literally down the street -ok, the highway- from Monterey sits Castroville, where a very young Marilyn Monroe was once crowned Artichoke Queen.
We were in Monterey for the annual Taste of Monterey twice, and twice I wondered why the Rose and Crown (or Mucky Duck) insisted on serving a horrible lamb stew that was never available the rest of the year. I drank my first Greek mocha at the Greek festival. It tasted like ground socks, but now it’s part of any good Greek dinner for me. On Alvarado Street, we saw Dracula in a gorgeous movie theater with a red curtain and gold trim, truly an experience. Our first apartment was on the hill with a view of the harbor and a morning serenade by the seals that stank up the place and delighted tourists and residents alike (they did!). One morning, I thought the seals must be right outside our window, but it turned out our neighbors were procreating with the window open.. haha!
I used to ride my bike down Jefferson on school mornings, wrapped in layers that would come off as the day progressed. The afternoon would find me walking the bike up Private Bolio – yup, I’m a wimp. No way was I going to try to ride up that hill. The effect of early morning coolness and midday sunburn was actually exacerbated when we later lived on Fort Ord. The first stretch of highway invariably disappeared in a thick fog, and as you drove towards Monterey, you’d suddenly leave the fog behind you like a nebulous wall and emerge into bright sunshine.
I have a lot of memories of Monterey, seemingly more than of the other places we’ve been, and somehow, they all seem good. Once, a seagull pooped on me in a playground. Our Katermännchen followed us home up the hill after class one evening and stayed, falsely assuming we’d keep feeding him hotdogs and tuna. Schmusi’s kittens were born in our closet, all but Bär who was the first flying kitten ever. When we canoed the bay with friends and I flipped the canoe, I remembered the instructions we’d been taught to right ourselves, and the rest of the trip was awesome, with sea otters floating by and seals occupying people’s boats to bask in the sun.
If you’ve paid attention to this point, you might now say, but what about Southern California?! To that, I can only say that I’ve driven in or around Los Angeles once in my lifetime, and that was plenty. Why am I even thinking about this so much today? Can’t really say. Perhaps it’s something in the quality of light outside today.
Then again, maybe you’re wondering what the heck I have been doing if not blogging. Well, curious little kitties, I’ve worked on my Welsh, I’ve spent a week traversing the area around Caerphilly, planned the next trip to Hamburg, celebrated my birthday, and done a few other things that are really none of your business. 🙂 I’m still thinking about a post about the Wales trip, but in the meantime, feel free to check out the pics on Flickr.
And you, dearest readers and darling gnats?