Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quick stops in San Francisco and Monterey

On our way home from Thanksgiving in Sacramento, my parents and I stopped by San Francisco. I couldn't decide where I wanted to go and as we drove through china town my mom and I decided we wanted to stop and shop. So we did. I got some cool stuff and some silly stuff. I wanted more but either I couldn't afford it, I didn't have room to take it home, I didn't need it, or I couldn't decide on which one...usually all of the above all at once. They have the prettiest dishes and jewelry boxes. The only thing I knew I wanted in San Francisco was crab. There's a lot to be said for having seafood fresh. Even if it's flown in that's not the same. I haven't had lobster since I visited Maine and I don't eat crab outside of California. They haul it up that day and boil it on the wharf in these big pots of seawater. The crabs don't mind. Doesn't it look like they're just in a big jacuzzi?
We ate about two minutes. I wanted more but I had to settle for an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli's. The highlight of the night was really mom getting scared by the bushman and then kissed by a stranger as we waited to cross the street.
The next day we headed over to Monterey to check out the new seahorse exhibit at the aquarium. We stopped by a few of the other exhibits on our way out.
Once upon a time I was on the cover of a magazine silhouetted against this tank of moon jellies...
...that was the year I was a T.A. for Dr. Braithwaite. Possibly two of the happiest summers in my life, once as a student and again as the T.A. I lived in Monterey, the days started with scriptures and Aesop's fables, some days were spent collecting critters and beasts in tide pools starting at 5am, others were spent dissecting things or studying plankton in microscopes. Occasionally Dr. B sent me out to glue numbers on Owl Limpets for his research. All the lectures were interesting and given to the sound of ocean waves out our lab window and the gurgling aquarium tanks. There wasn't any homework or tests and we spent the evenings exploring the beaches or the farmer's market in town. Everyone got an A.
Before I left the aquarium I had to walk around to the side and take a picture of my old lab. Our classroom was in the yellow building in the center. We had a bucket that hung out our window to the ground where the divers would come directly up from the beach and fill it with animals. They'd pull it to ring a bell in the classroom and we'd haul it in. Once or twice we slept out on that beach. Those were the days...
Click on the picture to enlarge it and get the full effect of how amazing this place is.
Before the sunset I wanted to try a new hike. We always tend to go to the same old places. I found a book in my parents house on day hikes around Monterey and I picked out this one. It was to the summit of Jack's Peak, the highest point in Monterey county. It's just over a 1000 ft and it was less than a mile long. We got some geocaches (and maybe some poison oak) and enjoyed this nice view from the top. I expected a little more view. I'd forgotten that in California a lot of the summits are covered in trees. Back in Utah they're mostly bald rock on top. The colors were even more golden in person. I could live here. I even found a piece of property for sale down the road. I was thinking some of my friends and I could start a commune. Like this one.

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