Sunday, March 3, 2013

Leaving Monterey

Monterey Coast
 It’s hard to describe Monterey from a fresh perspective. I have been here so many times, it is all expected; the knarled tree trunks with branches leaning into the wind, fog swirling slowly between the buildings, the bark of sea lions, the crowds of people leaning over the docks watching the sea lions wallow (wallowing must be a word invented for sea lions on land), otters floating around on their backs with tasty treats on their tummies with seagulls trying to convince the otters to share, and everywhere is the hum of foreign languages.

The Coast Guard Jetty
 When Joe finished his SCUBA class we walked down to the fisherman’s wharf and shared a sandwich. I can only take so much of the hustle-bustle of the wharf shopping district. A great alternative is The Taste Of Monterey, a nice wine tasting store at the end of the pier. It doubles as a cheap way to sit indoors overlooking the ocean. Just buy a 9-15 dollar glass of your favorite wine and settle into a leather chair in front of a 100 foot-long wall of plate-glass. Hint; you have to pay for the tasting, but if you want to buy a glass of wine they will usually let you try the wine you think you’ll order for free.
Back to the motel for Joe’s nap and more writing. The head instructor, Dick Motz, treated us to dinner at the Fish Hopper, just underneath The Taste Of Monterey. Very good food, but very expensive. I had a cup of clam chowder (clam chowder is a west coast specialty—a creamy white concoction with little chunks of clams and potatoes. On the east coast it’s red), and fish-and-chips (an American coastal favorite of fried fish with tarter sauce and crunchy french-fries). It was delicious. The wine was standard, but good.
So today Joe is back in the ocean as I write this. He is freezing cold, but pretending is doesn’t bother him. I’m toasty warm in CafĂ© La Strada, sipping a soy latte. We head back home this afternoon to our little house and cat.

Between Dives

In May we will be going to Milan to see Gianluca, Egle, and Veronica, so until then . . . ciao!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Monterey and Carmel

I was telling someone we were going to Monterey this weekend. They said they couldn’t wait for the blog. Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that! I never blog for our local trips. I think it’s because when I started writing “Dashing Bold Adventure” years ago, my readers were friends and family. Now my blog is popular in India, Russia, Italy, England, Tunisia, Canada, Mexico, Central America, United Arab Emirates, and more.

So here we are in Monterey Bay in central California. As soon as we checked into our hotel, Joe and I drove over to Carmel-By-The-Sea. First stop was our favorite wine bar, Andre’s Bouchee. I had a lovely glass of Silvestri Syrah while chatting it up with the French bartender. Next was window shopping. Joe stood on the sidewalk with all of the other husbands while I wandered through the boutiques. Two thousand dollar cowboy boots? Fifteen thousand dollar chandeliers? How about some scrumptious looking pastries? Priceless. 

Joe settled into Aw Shucks for a beer while I continued to wander and snap photos. I bought a couple of souvenirs for our friends in Italy. We’ll be spending some time in their home in Milan in May (to say we’re excited would be an understatement). When I hunted Joe down, he said we have to go to Munuka’s for a glass of Spanish wine and tapas. He'd just met the chef and got his card. Okay. It was a fun little Spanish restaurant tucked away in a courtyard.

From there we followed the directions from a local to an Italian restaurant with a terrace. It took awhile, but we found it and climbed the stairwell to the crowded rooftop terrace. We sat snuggled up on a love seat and listened to the hum of conversations, and stared up at the stars. Time to go back to Monterey.
This morning I woke up alone. Joe had left at 5:30 in the morning for the Coast Guard Jetty. He and Dick had a class of four student SCUBA divers to throw in the ocean (the reason for our being here).  I joined him at a more reasonable hour, 9:00. The weather is unusually warm and clear, though I see clouds coming this way. The students struggle to remain calm as they shoulder their gear over thick cold-water wetsuits. It’s too warm for working out in a 7 millimeter wetsuit while instructors critique your every move. The waves crash against the rock jetty below as they make their way down to the small beach. I’m not a cold water diver, so I’m off to Starbucks. (where I later found out they could hack my address book via public WiFi!)