||[17 Aug 2005|10:08pm]
Maybe I should take this time to justify my previous entry -- the one with the pictures, that is...
I flew out to San Jose, Ca on the 30th of July, and stayed with some family of mine (who we luckily got back into close contact with a few months beforehand). It was fantastic, being that they happen to live in Royal Oaks, which is a community just outside of Watsonville, Prunedale, and such cities of that sort. I ended up being able to stay until August 9th. In that time, I got a taste for their FRESH (and believe me, it's a big deal when you live in the Midwest) produce and seafood, as well as the culture and a general feel of why exactly I've always dreamed of moving out there.
Originally, I'll admit, when the plane was touching down, I was looking out the window at the neighboring mountains and the hills, and I was like, "uhm... Everything's brown!" Needless to say, my friends (I have a few that also happen to live in that area) never happened to mention the fact that the grass is brown when it's not raining in the winter. So, I spent the first two days bitching to myself about that, and then, of course, there was the sea fog. That's right, no one mentioned that either, which was definitely something to get used to as well.
Eventually, I got over it... And how cold the weather was by the ocean, and things got easier. I just wished that I had brought with me more than one hoodie and some better clothes that could be layered. However, I guess I should take the time to state, for those of you who may not know... Inland, it's a hell of a lot warmer. (Royal Oaks is only about four miles from the ocean.)
But anyway... Here's a quick run-down of the shit that I happened to do:
Saturday: Unpacked a little, and later ended up going to Pacific Grove (just past Monterey) and watching the Feast of Lanterns, which is this interesting, annual pageant of sorts that they have.
Sunday: Sat around the house with my Aunt and Uncle and hoped that time would go by quick enough that my cousins would finally come back home.
Monday: I met up with a friend of mine, whom I've talked to for the past six-and-a-half years (online), and we drove down Highway 1 to Big Sur. I highly recommend this long drive!!
Tuesday: Went to Monterey to visit both the Naval Post-Graduate School (NPS), and the Defense Language Institute (DLI). I thought this was interesting, just because I happen to be rather patriotic, and I thought it was awesome to see where my uncle had worked and whatnot. (He retired from the Navy with 28 years under his belt.)
Wednesday: My uncle, aunt and I went to Salinas to the Steinbeck Museum, which was very interesting... Even for those who haven't the slightest idea as to who he was. (I never got the pleasure of having to read anything he had written in high school.)
Thursday: My cousin's husband, Jason took me to Cannery Row in Monterey, as well as the aquarium. Cheryl, my cousin, happens to work there, so we got in for free and it was fantastic. I highly suggest that anyone who goes should check out the jellies and the sea otters! And, also, if you're looking for tourist-like gifts, Cannery Row has a ton of shops.
Friday: My cousin and I got pedicures, went shopping up in Gilroy (where it was a nice 100º, compared to the mid-60's/low-70's in Royal Oaks), and later to Salinas to see Cannery Row, which was performed at Hartnell College.
Saturday: My cousins and I went to Watsonville to the Strawberry Festival. And, in case any of you didn't know, I guess Watsonville's the strawberry capital.
Sunday: Cheryl and I drove to Santa Cruz, and she was kind enough to drive me around UCSC, and then we went downtown, and then to the pier near the boardwalk, which was rather fun.
Monday: Jason and I went to a beach in Marina, because I had yet to actually walk barefoot on the sand and feel the COLD Pacific water with my feet. Then, we met up with Cheryl for lunch and afterward he and I went to another beach and played frisbee and walked around.
Tuesday: I had to get on a plane and come back home to Indiana... Needless to say -- and no, I'm not exaggerating -- I cried.
So that's my trip in a short-but-sweet manner... So if any of you have stories about visiting, or whatever, please know that you're all more than welcome to throw them up, on this community.
Do take care, all of you!