Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Road trip, a French Bakery, and The Marine Mammal Protection Act

Go ahead and laugh foodie friends. It's typical that the first highlight of my time in Monterey was a little French bakery where we went a couple of times for sandwiches, bread, and the finally for some amazing pastries. This was only about half of their selection. We got a nice healthy (healthy sized!) sampling our last day there.
One of the reasons I wanted to go back to Monterey (I lived there for a semester in college) was my memory of diving around the bay accompanied by seals and sea lions. They're just like dogs: friendly, playful and curious. Every time I talk about playing underwater hide-and-seek with them though, someone always brings up the scary "Marine Mammal Protection Act" and how you're not supposed to bother them etc. etc. We paid "Dave" to take us out in his little boat to go diving, and guess who followed us out there and swam around with us the whole time? I swear they LIKE to be around people.

I could write a whole post on my crazy brain and how it kept telling me a sudden storm was going to come up and swamp the boat (not a cloud in the sky), how a sneaky current was going to sweep me out to sea, or worst of all, I'd panic underwater ("am I panicking yet? am I panicking yet?") and accidentally kill myself with compressed air. But I won't. Suffice it to say, I did the dive, and I'm proud of myself. If only there were some sort of pill I could swallow to shut my brain up at those times.

Ummm...my sister tells me they DO have pills to quiet voices in your head....I hope I'm not to that point yet.
Isn't she beautiful? This is a sea lion not a seal (sea lions have ears). They don't play as much, but they seem to be great at flopping all over docks. They had to put barriers in all over the dock so the sea lions wouldn't take them over.

If you look close, you'll see a bunch of jellyfish. These ones were brown and white, but we also saw light blue and clear ones. We weren't too worried about being stung, because the water was so cold we had on 7mm diving suits covering every square inch of skin except for maybe an inch around the mouth where your regulator goes in. So on our second dive, Jeff gets a killer attack jellyfish that goes right for his face, and he got stung above the lip. (not really --they randomly drift) What're the odds of that?

This is the other thing about Monterey: it's incredibly romantic. It's so beautiful and picturesque. It looked like Pirates of the Caribbean could come sailing right out of the harbor any minute. Cold and foggy in the mornings until the sun burned it off, the mist only made it more mysterious and endearing.

Jeff really wanted to see the Redwoods, so we took a day trip up through San Francisco to Muir woods. I REALLY wanted to see Chinatown though, so we drove around and around San Francisco for close to 2 hours looking for it. I saw some great views and learned how to run the GPS thing on Jeff's phone, but by the time we found Chinatown I just wanted to move on.

We got to the Redwoods so late, they let us in for free. That was cool, but it made the woods "lovely, dark, and deep". We didn't see the banana slugs either because it was pretty dry there by that time of the year.

Don't they look like flowers? Huge huge flowers.

I still have to tell you about the aquarium, so come back tomorrow (or maybe the next day if I don't pull it together in time).


belann said...

Again, the perfect trip for you. Lovely bakery, redwoods, ocean. Actually, sounds like the perfect trip for me too. Looks wonderful.

Lee said...

O.K. I am going to have to go to Montery. SF you missed the real tressure if you didn't have San Fran sour dough bowl filled with warm clam chowder. Chinatown, meh. Sad but the thing I am MOST excited to show Lee in Seatle is the little French Bakery across from Pikes. THE BEST chocolate filled croisant's.

Lee said...

P>S> LOVE the Redwoods. Gotta go back there too!