Thursday, October 28, 2004


First Week - Sand Castles in the sky

Its cold here; a deep, bone-chilling cold that numbs your entire body. It has been raining the past couple of weeks, off and on, so the hills are turning green, but the leaves on the trees are gold and red, and just about to drop to the ground, creating a soft golden carpet to walk on as I take the dogs out for their daily run. The skies are blue some days, a crisp, pure blue, and others, a mottled white/gray/periwinkle. Rain threatens every day.

I drove up from San Diego Saturday, and arrived Saturday night with a few possesions packed tightly together, and my cat,Jack, who drooled and foamed a the mouth from stress. He was happy to finally reach our destination, as was I. My parents have welcomed me with open arms, and a comfortable spare bedroom, highspeed wireless internet, and instructions on household etiquette. My first Adventure was a cold Sunday afternoon walk along the beach, for the 43rd annual Camel Sandcastle contest. i was surprised at the number of people who attended, however there were not a huge amount of entries this year. My favorite moments : two children sitting in chairs with signs that read "1st born", and a sand-sign that read "will sell for water credits". My second favorite was a mansion that read "MT ST Gaudie", and while I struggled with my new (to me) camera, listened to everyone ask "is it gaudy? what is THAT?" So then I happily explained that Gaudie is actually a famous Spanish Architect (I had caught onto this from the builder's explanation to a local contributor to a news station in town who had recorded him).

Well, I have done it! After 15 long years away in San Diego, I have returned to my hometown. The place hasnt changed much, but I am a completely different person. Not a bad thing - I no longer need to wait tables or make pizza to earn a living. Not that there are any jobs here other than that, but I am hoping against hope! I drive along the scenic highway 68, lined with its old oak forests, dripping with moss...and see the beauty and nature that I missed so much. I am glad to be back, although I do miss the people that I grew close to down South.
The Monterey Bay area is really a small collection of towns: Monterey proper, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Carmel, and Sand City. Then there are sub-sets; Old Monterey and New Monterey, Asilomar (between Pacific Grove and Monterey), Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel Valley, Carmel Highlands and Big Sur. All of these form a charming little area that I now call HOME. As I rediscover the area, and see it through new eyes, I can appreciate the subtle (and not so subtle) differences between them all. For example, last night I saw a license plate with "PG Girl" on it. And this was while driving through New Monterey.

Carmel is consiered the "snobby, rich, sophisticated-yet-country" part of the area (Carmel-by-the-sea is commonly referred to as the "world's best outdoor shopping mall", with its multitude of high-end shops). Truth be told, it is the home of the historic and beautiful Carmel Mission, as well as featuring my favorite beach of all time. I wouldnt go swimming in it, but it has the softest, whitest sand Ive ever seen.

PAcific Grove was founded by religious groups, and therefore, has no bars per se. You can enjoy wine in a restaruant, or buy it from one of the very few liquor stores in town, but thats about it. Its a town filled with quaint Victorians overlooking the ocean, eucalyptus trees, and of course Monarch butterflies - the king of butterflies - whose orangeand black arraignment are famous and give the town its "mascot". Its known as the "Butterfly Town", and features annual "Butterfly Parades", and a Butterfly sanctuary. I consider this area to be MY sanctuary, hence the name "Butterfly Tales"

Monterey proper is the industrial-town-by-the sea. It features office buildings enxt to old adobes, a fisherman's wharf and of course the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the even more famous Cannery Row. (thank you John Steinbeck). To me, the importance of Monterey is two-fold: I met my boyfriend Jason at a club in Cannery Row, and I was conceived in the ancient labyrinth called the "wing chong building". This is a building that the aquarium wants but cannot get, owned by a chinese family called "yee". Its doors have been locked ever since Alicia passed away - she operated a antique store in the front and lived in one of the many backrooms. It was an old haven for artists and their friends back in the day, a "crash-pad" if you will.

Seaside is a small, residential area where they have a Staples and other chain stores. The area needs them, but wants them in the "poorer" districts. By poorer I mean houses that cost 700,000 instead of the typical million or so. This is where I grew up as a child through to my teen years. I moved from the town at the age of 13 - right before high school - so I lost all my friends from that time. I wonder if Ill suddenly bump into someone from my childhood????? Would I recognise them if I did????

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