Thursday, July 14, 2011

Back to California

Just got back from Monterey, California where I accompanied Barry to his first graduate school deans' meeting.  Monterey is in a very beautiful part of this country, but it's disappointing to see how tacky and touristy it has become. I'm not sure how the town let this happen but yucky t-shirt shops and Bubba Gump restaurants abound. Carmel, which is right next to Monterey, is still lovely with nice shops and restaurants, and no chain stores/restaurants in sight.

As most of the country baked, it was cold there.  Gray and cloudy most of the time, with high temperatures in the low 60s.

Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve 

Before I sound too whiny, let me say that we did some nice things there.  The highlight was Point Lobos State Reserve, which was magical.  We saw huge numbers of sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters, and now even know the difference between them, thanks to a helpful docent at the park. There were whales spouting in the distance. The wildflowers were in bloom, and color was everywhere. We liked it so well that we actually went twice.

Monterey Aquarium
The meeting held a dinner at Monterey Aquarium, which was nice.

Santa Cruz
On our way back to San Francisco Airport, we stopped for lunch in Santa Cruz, where the seals were hanging out a few feet away.

Traveling, when it's bad, can be such a hassle, and last night was one of those times. Our flight was delayed because of a huge lightning and hale storm in Denver, and I'm amazed that we were allowed to land at all. Once we got on the ground, we had to sit in the plane as they wouldn't let any of the planes at the gates move. A very long night. And every time I take off my shoes, get my little baggy of liquids, and pull out the electronics, I can't help but think that the terrorists have actually won by creating an atmosphere where we have to go through this drill over and over again.  Excuse my rant - I'm tired.

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