Connor's Ketchup - L.A. and San Francisco.
The others gave a partial accounting of my adventures.
In L.A. Jess and I spent a couple of hours on the beach before we took a cab into town. The beach was fine, and I was impressed (as always) by the sandy bluffs that overlook #1. The last time I saw them, Hallie told me that erosion is a huge problem, and it's very difficult to keep the mud from spilling onto the road.
If we were in town for even another day, but the QE2 stays on a pretty stiff schedule, so after a nice lunch with Gemma and Talia, we continued onto Hollywood. I'd told Jess that I had liked Hollywood; that its obvious touritiness doesn't wash away the fact that its major employers have all moved into the valley. It has a gritty, slightly neglected people, which is warm and welcome since there are people all over the place. We followed the star walk around and had a leisurely afternoon before making it back to the ship.
That night I didn't any sleep. We partied late into the night.
If L.A. was slightly relaxed despite all of the running around, the trip in San Francisco was a chaos that didn't let up from the moment we arrived until the moment we left. My friend Paul had borrowed a car and picked us up from the boat, and from their we blasted out to the Muir Woods national monument, which Paul has been dying to show me for years. We walked around, drank some coffee, and generally gawked at the size of things. Or at least I gawked, though I suspect even after living out there for two years Paul is still pretty impressed. There are parts of Michigan with absolutely magnificent tall trees, but the redwoods were unlike anything I'd ever seen. The Michigan trees are White Pines, but the Redwoods are so huge that you can't get your arms even a sixth of the way around them.
But this was the most leisurely part of the day. On the way back to meet the others, we got stuck in the bay areas nasty traffic, which I guess is supposed to be an issue. We drove through Oakland, though, and while I don't know a thing about the layour or geography or even the history of the place, I know that there are more than two handfuls of amazing rappers, including the Digital Underground and Timbaland, two of my favorites. So it inspired awe, even if it was a hazy, unattributable awe.
We had a very pleasant lunch with Caitlin, and one of the nice things was that the conversation was fast and engaging. Even though Caitlin and Paul had never met they were trading impressions of California, which was interesting since the one has lived in Hawaii and Illinois, and the other has spent the last several years before in the remoteness of Michigan's UP. One thing I worry about is that while our group is not cliquish exactly (everyone really likes each other), we have gotten in the habit of pairing off by stateroom. Jess and I tend to stick together, Amber and Clara are pretty tight, and Sumara is tight with her family. Gemma and Meridith are probably the most pan social with us (and with the rest of the boat, for that matter). It all makes sense, in a way, because we're still working on our individual projects, but I do hope we can spend some more time together as a group. I don't get to see these people very often, and I don't know if we'll ever all be together at the same time again.
The rest of the day we took a walk through the Ghiradelli Square, Golden Gate (the whole Bay area is a freaking postcard), and ACT. I decided to really push it and went on a final whirlwind tour of Chinatown with Paul before he had to go and I had to get back to the ship. I really miss him and hope we get to see each other again soon.
And then we were back on the boat for more partying (and the subsequent general getting sick).
Papeete calls! (We just docked.) More ketchup to be contiued...