Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monterey: A Picture Story

Creativity has been lacking in my giant head...hence this lonely little blog. I was planning on writing a post about my trip to Monterey with my friend Casie and her son (my godson) Ryan. The plan was to write a hilarious story about how we stayed at this eery 1950's church camp-esque resort, full of roaming molecular biologists, and how Ryan was the only child there.... but like I said, I'm in a creative slump. Maybe I can woo my creativeness back with a picture blog? If I can't come up with the words to describe our silly trip, the pictures will. Supposedly they are worth a thousand words.

I've been going to Monterey with my mom and various friends since I was a preteen. Because of this, there are a few Monterey traditions that I absolutely have to partake in while there. On the way to Monterey, it's mandatory that you stop at 3 places. The first is Split Pea Andersen's for some delightful Danish cuisine and touristy souvenirs. Having a tiny tot with us, this didn't work out. Nap time trumps any sort of Danish delights. The next stop is Casa de Fruta. If you are thinking this is a mecca of amazing fresh picked fruits from the lovely coastal are wrong. It is full of fruit, but I'm pretty sure the grapes are from Chile and the avocados Mexico. We stopped for the Casa de Train, Casa de Ferris Wheel, Casa de Pond, Casa de Diner, Casa de Bathroom, and Casa de Playground.  This was the highlight of the trip for Ryan. He got to taste everything on our Casa de Diner plates, look at ducks, and swing on the always thrilling swing set.

Casa de Train...sorry Ryan too many tokens.

Ryan and Casie

The other children were jealous of Ryan's
swinging abilities


We both like ducks.
Oh yes this is awesome!

I may have bought that for him...

Ryan, playing hide and seek with me.

The next mandatory stop is San Juan Bautista to see the chickens cross the road and the mission. Ryan decided he was too antsy to get to Monterey, so we didn't stop there either.

We arrived at the Asilomar resort and were a little confused with what exactly we were getting ourselves into. There were 1950's church camp like cabins spewed across the coast, wandering physicists and molecular biologists, no children in sight (besides Ryan), and a lady walking a mini horse (don't dare call it a pony or you will be yelled at like Casie was...which made me laugh hysterically).  The surroundings were beautiful and I have to admit I loved the little bungalow cabiny feel to our inn. We were assigned to the "Stuck Up Inn." Apparently Asilomar's front desk people and their boring beige sweater vests, have a sense of humor.

Ryan, the snob

So stuck up
Wow, Casie, wow

Look who else is stuck up...

Our stuck up room view

Asilomar grounds

We had to wait a bit to check into our 1950's church camp room, so we went down to the beach to explore the tide pools. I love tide pools. I have a bad habit of  disturbing mother nature, especially sea anemones and hermit crabs. I can't help it. It's so much fun. Ryan was pretty pumped about the water too. He was so pumped he decided to stick his feet, tennis shoes and all, in the water. I found it funny. Casie was a little distraught because she forgot to bring a second set of shoes. Before you all start judging Mama Casie, she found Ryan's fireman boots from his darling, but random, fireman costume in the trunk of her car. The boots looked lovely on him.

Relaxation: Old Monty Style

Sisters from another mister!

We were watching him...promise

Ryan, the oceanographer

He doesn't like to be dirty.
A real live hermit crab

These two people love the ocean more
 than humanly possible

...However they don't love kelp like I do

There I am messing with a hermit crab
He stared for hours
What funny looking sea otters.
Not only a godmother, but a godteacher
My hand makes a nice helmet
Dig in Ryan, dig in

After checking into our room, I decided we needed to go to the cemetery. Sounds a little creepy, but my mom used to take me there when we were little to watch the deer eating the grass. Naturally, I had to share my childhood memories with Casie and Ryan. Well it was a long walk and Ryan fell asleep in his stroller, but it was lovely anyways. We looked at the million dollar homes and decided we wouldn't mind living there. We glanced at the ocean and the sun setting and took in deep breaths of ocean air to purify our central valley pesticide filled lungs. The deer weren't at the cemetery. No need to worry, they were across the street at the golf course.

Cemetery deer

I'll take the house, hold the moose statue.

Deer with the light house in the background
A doe!
Dinner time

After our long walk, we went to dinner. Dinner was so delicious there was no time for pictures. Another mandatory stop is the Ice Cream Shoppe in Pacific Grove. The ice cream is good...but it's the decor that really surprises you. Beatles memorabilia is everywhere...along with Afghan rugs for sale with little signs that say the, "Afghanis are our friends," and wireless internet with another note that says, "Wiki Leaks are supported here".

Ice Cream Shoppe

Ryan goes to bed at 8:00 pm, so that's what time we had to be back to Asilomar by. Lights out at the kind of creepy Stuck Up Inn didn't seem to make my $75 bed (we split the cost) anymore comfortable.

The next day I forced Casandra and little Ryan to go to Toasties with me for breakfast. To put a small dent in my high caloric weekend extravaganza, I went on a run along the beach.  Turns out no matter what the scenery, running is still horrible. Toasties was delicious as always. Ryan made friends with our neighboring breakfasteers and I spoon fed him maple syrup. That's one of my godmotherly duties.

Only the purest maple syrup for my godson.

Creepy is headless

He's pretty intelligent

Next it was off to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where sea life is treasured. I must admit, I'm more of a land animal girl. Give me a zoo any day over an aquarium, but for my friend Casie... who has ocean water for blood, I made the sacrifice. Ryan loved looking at all the bright colored fish and getting to touch some sea sponges (which he affectionately called, "Ball"). They have a new interactive kiddie area that is full of soft foamy kid friendly things, that Ryan really enjoyed. My favorite part occurred when Casie was off preforming motherly duties and I was left to my own devices. I noticed the trainers bringing out clams and such for the adorable sea otters. Sea Otters are perhaps my favorite sea creature, along with manatees and seals. Once the annoyingly tall teenagers moved out of my way, I got an excellent view of the sweet little otters devouring their lunch.

The best part of the trip was getting to see Monterey, a place I have gone a lot, through a toddler's eyes. Everything was new and exciting. From a Casa de Swing to a sea sponge that looks like a ball, Ryan was definitely the star (starfish?) of the show.

Ryan says, "Fishhhhhh."

Toola, Danny's otter equivalent

Big fish

Kelp and such

The Ice Cream Shoppe guy would like this

Touching a ray

Artsy Fartsy

I also really enjoy jelly fish

Poop Soup: a recipe for energy, fertilizer, and much much more

This is where poop soup comes from


My unoriginal, but hilarious idea

Sea sponges are Ryan's favorite

Otter time

Life lessons at the aquarium

The cutest fish there

Somebody didn't like the splash zone

Just keep swimming

Wish on a fish

The kid play area...looks like I might be having a little
too much fun pretending to be a mermaid.

Ryan's favorite cave


My sea horse friend

A sea horse family!

Apparently I'm the greenest person Casie knows.

Colorful fish

Turtle time

Ryan's gift

The Old Monty Bunch!

On the way home we stopped at Split Pea Andersen's for some tasty split pea soup. Ryan mostly smeared it on his mother. I engulfed mine.

This way guys

Pea Wee

Hap Pea

Ryan is disgusted by all the carbs

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