This past weekend, in spite of my bronchitis, we went down to Monterey for a few days. Well, technically, Castroville (which was where the vacation house was). We left after Jennifer got off work (I had called in sick because of the aforementioned bronchitis), and drove down that night. We arrived at about 9:30 at the house where our friends were already waiting for us.
That first night, we really didn’t do much. We sat around and chatted, then I used my nebulizer (again: bronchitis), and then we went to be.
The next day, we went into Monterey itself. We had breakfast at a place called Caffe Trieste downtown, and I highly recommend this place. I only had a couple of eggs and some coffee while the others had large breakfasts.
Then, because we’re all a bunch of nerds, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is one of my favorite places in the world. This time there was a special exhibit that really attracted me: Tentacles. I love octopuses, cuttlefish, nautiluses, and other critters like that, so I really wanted to see this. It did not disappoint, though I wished for more — or any, rather — nods to H. P. Lovecraft.
Also, I love penguins. So here’s a picture of some penguins that I took at the Aquarium (click to embiggen):
It’s nesting season for the penguins, so here’s a too-brief and not-too-high-quality video of penguins moving around. What I wanted to show was a penguin grabbing a pebble in its beak and carrying it up to one of the nesting boxes. We saw several penguins doing that, and, of course, I found it fascinating and adorable.
I took a few other videos at the aquarium, particularly in the jellyfish exhibit (jellyfish are also awesome), but none of them turned out very well, so I won’t share them here. Suffice to say, moon jellies are my favorite jellyfish, and I just love the way a swarm of them move through the water (though I understand blooms of moon jellies can indicate a bloom of algae in the water due to warmth, or even pollution). Sea nettles are also cool.
The sea otter exhibit was fun, of course. Sea otters are the cats of the seas, though they can be vicious little brutes. I also enjoyed the kelp forest exhibit, and was fascinated by the shining swirls of anchovies (or maybe they were sardines — I never figured that one out for sure).
After the aquarium, we went back to the rental house, I nebulized once more while the others went to the beach and wandered around, then we watched Terminator 3. I hate this movie, and none of the others really liked it either, so we had great fun mocking it (she’s got a plasma jet weapon in her hand and she uses a GUN to shoot her targets?!!?). That night, we played two games of Pandemic, a cooperative game where the players attempt to cure diseases before they destroy humanity; I’ve played this game before, but I’ve never played won; this time, we cured all the epidemic diseases, and winning the game was just astounding. Then we played something called Love Letter, and finished the night off with a wonderful — or horrific, depending on your estimation of the game — round of Cards Against Humanity. I nebulized again, the went to bed.
Sunday, we had to be out of the rental house by ten, so we woke up early, showered, packed, and rolled out. We had breakfast at Caffe Trieste again, then wandered a bit around downtown Monterey. We went to Fisherman’s Wharf, ignoring the tourist traps and little shops, and found a place where sea lions were hanging out.
Here’s a picture I took of some sea lions hanging out off Fisherman’s Wharf on Monterey (click to ensealionate):
After Monterey, we went to Pacific Grove, explored among the rocks, then headed toward home.
That was all this past weekend. Today it’s Monday, and I’m full of thoughts. My bronchitis has improved dramatically (thanks to antibiotics and huge doses of Prednisone), and I had the day off work because of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. So I spent much of the day working on a short story for an upcoming “Swords V. Cthulhu” anthology, then deleting much of what I wrote because I didn’t like it.
I also spent much of the day pondering past interests. I’ve done this before, when I blogged about The Neverending Symphony, only this time I thought about how when I was in high school, I desperately wanted to go into marine biology, and then later in college, into oceanography. College chemistry classes killed these dreams, of course, but a man can ponder them anyway. So now I’m left thinking about the way the Monterey Bay Aquarium and time near the ocean gets me sad about the horrific things we have done and continue to do to the life-sustaining ecology that keeps us alive. Sometime soon I will blog about this as well.
Long story short: I had a blast with my friends in Monterey, and highly recommend taking time away to do this sort of thing. And the Aquarium, of course, is always worth visiting.