I grew up in northeastern Ohio and never once visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Football Hall of Fame. Ohio is evidently very good at "halls of fame", but not much else. That's really all Ohio has. Oh, yes, and Amish places. But I only went to see Amish stuff when out-of-town family members visited and my parents threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't shut up and show proper awe and appreciation in front of our guests for the dozen or so Amish cheese factories that I was forced to endure on any given trip.
So when my brother called to ask me if he and my niece could come out to California and stay with me for a week to "see the sights", I knew I was fucked.
As a current resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I have intentionally avoided many of the most well-known attractions in the area. Don't get me wrong...I'll admit freely that I've caved on a few. You try living in San Francisco with a child and NOT take a ride on the cable cars. I dare you.
However, I have gazed across the bay at Alcatraz hundreds of times and never felt the slightest interest in joining the herds of tourists who make the pilgrimage to the Rock.
But my brother wanted to see Alcatraz. He's from Ohio and technically a tourist, so he's allowed.
I'm a resident. Visiting Alcatraz is most definitely against the "code of residents".
I wanted to be a good sister and aunt and host though, so I caved, loaded my houseguests and the Princess in the car and headed to the pier to catch a ferry to Alcatraz.
For breaking the code, I fully expected the ferry to sink or for Clint Eastwood to pull me into a cell and take me from behind (oh, wait, that one isn't necessarily a bad thing), but it was uneventful and moderately entertaining.
So strapping Clint Eastwood to my body under a large coat and impersonating a pregnant woman would be frowned upon?
You can't just "take the tour". You have to "live the tour", right? I wore a stripped scarf for costume authenticity.
Yah, yah...there's pretty scenery too. I tried to blend in by asking my fellow tourists what large beautiful city this was in a non-specific European accent.
I inevitably had to pay the karmic price for breaking the resident code. I came back from Alcatraz to a big fat ticket on my car for parking in a private lot illegally. Evidently, the dude that I paid $20 to in order to park my car wasn't actually technically "employed" by the lot and walked away with a nice crisp $20 bill.
(For the record, I argued with the company that owned the lot and made the - I think - valid point that they should really do a better job of monitoring their lots in order to prevent this type of fraud. No response. I paid the fine. CENTRAL PARKING CAN SUCK MY ASS! I may start off every posting from now on with CENTRAL PARKING CAN SUCK MY ASS!)
I feel better now.
I feel better now.
Anyway. I had already tempted fate and lost so I figured that I had nothing else to lose and volunteered to take my guests to the mother of all Northern California tourist spots....Monterey. Home of wildlife, beaches, golf courses, and shameless John Steinbeck souvenirs.
If you follow the random goings-on in Northern California, you would know that the famous sea lions of San Francisco's Pier 39 up and left for the most part a few months ago. They were predominantly male and I suspect that they were just kinda pissed off that their marriages had been revoked by Prop 8 so they deserted in protest. Just a theory.
Nobody really knew where these proud gay sea lions went.
Well, I found them! In Monterey, baby!
Proud gay sea lion.
Proud gay sea lion pack (or herd or flock or gaggle or swarm or something) in Monterey. But, seriously, no proud gay anything should smell this bad. Can nobody quietly slip them some Axe Body Spray and a breath mint?