Saturday, April 29, 2006

Elswhere's California Adventure: The Final Days

It's been a week already, hasn't it. Since I got back. Cripes. Amazing how quickly regular old life engulfs you with its all-encompassing mix of boringness and compellingness, no?

Herewith, before the whole trip fades into a pleasantly vague memory, some photos from last Friday and Saturday:

Grace kindly put me up (and put up with me) and also very kindly schlepped me all over the place. I bow to her amazing hostessosity! We talked and talked and talked on Friday morning, then went to breakfast/lunch. With Malcolm, who is really an excellent restaurant companion.

Capitola, this little touristy beach town near/in Santa Cruz. I'd never heard of Capitola before; it's the most beautiful place! I sat on a bench at the beach for a long time. Then I took off my shoes and waded for a while.

Mission Accomplished: Snow Globe and Fish Taco. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a snow globe in a beach town? This was one of the only two in all of Capitola. MG was very happy to have it.

As for the fish taco...words fail. Instead I quote from the immortal Jo Spanglemonkey, in her comment on her own post on February 23, 2006:

"Oooooh dude. Fish tacos are the only pure evidence that there is a god, and she is indeed benevolent. Crispy fried small pieces of fish in cabbage and sauce, on homemade corn tortillas... droool spiiitt"

Yeah. Well, yeah.

Statue outside Bookshop Santa Cruz. This visit was an orgy of bookstores: first all the used places on Valencia, and then this palace of printed wonders. Grace had to drag me out after an hour or so, and I could've spent another hour there, easy.

Herself, At Home: Bathrobe--check! Laptop--check! Malcolm--check!

Grace's balcony, where I sat and read and wrote and luxuriated. Also, photographed these cool viney branchy things.

There should also be a photo here from Osento, but I was too shy to ask if I could take one, even of the front lobby with all the notices and flyers (I figured they wouldn't want me taking any pictures of the other naked women). Ever since my friend Rosie first took me there in 1990, Osento has been my treat to myself whenever I get to SF. (There's a women's bathhouse in Seattle, too, but it's all indoors, which I understand, given the weather, but which seems to me to miss a large part of the point.) I hadn't been for years, but last Saturday Grace dropped me off there while she did a run. I had enough time to hit all the saunas and tubs twice, and to lie on the back deck and sunbathe and eavesdrop. It was heaven.

Grace picked me up on the dot of 6:15--just as I was getting dressed--so I could get to the airport in plenty of time for my 8:45 flight. But when I got there--surprise! my flight was cancelled! I was whisked right through checkout and onto an (almost empty) 7:00 flight instead, and thus got home nearly two hours earlier than I'd planned.

I came home at 10 PM to an empty house--Renaissance Woman and MG had both gone to Jessie's for a sleepover, figuring I wouldn't be home till late--and when I woke up the next morning it took me a few minutes to remember where I was.

Another picture of Grace, just because.


Blogger Robin said...

Enjoyed your post.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous aka Marina said...

Hi Elwhere!
Ah, Capitola! Ah fish tacos (though I must add that a *bad* (as in spoiled) fish taco is a terrible terrible thing -- partly the puking but also the disappointment!)! Ah Santa Cruz bookstores....

I think I remember the visit when Rosie took you to Osento the first time. Did I come too? I would love to go again, but I think the next time we go to the Bay Area we will have three small children in tow. Hmmmm.

Thanks for a vicarious vacation.... you and MG and RW should come visit us in West Virginia some time. It ain't NoCal but it's lovely!!


9:10 AM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Hey Marina--You were there! I remember you both raving about it to me and be being skeptical and shy and then a total convert once I got there.

Could Mr. Marina take the kids for a couple hours while you go to Osento? It is so, so worth it. I still feel sustained (and a little tanned) from it, and it's been over a week.

9:37 AM  
Blogger susan said...

What a great set of posts!

And I do love fish tacos. When we were in Anchorage last summer it was my personal goal to eat one each day. Yum.

6:07 PM  
Blogger GraceD said...



Other than that, you were delightful company and are welcome any time. Just watch that camera, missy.


6:46 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Grace, what! I thought you looked cool, all bloggy and at-home and stuff! Next time I'll get Jo to come with me; she's the one who can take the glam portraits.

Ah, well. You'll just have to come up to Seattle and take some potentially embarrassing photo of me ;-)

It was swell to see you. I'm still floating on the visit!

8:55 PM  
Blogger wen said...

how neat! i live in santa cruz and work in capitola. i adore the bookshops (did you get to logos? it's a large used (and some new) books palace. :)) i actually work within walking distance of the capitola picture you posted. in fact, i often wander down there on my lunch hour and sit at the beach!

glad you enjoyed our little piece of heaven.

another place to try in sf instead of osento is kabuki. it's all indoors, and has women's days. it's nice for those really rainy weeks! osento does rock though. i've been going there for over a decade.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous badgermama said...

I wish I could have gone to the bookstores in Santa Cruz with you!

Your package of books is on my desk! soon... soon...

7:48 PM  

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