We already weren’t that thrilled about our journey to Monterey (a 9 hour Greyhound bus to Salinas followed by what would probably be an expensive taxi journey at night), but it only got worse when we parked up in Santa Barbara and a man got on our bus to announce that “there’s nobody to drive your bus, sorry”. So there we sat, for FIVE HOURS outside a Greyhound station whilst a man talked to himself in no recognisable language the whole time. We got to Salinas at about 2am and nobody was speaking English. I thought this was probably where we’d die, but we got a taxi and made it to Monterey, where we were greeted with two wonderful cats and our new friend Cecilia.
We’d met a couple in Vegas called Anastasia and Shipley, who said we could stay in their apartment whilst we had time to kill in California, and Cecilia was housesitting for them. Once again, we’d hit the jackpot (apart from one of the cats deciding my arse was the most comfortable place to sleep).
The next morning (afternoon, we were knackered), we went to Loulou’s Griddle in the Middle and had some great food on one of the harbours. I had my first taste of chowder on the West Coast, and also got a great cheese selection, brie and all.
Within our first few days there, we saw seals, sea lions, sea otters and a whale, and seeing a sea otter in the flesh filled me with more happiness than I can express. What a perfect little bundle of joy.
Cecilia’s friend Cowboy (I don’t think that’s his genuine name) took us on a tour of the theatre he works in, which was pretty cool. We got to go on the roof and into the organ rooms, and Jess even went on the grid.
We went to a gig Cowboy and Cecilia were playing in Salinas, and met a man from Newton Abbot! Which looking back on it, is quite ironic, because Salinas is quite similar to Newton Abbot: shite.
As lovely as Monterey is, we did start to run out of things to do, and didn’t have wifi. There’s only so many games of Scrabble you can play against yourself. We went to see the Dressmaker in the local cinema, and it was bloody great. I was expecting it to be a predictable rom-com, but it was so outrageous and weird, and Chris Hemsworth looked like a rugged angel.
Something very important happened whilst we were in Monterey, and that was the election. Bloody hell. I’m not gonna go on and on about it, because I didn’t particularly want either of them to win, but what a bloody bizarre night. Jess and I went to a few bars to watch the results and barely anybody was interested (apart from a group of very happy old white men smoking cigars sat next to me). When it was finally announced, we were in a karaoke bar, and whilst some guy sang Creep-Radiohead, Trump’s face appeared on the TV screen behind him. I’ll say no more.
Anastasia and Shipley came back for the weekend, and we decided to stay a little longer to spend some time with them (I was also growing quite attached to the cats and couldn’t leave them just yet). The night they got back, we all went out and I think we had a lot of fun (my hangover the next day would indicate we did).
The next day whilst walking back from lunch, we heard police sirens and saw a lot of cops running around. We then saw a man in the sea, fully dressed, swimming away from the wharf whilst a large crowd gathered to watch. Somebody told us that he’d seen this guy cycling away from the police and when that didn’t work, he started running, and when that didn’t work, he started swimming. This guy was performing a triathlon right before our very eyes. When the swimming wasn’t working, he climbed into a rowing boat and started rowing. The boat was anchored, and he went round in circles for a good ten minutes, and a large group of people shouted “IT’S ANCHORED”. It was just so bizarre and wonderful, even the police boat went past and told him to pull the anchor up. They did eventually catch him though, after they let him tire himself out rowing. I still don’t know what he did, but I’ve been checking the news religiously.
We went to see Hacksaw Ridge that night and it was incredible, probably the best film I’ve seen this year. Go watch the trailer and go see it when you can.
The next day, we said our goodbyes to everybody and the cats, and set off on a bus to Santa Cruz. It was strange leaving Monterey because it felt like we’d been there for about 10 years, but we’re hoping to meet up with Anastasia and Shipley in San Francisco.