Sunday, September 6, 2009

west coast adventures



I have been having West Coast adventures in the past month. I took an audition where I finally thought I played my best, but still didn't advance. Therefore I felt awful. But on the other hand, I now have a better idea of what I have to do to prepare to play my best.

I took a trip up the California coast with my Mom. It was a long trip, lots of driving, but also lots of fun. I forgot my camera so I don't have many pictures, just some that mom took with her film camera and scanned. There are no humans in the picture I've posted to give scale, but redwood trees are truly awe-inspiring. So was the Golden Gate Bridge, which I really enjoyed driving over (once in each direction!). I thought of Patty when I drove through Silicon Valley, and as a Mac user, I was pretty excited to drive through Cupertino :)

We went to two mission along the way: Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, and I learned that California was essentially started by a Franciscan monk named Junipero Serra, who founded over 20 missions along the California coast, each a fews days apart on foot, from San Diego to San Rafael, and including such familiar towns as San Juan Capistrano, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and San Jose. I found this totally fascinating. I also liked that the name for the Native Americans in the Los Angeles area was "Gabrielenos" (Tongva originally), after Mission San Gabriel, the mission in the Los Angeles area, I suppose. I am also guessing that the name of Los Angeles has something to with San Gabriel, who was, after all, not only an angel, but an archangel (and one of the only figures to appear in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions, I would also like to add!). Anyway, both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo were beautiful, and I found San Luis Obispo to be particularly charming. I am sure there were lots of horrible things done to the Native Americans, but the missions seemed like a pretty nice way of living to me.

We drove all the way up to the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, some 200 miles north of San Francisco (which is about 400 miles north of LA, for reference!). It was some of the scariest driving I have ever done in my life, with very narrow roads that were SUPER twisty and some of them were on cliffs over the ocean. Good thing it doesn't really snow there! Though there was plenty of fog. Avenue of the Giants, however, was amazing and beautiful and if you ever have a chance to go there, DO IT!!! Words cannot express the awe I felt in the presence of these huge, ancient trees, some of whom have been alive for over 400 years. It also takes 400 years for a redwood to decompose fully once it has fallen, and the trees (both living and dead) are home to literally thousands of life forms. And to top it all, they have these adorable little pine cones that are no bigger than a marble. Wow.

Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, I went to one of my favorite locations, the beach at Point Dume, with some friends today. It's so beautiful, it is really one of LA's saving graces. We had a lot of fun looking in the tide pools for hermit crabs and starfish and such, and finding little shells (I was pretty excited about an adorable little sand dollar I found--sand penny, really, since it was much closer to penny-sized. But the highlight was that we got to see a sick baby seal (or sea lion, which I think actually it was, since I think I saw it had little ears) get rescued by the Marine Mammal Rescue people. He was soooooo cute and it was so sad to see him looking forlorn and listless, just letting the tide carry him along. I hope that he makes a full recovery! I wish I could find out what happened to him.

Now it will be back to teaching, which is a relief (especially since I'm pretty broke), and hopefully back to gigging as well. Not to mention auditions and planning for how on earth I am going to live my life.

2 comments:

Patty said...

Gee, you could have dropped in and I would have made you a latté! :-)

I'm sorry about the audition. :-(

G said...

trip sounds awesome... if you like old forests and marine mammals, you should make it up to where we are in Prince William Sound (in the summer) one of these days.

my cousin used to go to school in Humboldt... he knows exactly what you were writing about. I miss the CA coast soooo much. I think I might be able to visit San Diego in January, and I'm really excited.