Road Trip to Monterey

It’s been a while since my last post; I just finished off the school year, and there hasn’t much been going on that I’ve wanted to post about.

I turned in my grades the other day, and then the following day I packed a suitcase and headed south on I-5. I was in and out of rain squalls through southwest Washington and Oregon. Stopped for lunch in a gray, rainy Portland. A friend suggested I stop at one of the food truck rodeos, but I arrived exactly at lunch time and there was no parking nowhere. I drove a block past and found myself in Chinatown, where I parked and had some bbq pork on rice.

I stopped for gas in Rice Hill, and made it to Yreka, California by 6pm, and checked into the Holiday Inn Express. The lady at the desk recommended Puerta Vallarta restaurant, where I ordered carnitas and a michelada. The portions were out of control, and I asked the lady, is this a portion for three people? It’s like a challenge on tv! She chuckled. Their carnitas had onions, tomatoes, and celery in them. It was delicious but I know several Mexicans who would declare them heretics.

The next morning I hit the road for Daly City, and was there by 1pm. I hung out with my hilarious aunt and uncle, and then my cowsin showed up and we went bowling in the neighborhood. We came home afterward and had sinigang na baboy.

This morning I got up at what I thought was early, but my auntie complained that she had to reheat my breakfast that had gotten cold! Bangsilog; bangus, sinangag, itlog… fried fish and garlic rice breakfast, with an egg… and a side of diced tomatoes.

We sat at the dining table for a while, and my auntie explained to me the ongoing saga of the neighborhood crows, who she has watched develop into adults with distinct personalities. She also commented that she hoped more black people move to the neighborhood, because the mean chinese neighbor who steals their newspaper is afraid of black people. It was a very racially charged post-breakfast conversation.

After that I kissed them goodbye and took I-280 south toward San José, which is the highway that goes through both Cupertino and Mountain View. I noticed as I was driving through there that my phone’s screen had dimmed past the point of being useful, and that google maps wasn’t connecting very well. Irony?

Finally I arrived in Monterey and got set up in my sublet in Pacific Grove. Later I unpacked every thing, made a run to Ross, got my car washed, and went exploring a little. Had a late lunch at a Korean restaurant on Lighthouse (doubt I’ll go back) and a Japanese restaurant run by actual Japanese people in Seaside (probably go back). There, the Filipino waiter was surprised I called him “pare” and told me he thought I looked Japanese. Wha?

In the course of the day, I also managed to visit every single Korean grocery in the area, as well as Steve’s Filipino Indian Grocery. Yes, I said it.

My new roommates and I went to see a late show, it was “This Is The End,” which is a weird bromance about how actors process the apocalypse. It’s not a show that I’d recommend, but it makes me wonder how Hollywood keeps making these bromances I don’t care about.

More exploring tomorrow, and then the next day, the program starts.

4 thoughts on “Road Trip to Monterey

      • Sinigang is a soup made with a tart broth; usually tamarind. “Baboy” means pork, and there’s always some garden veggies in the broth. Often we pull the meat and veggies out of the soup and eat them with rice, and then sip the tart broth.

        The recipe varies widely among aunties, and you might never get it the same way twice, but the unifying principle is the tartness of the broth.


    • It’s the Summer Intensive Language Program at the Monterey Institute for International Studies, which is a graduate program of Middlebury College. This town is kind of a language study colony. I’m here for Chinese.


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