The Journey Home

I woke up on Saturday morning early. I wasn’t really in a hurry but I cleaned up my space and loaded up the car. I had promised JK that I would go to breakfast with him, but I still had an hour to kill, so I went to Asilomar Beach for one last time and had a look at tide pools.

JK and I went to the Lighthouse Cafe, I ordered the California Benedict, which means it had turkey and avocados. Meh. The highlight of the meal was the Pepper Plant, which reminded me to stock up on a few bottles of the sauce before I left town. On the way there, JK told a story about how a diver went into the dolphin tank to do some maintenance inside the tank. One dolphin did an echo check of her and then they all fell silent. The diver later reported the strange silence to the manager, who said, oh, it’s because you’re pregnant. A pee test later confirmed what the dolphins already knew.

That’s gotta be cultural behavior, right? And awfully considerate. Which shows that dolphins have communication and cultural transmission, but also consideration and values. And a theory of self/theory of other.

Anyway, I brought JK back to the house (someday I’ll tell the story of the sublet… not today) and said goodbye. Then it was off to San José, where I met some of my friends from graduate school, and their two awesome kids. It was great to see them and eat a bunch of cheese!

After that, it was another short drive to Daly City, where my Auntie had made adobo, pansit, and lumpiang shanghai. I don’t know what she does to her lumpia, but she fries them in a way that they taste like they are chicharrón. I’ll let your mind explode around that thought for a little bit.

After dinner, my cowsin J and I went to see Elysium, which is the Matt Damon movie about the developing world, environmental exhaustion and overpopulation, corporate exploitation of workers, the broken criminal justice system (police and corrections), a rich upper class driven by fear, corrupt government officials, immigration reform, an artificial scarcity of healthcare, extra-constitutional robotic surveillance, an over-reliance on technology… did I miss anything? There’s also a Christ-like redemption by a figure who needed one last heist for the sake of survival, a Christ figure who goes bionic and gets jacked up on pills. And the bad guys were South Africans.

On with our story. This morning I woke up thinking there would be left over lumpia, and there was… but I honestly couldn’t get to it, since Auntie had made sinangag, longganisa, daing, tinapa, and some kamatis for me. It was insane.

I kissed them goodbye and drove toward Sacramento, to meet my friends in Elk Grove. I told my phone to take me the short way, and I ended up driving through the Sacramento River Delta, through Walnut Grove and Locke, which made me think of Hizzoner S. Some of that drive was on river levee roads, crossing over picturesque bridges, through tiny roadside towns.

When I made it to G’s place in Elk Grove, I first had to meet Kiki the dog, who was so excited to meet me… she calmed down after I pet her. Then we went to lunch at a Mexican Italian Fusion restaurant, which you can guess was a Mexican restaurant that had some Italian dishes on the menu. I had some chilaquiles verdes con pollo (sin huevo) but the star of the show was a side order of “doughnut bread,” this mysterious dense, fried bread that had the texture of an old fashioned cake doughnut. I failed to get a photo of Emilio Zapata.

After that, we wandered through a pet store, and then after that there was Pinkberry. I stayed about an hour longer than I had planned, but it was more fun than driving through the Imperial Valley.

I stopped in a town called “Wilson” for fuel, and there were a couple quick pit stops on the way. I was hoping to make it to Ashland, Oregon before sunset, and I totally did. I checked in, and then rolled through Ashland to see what there was to eat. The places downtown all looked pretty full, and since I’m dining alone I decided to just eat at the Chinese place.

Ok… I’ll just say it. So I got “szechuan chicken” and was hoping it would be 辣子雞, but it what they put in front of me was “americanized” beyond the point of recognition. It ended up being that puffy batter fried chicken with a clear sweet and sour sauce that had a few pepper flakes in it. I just ate it, trying to avoid the sauce, and I didn’t say anything about it. But when the waiter came to took my plate away, he meekly told me there’s no chinatown in Ashland, only 4 chinese families, and there’s no good Chinese food to be had in the town, just stuff like this, he said, pointing to my plate. It was, indeed, very bad. The chicken soup was good, though.

After that meal, I came back to the hotel, filled my jacuzzi, and sat in it. It’s a jacuzzi suite, so I didn’t feel the need to wear trunks or close the window. I also sat in it and ate popcorn and facebooked with my phone.

I’m going to soak again tomorrow before checking out and hitting the road for Seattle. I’m not sure yet where i’ll stop for lunch.

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