Saturday, January 02, 2010

A Day in Monterey...

or, Naked in the Park.

As the cabin fever of winter break nears it's end (oh, thank you, thank you G-d!), Husband and I decided we could not stand another day in the house trying to entertain a child who has decided he can only be entertained by the likes of another 3.5 year old, or a wide open space where he can run like a lunatic until he falls to the ground panting for breath. We hatched a plan to drive south the the Monterey Bay area.

Looking at my Fodor's (nice to be a tourist where you live), I decided we should start in Carmel-by-the-Sea (wasn't Clint Eastwood mayor there once?) and drive up the PCH to Monterey. I started dog-earing paged with interesting sights to see and post-it noting other points of interest. After about ten minutes of this, it became clear to Husband and me that I was biting of a big steaming pile of more than we could chew in one day. Especially with a potty-training child (oh dear god, the potty training!!!! THE HORROR!)

So we decided to save the Carmel, 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach trifecta for another day and just throw ourselves into the John Steinbeck-y deliciousness of Monterey (I shouldn't actually say that because we didn't go to Salinas, where the Steinbeck museum is. I think I will have to go there someday myself because I'm not sure Husband and child could abide the absurd DORK I will turn into in Salinas. Husband will probably leave me if he has to endure an entire day's lesson about the Grapes of Wrath).

After packing up the car with snacks (light on the liquids, people! We're traveling 1.5 hours with a potty-training preschooler. In Husband's big-boy car as opposed to my child-and-grocery-hauler), we set off. And thankfully, the child made it to Monterey with dry Buzz Lightyear underwear and was able to make it to the Starbucks bathroom sans accident. SUCCESS!

There was much wandering around Cannery Row and Fisherman's Wharf, running on the beach, chasing seagulls, climbing on rocks and your general garden-variety merriment. At one point, Ethan informed us that he'd peed his pants and needed to be changed. We were nowhere near a bathroom but were right near a little park where, if both parents stood strategically, we could perform the needed underwear/pants change discreetly. And discreet the whole scene was until the little punk we call our child, once he was free of the shackles of his underwear and pants (which, by the way were NOT wet), broke free and proceeded to run through the park naked from the waist down. Yes, friends, my child streaked through the park between Cannery Row and Fisherman's Wharf. And I chased him. It was a proud, proud moment for Husband and me, I can tell you that.

"I'm nakie nudie!! I'm nakie nudie!!!" he announced to every other tourist within hearing distance. Fortunately I was too busy chasing him and yelling "Ethan Jacob, that is NOT okay!!!" while laughing my ass off (I know, totally mixed message, but seriously? Funniest thing ever) to notice if I was getting the evil eye from the general public. Husband said people were laughing and thought it was all very funny, but I know there had to be one old biddy in there clucking her teeth and looking up CPS on her speed dial.

When we reigned in our naked child and managed to get clothes back on his wriggling, squirmy body, we stood up, brushed ourselves off and pretended nothing had happened. I didn't make eye contact with another person until we were at least 100 yards for the scene of our son's public lewdness.

While I don't have any pictures of our streaker (and I wouldn't show you if I did), I do have these:

Upon further reflection, perhaps my child performed his little streaking act as a way to get back at me for photographing him in this frog hat. Can't say that I blame him.
Sigh. I am forever doomed to have a child who grimaces in every picture I force him to take with me.

We walked into this Mall-esque shopping area that had this sign on the outside. After perusing the kitchy little "Garlic Lovers!" shop inside with their "How Merlot Can You Go?!" bedazzled aprons and As-Seen-on-TV garlic choppers, I have to believe that Steinbeck is in a constant twirling spin in his grave. Because really? Not *quite* the Cannery Row of Steinbeck. I don't recall the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant anywhere in that book.

One of the shops in the "Cannery Row of John Steinbeck." And for the record, I'd beg to differ about the "fine chocolates" part of their title. Barrels of saltwater taffy and M&Ms does not make you a fine chocolatier.

And are you kidding me with this?! Candy cigarettes? Didn't those go out of vogue (and production) when I was like, eight? Here kiddies! Grab a pack of candy Lucky Strikes! Everybody's doing it! Apparently this little barrel of faux cigarettes is what is lending Candy Land it's historical accuracy and therefore legitimizing it's place in the "Cannery Row of John Steinbeck".

This is the type of religion I can really get behind.

Look at all this canday!!!! This totally makes up for the frog hat...
...But I'm still going streaking later.

First, though, I'm going to climb these rocks....

Survey the land...

...aaaaand maybe do the Funky Chicken.

Stairs to nowhere...

the real chocolatiers

You can't read it really well, but that's an excerpt from Steinbeck's "Cannery Row"--the only thing there that was REALLY from the Cannery Row of John Steinbeck

The showy harlot of a boat that I absolutely loved.

Seriously, kid. Give the grimace a rest!

probably in the process of a "shock and awe" attack on a group of seagulls. Or, stretching for his streaking escapade, as this was just moments before his naked jaunt through the park.

Placards all over the sidewalks mark the locations of old sardine canneries. Don't they make sardines look lovely? Who WOULDN'T use lilies to advertise sardines?! Makes perfect sense to me.


Robyn said...

mmm...Sarah I LOVED candy cigarettes!!! And was recently in front of a lovely group of mother and children at the grocery store- the kiddos "puffing" away on their candy cigs. Nice.

Sarah said...

CANDY CIGARETTES!!! Awesome. LOVE these pictures-- they are gorgeous. You've got to read Murder by the Sea by Layne Littlepage. It's a charmingly kitschy mystery set in Carmel-by-the-Sea and featuring a community theater troupe...

Grandma Bear said...

We should have made the trip while we were out there as perhaps at least one of us might have not been overcome by laughter and have been able to capture the streaking forever! Certainly not what John Steinbeck was thinking about, but quite an experience in any case.

Becca said...

Those stairs are terrifying.

Love the streaking. LOVE. Charlie walks right out of public bathroom stalls with his pants around his ankles. Charming.

Monica said...

omg! LMAO reading the streaking story. You gotta admit that is too, too funny. Love the captions too. You are lucky to live near so many amazing places to visit. The big tourist attraction where I live is the Amish. Woohoo.