It happened in Monterey

Marin County is pleasant enough, but occasionally one feels the urge to experience something different, and we picked Monterey for our experiment. It is a mere 3 hours away (by car) from the Bay Area and in fairly easy reach.

The master plan  was to meet some friends out there and rock the casbah in their company; we ultimately made contact at the Old Fisherman’s Wharf parking lot where we had to struggle with an obstinate parking ticket vending machine. It refused to accept our credit cards but finally (grudgingly) obliged. You should know that Monterey is quite discriminate and does not look kindly on interlopers.

In the past, I had visited Monterey a few times and enjoyed the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. But this time it looked like a tired, over powdered old lady trying too hard to please. And don’t expect to get a good meal in the local “gargotes” (greasy spoons). The Old Wharf is a place that you ought to visit only once and forget forever. We nevertheless bought ice-creams to contribute to the impoverished local economy.

Fortunately, Pacific Grove does not age and is still looking as gorgeous as ever. It can be explored a thousand times without ever feeling any weariness. I of course took a lot of pictures of the coast and of the restless ocean.

Our friends then introduced us to a singular resident of that area. Bon vivant, gourmet, raconteur, sailor, aviator, multilingual, musician… it looked like this man (whose admitted goal in life is to live beyond his means) went everywhere, did everything, and met anybody of importance (including Putin… yes, the Russian dude).

After offering drinks and appetizers, he prepared an excellent dinner, and later regaled us with a few nostalgic tunes played on his accordion.
Recently widowed, he also declared that he would marry any woman who would bring him a McLaren car as a dowry. Ladies, if are looking for a good man (and can afford such a car) I could possibly put you in touch.

The next day, Alex took us to sprawling Sticks Sports Bar in Pebble Beach where we had an excellent lunch. And it is not called a Sports bar for nothing… while munching on an excellent club sandwich, I counted no less than 7 giant television screens hanging on the walls of our room.

The next morning, we broke fast at First Awakenings, an excellent local café serving huge, excellent breakfasts to stray tourists. My bacon/mushrooms Eggs Benedict were particularly tasty.

After exploring the coast one more time, we motorcade back to Marin just in time to avoid the rain. And that’s how we spent a few days in Monterey, far away from the sound and fury of boisterous Marin County.

Alain

PS: Have a look at a few photos

Oktoberfest 2021

Jean-Michel Poulnot (in the middle) and Addie on the right.

Despite the threatening rain, Oktoberfest 2021 took place as planned last Sunday in Sonoma… with maybe a little lot less drinking and carousing than in Munich. For those who expected lots of lederhosen, dirndls, bratwursts, and Oom Pah Pah music, it fell a little short of expectations. But still, 54 people (without counting the canines) signed up to play and showed up on time.

I went to Sonoma with the firm intention of doing nothing but taking pictures, but in this world, nothing ever works exactly as planned. Toward the end of the day, one player (probably disgusted by his performance) defected, and I agreed to take his place for the 4th game of the day. We lost 7/13 on a thoroughly wicked area of the field.

But before we get to this… when the list of the players was posted, I noticed a lot of new names (which is good); but missing were the last names of all the players involved (which is bad). For us, out-of-towners, it is confusing and annoying; especially for those trying to write a little report of this event.

Two games were played in the morning, and two in the afternoon. In the morning I shot numerous pictures with a long-focus lens which allows me to discreetly record the antics of all players without their knowledge. An interesting pétanque picture to me has two phases: the split second the player releases his boule, and a few seconds later, his reaction to his (successful or failed) attempt. I particularly love the second phase… when I can catch it.

Let’s not forget either that pétanque is just a game not to be taken too seriously. You might disagree with your opponents about the validity of some points, but this is no reason to get unduly excited. Every player has the right to remeasure any contested point and should do so if disagreeing with the original assessment.

By the way, getting testy about some points is not the prerogative of youth. Some senior citizens proved to be equally feisty and didn’t hesitate (despite their advanced age) to get on all four to measure some contested points. For my part, I’d rather give you a contested point to avoid getting on my knees and to further irritate my aching back.

Around 4:00 pm the local Oktoberfest was over… and we didn’t get soaked.

The winners:

1st place: Jean-Michel Poulnot & Addie (no last name)
2nd place : Tim Wetzel & François Moser
3rd place : Peter Wellington & Mireille Di Maio

Alain

 PS : Plenty of pictures

Hot and cold

What do you do when your mate is afflicted by a disorder known as “the hotties”? The symptoms: she is getting uncomfortably hot when I am shivering, and insists on keeping all windows open, regardless of the weather conditions. It has been a Homeric struggle between the Bushwoman and the Eskimo.

Would you believe that she is also prone to frolic “au naturel” when I am quivering in flannel shirts and long johns? Well, Your Honor, this is my predicament… my Way of the Cross… and I hope that you will show some sympathy for my kettle of fish.

There can be a snowstorm or a blizzard raging outside, and she will still insist on letting some “fresh air” in. Her internal thermostat is obviously out of kilter and needs to be fixed… But she does not think so. She would rather believe that I am a weakling who needs to be toughened up… and molded into her own image.

Well, my friends, I’ll have you know that I am no namby-pamby and capable of extraordinary feats. My extreme modesty prevents me from enumerating all my past accomplishments here, but take my storyteller word for it.

It is said that opposites attract, and that’s probably what happened to us. She is hot and I am cool, and we both agreed to disagree on that subject. But attraction has its limits… especially in the hotness department. The question is “Can a hot lady be cool?”

Thinking of it, this might be the wrong way to express my concerns since hot babes usually parade in micro-bikinis. The problem is that they are hot and cool at the same time. It is very confusing for men, especially for a slow-witted guy like me.

To my defense, I should also say that I was born and raised in a temperate, civilized, climate… not in some desolate snow-covered acres where the temperature hovers between 26 and 16 degrees in winter. When you are used to live in freezing climate, you are naturally hot anywhere else…

“I don’t like to commit myself about heaven and hell – you see, I have friends in both places.” ~ Mark Twain

 Like Mark Twain, I am sure that I also have friends in both places. Probaly more in Hell… But since I am always cold, Hell might be more tolerable to me; for her though, the heat is going to be “hellish”. And I don’t think that you can haggle with the Prince of Darkness…

I understand that Hell might be a bit uncomfortable, but socially speaking, you meet much more interesting people there than among the stuck-up do-gooders of Heaven.

That’s all for today folks. I hope that you empathize with my predicament and side with me regarding this hot issue.

Alain

PS: I discovered a few lost photos on my little Canon camera. Check the last event to see them.