Tuesday, October 03, 2006

non-surfin' safari

so this past weekend i went out to cali to visit H. nearly every trip out there is an adventure, and this time we went on a google maps-induced goosechase to find this heavenly dumpling restaurant near Pasadena we'd sampled before and have been dreaming about ever since. after about an hour of driving around trying to follow directions that made no sense, we tossed those and found our own way. and despite the additional wait, it was well worth all the trouble.

the next day, we went on a safari-- of sorts. first we took a trip to Long Beach, passing some areas i have only heard of in rap songs. then we hopped on a very big boat and embarked for Santa Catalina Island.

Catalina's got wildlife: we saw dolphins jumping out of the water on the way in and took a submarine tour of Lover's Cove, where we fed fat, greedy and orange fish by "torpedo" and dodged kelp that can grow an inch an hour or 2.5 feet per day, given the right conditions if i heard the tourguy correctly. we also had to step over fish guts on the pier and sunbathers who didn't feel the need to remove their socks and running cleats while lying out on a "beach" virtually the width of a sidewalk. (or is it laying out? i'll never understand people who tan. or their lingo.)

then we took a two-hour rollercoaster ride up the mountain to the airport and back and saw some bison leaving presents along the road. it seems when they were making a movie there in 1924,('the vanishing american,' by zane grey) they hauled out some 1400 head of these huge, shaggy animals and didn't have the energy to round them up afterwards. turns out the beasts didn't even make the cut for the movie. so these hulking animals that look like buffalo but aren't buffalo because buffalo live in asia or africa so buffalo wings, 'buffalo' bill, buffalo soldiers and i guess the buffalo stance should all be named for bison instead. ok, maybe not that last one.

the beasts we really had to watch for zipped along streets and sidewalks, spewing exhaust and tooting their little horns. it seemed everyone and their mamma was driving a golf cart. and later we found out there's an 800-car limit for the whole island and a 14-year waiting list to get a non-golfcart vehicle.

but the best creature we saw on the trip had to be this adorable little girl who was about two years old. she was running circles around the square with her older brother and sister while her father ambled along behind, calling 'valentina, slow down!' she caught sight of me with my waffle cone and H with his twix bar sitting on a bench and stopped still in front of us. she cocked her head and smiled. i waved and H chuckled. then she turned around, put her hands on the ground and stared at us from between her little legs until the blood rushed to her head and she nearly fell over. then she'd run around in circles a few more times looking up at the seagulls gliding around, see us again and stop, flip over and smile. over and over.

looking at strange wildlife never gets old.


ButterSnatch said...

I used to live in Orange County (Huntington Beach). I dream of living there again one day. The weather, the scenery, the people, the sights, sounds, smells...

This took me back there. Catalina is one of my favorite places in the US.

omar said...

I wish I had known. I would have had you tell Snoop I said "what's up."

Sounds like a fun trip!

However, "Buffalo wings" are in reference to the location, not the animal. They originated at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY. If you're ever in that area, you may as well stop by there, because there's nothing else to do in Buffalo.

Sam Vern Hoot 'n' Nanny said...

Nanny says she likes dumplings too. Pappy always thought she put them in just to stretch the meal but Nanny insists that the dumplings were the meal. Nanny wants to know, were these the dumplings that are like steamed bisquits or the dumplings that are like fat noodles? - Hoot"

Ale said...

oh how AWESOME! catalina island, so posh!!!! niiiice!!!!!!

and cute dolphins---- they're so grey and wet and look at you with glassy eyes!! awww

cadiz12 said...

well, hoot, tell nanny that she's right, the dumplings were most of the meal. each one is a separate juicy bite of heaven wrapped up in a thin type of "bag," for lack of a better word, made out of thin dough. they get steamed in groups of ten. but ten isn't nearly enough for one person.

there are photos on the link.

Radioactive Jam said...

Okay, so - this Valentina girl was running around, orbiting her older siblings while wearing out her father. Her junk food detector goes off and she spots you and H, or rather the food in your hands. She stops, smiles, waits, gets no "want a bite?" response, and proceeds to - for all practical purposes - moon you. Repeatedly. Is that correct?

Strange wildlife indeed.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Now the travel bug is biting meeeee.

I won't even talk about the wildlife here.