Day 2 started earlier than anticipated and cloudy. Since we didn’t get to sleep until almost 11pm Pacific Standard time, you would think we would wake up around 8-9am. Nope, 7am. And, we were starving. So we got around and did a search of breakfast places. IHOP was well-known to us, so we opted to go that route. It was way more expensive with smaller portions than we anticipated. IHOP soon hit our “Do not try again” list - at least in California. We actually liked IHOP where we live - it was one of the places we went on our first date.
Afterwards, we had some time to waste while we waited for the time to meet up with my friend, Diana Murdock. We were planning on meeting her and going out for lunch around 1pm. There was a strip mall called Irvine Spectrum nearby, so we decided to walk around there. Most of the shops were pretty cookie cutter – Nordstrums, Hot Topic, etc. – but there were some unique places we haven’t been to before, like Dave & Busters. Oh, we have one around us –not very close, though - so neither one of us had ever been to one. It didn’t open until 11am, so we had to waste time before we could waste time there. We walked around and became quite thirsty. It was a dry heat around 88 degrees Fahrenheit; the sun was bright and baking us from overhead in the open pathways of the mall. We looked in at a few places and discovered none of them had air conditioning – what an odd thing to discover in the valley desert of California. We finally decided to stop at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf place to get a caramel ice blended drink and frozen tea with fruit. It helped me cool off, at least. As we were enjoying our drinks, the place started to get crowded. It was after eleven at this time, so we hunted down Dave & Buster’s again.
It was open and already filling with kids. We purchased a card and put on some tokens and played a few games. There was a neat flight simulator game we both enjoyed, but the tokens ran out, the kids crowded in and we took our leave. It was past to noon at that point and we decided to put in her address into the GPS to get going.
|Driving along Huntington Beach, looking toward the Pier with Ruby's|
We loaded into the red Jeep she was borrowing from her brother after releasing it from its tarp and getting all its quirky mechanics figured out. It was a great ride with the wind in your hair, chatting away serenely with a woman I never met in life before, but had felt a very strong bond with from the start. She drove us to Huntington Beach, describing along the way routes her son would take on his bike and his first impressions of the city life after have lived in rural Idaho. Parking became a slight disadvantage when we arrived – it was lunch time and the beach, which didn’t make for a good combination when you were interested in eating lunch on the beach. We had a little bit of a hike, but nothing major. Then there was a wait at Ruby’s. The time flew by as Diana and I chatted on and on. We had a ton to catch up on. My boyfriend enjoyed the view of the water at the end of the pier while we waited for our table to be called and managed to see a pair of dolphins in the water. Diana and I were so immersed in our conversation he had no chance to interrupt and let us know what we were missing. At this point in the conversation we were discussing our writing. I’m working on a short story for a mermaid anthology that she introduced me to, she recently finished writing a fairy tale for another anthology and I told her what I was hoping to do with this blog.
Our table was called and we ordered. I got the shrimp tacos, she the veggie tacos, and my boyfriend got the breaded shrimp and fries. I think I drank three glasses of water. You work up a thirst with all that talking.
Afterwards, we went across the street where there were street sales going on at the shops. I found a couple of necklaces for my girls ($6.99/each) and a couple of sunglasses (2 for $16). I had lost my white pair in the Kalamazoo River while kayaking with my boyfriend, so I was pleased to find another pair I liked. There will be some photos in the next post with me wearing them. Diana found a backpack for her son. Only my boyfriend didn’t find what he was looking for in sunglasses. Most of those kiosk style vendors had all the same variety of sunglasses we had already seen at Irvine Spectrum. There may have been a few pairs that were different, but they just weren’t what he was looking. (Since we got home, his favorite pair broke. Wish we had put extra effort into finding what he liked.)
We returned to Diana’s place and talked about metaphysical things. Strange happenings, the mirror phenomena, experiences with spiritual people in the area, our path and if we’re still working on our spiritual paths. She lives in a busy place and keeps busy, and I have been busy with new things in my life; therefore, neither of us were happy with our current state of progress. It’s a push, sometimes, to focus on oneself. To be immersed, even for 17 seconds, in one thought can seem to be the most impossible thing in a world that expects you to be able to do at least five different things at once in that time frame. I think getting back into writing will give me more focus in that area. Just what I am doing now helps me to slow down and take a look at myself and my life. Getting my thoughts together and stringing them into coherent sentences to write this blog post has given me more focus. Then the added focus for the writing and reading assignments for my class at Western Michigan University has pushed me further along my course. I don’t know how you can’t find a bit of cathartic release in writing down mundane thoughts and finding golden nuggets of self-discovery within them. But, I’ll save that for another blog post.
Back at the hotel, we went for a refreshing swim in the pool to cool off again and decide on our next adventure for the remainder of the day. We decided seeing a sunset on the beach would be the best thing to wrap up this day and my boyfriend did some research online to discover some places around Laguna Beach that were highly recommended. We put in an art museum address into the GPS in order to find the beach setting that was getting such great reviews and headed out.We arrived with an hour to spare before the big event, so we took the time to walk along the pathways provided, skirting other tourists, enjoying the landscaping and artistic flares everywhere. Laguna Beach, like most of that part of California, was full of art museums, enclaves, exhibits and learning opportunities. The winding cement path took us down toward the beach where you can see how the water cut into the rocks lining the beach. I hunted around for “treasures” – starfish and sea anemones or urchins that would wash into the tide pools – but didn't find any. The likelihood of finding them in an evening tide would be rare and a far greater treasure, but it would be more likely to find as the morning tide went out and left these sea creatures behind. Several photo shoots were occurring around us. A bride and groom and their bridal party were getting themselves shot with the crashing waves coming up behind them. A pregnant woman and her husband were getting their photos done not far from the bridal party. Several amateur photo shoots were happening between daughters and mothers, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, etc. I wasn't to be without my photos and caught a few with my boyfriend as well.
The beach was shrinking away to a small strip of wet sand, so we returned up the winding and steep pathway to follow it along the cliffs of Laguna Beach where we found a nice overhang with a bench provided. Only a cement balustrade and iron railing kept you safe from the long fall below. The bench was hard stone, large enough to fit many people wishing to enjoy the view and curved to mimic the curvature of the overhang. There were many people crowding the area as we all watched the sun begin its descent into the flowing waters of the Pacific. Palm trees provided a silhouette against the sky along the shoreline in the distance and clouds continually kept us alert to whether we will see the final plunge or not. Cooling breezes came off the ocean along with briny scents and the melodic sounds of the waters below; moving with synchronicity with the moon’s pull.
People were getting photo opportunities with the descending sun behind them. Several people were walking their dogs along the path. Some stopped to greet a couple with their lazy dog rolling around on the walkway. It was great fun to watch a poodle try to engage the lazy pooch in some play. It managed to get to its feet and watch the poodle carry on with some bemused chuffs and rumbles.
Then the sun descended and all the people started speaking in hushed tones and the focus became more on the event than anything else around them. Only the children seemed to not notice the grandness of the sun slipping into the cooling waters of the Pacific Ocean in a brilliant display of gold. The rippling water reflected the gold, and the rocks glowed as if they were made of the precious metal, too. Twilight descended upon us and the remnants of the sunset still glowed in the clouds as we worked our way out of the crowd, back toward the car. It was time to find dinner.
As richly as we have been eating lately, we wanted a light dinner and opted on Olive Garden for some salad and breadsticks. The drive progressed into darkness rapidly and we found ourselves driving through several art openings and passing art centers as we climbed into the nearby mountains. We were descending from the mountains again as we arrived to our destination. It was crowded in the vestibule, but the bar was open and we decided to eat there. We had a couple of cocktails and some wine and appetizers before the salad came. Breaded mozzarella, fried zucchini, and calamari were a rich beginning to our dinner of flavorful salad.
Afterwards we returned to the hotel room and fell asleep almost instantly.