Sunday, May 24, 2020

Exploring Ventura - Escaping Los Angeles Lockdown

Elder and me at Serra Cross,
Ventura County
Elder drove up from Baldwin Park to Ventura - his first road trip in his new black Audi. He didn't have his license yet, but he was driving on his permit, and I was there to guide him.

One day he called me and said, "I want to see the blue water."

"Oh - the bioluminescence?"

"Yeah - that."

"Ok - let's go this weekend. Ventura is out of lockdown."

He picked me up in his car, and we headed out of Los Angeles through the El Camino Real - also known as highway 101 or the King's Road.

"Let us go then, you and I, / When the [afternoon] is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table . . ."

In the car, I played PitBull's song - Time of Our Lives. I told him this our theme song, because we're going to have the time of our lives. "We'll pretend we're in another country and enjoy the day."

We started at a hike at the top of a hill, which overlooked Ventura. From there - you could see the blue Pacific Ocean. It was as blue as a the most peaceful moment.

At the top of the hill, I found some medicinal herbs growing wildly. I also found some wild flowers. We picked them to grow in my garden. We also plucked two flowers for our mothers. Something to show them that we remembered them.

The hiking trail was closed, and we were defying the law. We walked up to the top of the hill, which other people did too.

But when we returned to the car park, a police officer almost gave us a parking ticket. I told Elder - "What a Nazi. Doesn't he have anything else better to do on a Saturday than to come up to hill to prevent people going on a hike?" (Seriously, these government people have come to the point where they just don't want us to have fun.)

From there - Elder found parking by the City Hall. And we then walked around downtown. We went through the crowded tourist streets that sounded like muttering retreats.

We started at a bookstore that was 35 years old and owned by an older Norwegian woman. There were so many people in the store. And the store had a classic and quaint personality. In there, it was full of volumes of books of curious and forgotten lore.

I talked with here and greeted her in Swedish. She was taken back and said, "I can understand Swedish, but we say things differently."

"I learned, when I was in Stockholm."

She helped out other customers. I picked up an old book that showed all the hidden trails in California. It was from the 80's. I opened it up and showed Elder the different trails and pointed to them and said, "We can go there next time." "Or here." "Or here."

The store owner taught me how to say goodbye in Norwegian. She was happy we said it so formally and politely.

Then we went to a coffee shop - which was open and had tables outside for people to sit down at. I ordered a cappuccino - something I hadn't drank in a long, long time. And for Elder - a soy hot chocolate.

We sat outside. Drank our hot drinks, and we watched all the people coming and going. They were happy and celebrating the fact that lockdown was over. People were bringing their dogs out. One girl had a beautiful Rottweiler, and I asked if I could pet it, and she was happy I did so. I always wanted one.

A number of people talked to us. Our theme was always the same - "We're here to escape the Los Angeles lockdown." There were other people from LA also escaping it. We saw a number of cars lining up to go to Channel Islands too.

Then, Elder and I walked around and sat down at a Greek Restaurant. He never ate at a Mediterranean Restaurant. We ordered a special set of fries that had lamb, feta cheese, and yoghurt on it. It was so amazing and incredible. The meat was so full of flavor and was juicy.

The restaurant was crowded and an elderly lady sat next to us and started talking to us. She said she lived part of her life in the South of France; so, I started talking to her in French. My French is bad, but I could still understand her and that was good. And I was happy that I could understand her.

After we finished our food, we walked to different antique stores and the owners of them would greet us and tell them about their lives and their stores and their stories. Telling one's story is a real American thing.

We walked to the mission, which was opened in 1782 - just six years after America became a country. The priest came out and lit palo santo wood - which smelled fragrant and holy and drove out evil spirits from the area. He spoke to us in Spanish and told us he was from Jalisco Mexico and was priest for 20-something years.

After, we walked around more. Then we bought some gelato - pistachio and strawberry. I don't think Elder had gelato and never had the classic pistachio one. We ate it. It was good and sweet and made one feel happy.

Girl making heart on the beach in
Then we walked to the beach and the pier and shot some photos. Sunset was coming and we had run out of time. I picked up some charcoal grilled pizza, and we had to leave Ventura.

I wanted to drive on the Pacific Coast Highway before nightfall. We made it just in time. And we drove down Highway 1 along the coast.

And at sunset, we got out of the car and sat down on the beach. There were other people around us, and we watched as the sun set below the horizon. You couldn't really see it well though, because there was too much mist in the air, which clouded the visibility.

Sadly - we were back in LA County though and police car came and chased us off. I told Elder - "They're evil, I tell you - like that police officer in Ventura who had nothing better to do than ticket hikers.

"We're back in LA Lockdown. They just don't want us having fun - because that means we don't believe in a crisis happening."

After, we drove through Highway 1, going through Zuma and Malibu and Santa Monica. And that was it. I played another song - Jim Croce's Time in a Bottle. (Incidentally, I think Quick Silver is awesome in the new X-men movies - in which they play the song.) And the songs say -

But there never seems to be enough time 
To do the things you want to do 
Once you find them

That was it. Elder finished his first road trip, his first time to Ventura, and his first time eating Greek food and gelato. We never saw the bioluminescence, which used to be call the Blue Tides. But we had a good time, escaped lockdown for awhile, and made the most of a day. Maybe one day we'll find an old pirate's treasure map, find that treasure, and then strike it rich.

And I know exactly where to find the map. It's hidden in that old bookstore in Ventura.

No comments:

Post a Comment