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California - June 2022 - Day 5

All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown) And the sky is Grey (and the sky is Grey)

Despite Karen’s reservations about the room, it was actually very comfortable and we all had a good night’s sleep, apart from the fact I was woken with a call at 6.45am from Vitality Health about my request to see a consultant regarding my knee. They explained I had apparently missed a step out in their process. Not impressed I had no option other than comply though.

As there was no breakfast on offer, we were ready to leave for the day to go and explore Monterey by 9am before the booked whale watching trip in the afternoon.

We headed towards Cannery Row, which was where the sardine catch used to be canned as well as being immortalised in the John Steinbeck novel. We looked for a car park but none of them charged by the hour and started at $15 for the day. Our plan was to only be here for 2-3 hours before relocating to Old Fisherman’s Wharf. There was plenty of on street parking available but we didn’t have enough coins to feed the meters nor were we able to download the local parking app which was only available in the US Apple App Store.

Very unlike me I started to get frustrated. Karen just said we had to bite the bullet and pay the fee elsewhere but both Neil & I were adamant that we wouldn’t. I ventured up the hill and about 4 blocks back found free roadside parking. The locals obviously know about this as most spots were taken but I managed to manoeuvre our large SUV into one. I felt a small victory to me.

Payback though was almost instant as I then had to walk down quite steep hills 4 blocks to Cannery Row with a knee that complained bitterly. Perhaps I hadn’t thought that through properly - doh!

Cannery Row was another interesting mish mash of tacky and more up market shops and cafes. We stopped in Starbucks to have a drink and breakfast which was very pleasant.

We also stopped when we got as far as the Aquarium. We didn’t go in as it was $50 each to do so and Karen & Neil were hopefully of seeing lots of sea life this afternoon. Instead, we stood for a while behind it admiring the view out to sea trying to spot the sea otters.

Walking slowly back to the car we passed the Pebble Beach Golf outlet shop which we popped in and Neil bought himself a T Shirt which had been reduced to normal prices. We assumed on the course itself that they were too posh to offer reductions.

We came across a statue of lots of people who were associated with Monterey sitting on a rock. It was very good and got us wondering why Norwich didn’t have the same thing and if they did who would be on it. I suggested Ron Saunders, Delia and Sarah Glover (look her up), whilst Neil went for Elsie Bartram, Jeremiah Colman and Nelson. We all agreed it would be an excellent additional attraction for Norwich although Neil was still campaigning for more fountains in the City Centre as well.

After this we headed back up the hill (very slowly in my case) to the car and drove ot Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Here we agreed we would pay the car park which was charged at $1 per minutes with a maximum $15 for the day. We wandered out along the Wharf to find the departure point for the whale watching trip. Only Karen & Neil were booked as though I would have liked to see real whales in the wild, there was no way I could handle the potential sea sickness. I have been known to suffer on a glass boat tour in the Keys on what the captain quoted was the calmest day of the year. Instead, I intended to find a quiet spot to sit and wait for their return. I was almost looking forward to the ‘down’ time.

Karen & Neil then needed to grab some lunch before checking in for their 1.30pm departure. Neil hot footed it downtown to get himself a sandwich whilst Karen did so from the wharf. I decided to wait to get mine till they were on the boat to help pass the time waiting.

We then made our way back to the departure point and Karen & Neil went inside. I could see much chat taking place and so went in myself only to learn that the trip had just been cancelled as had all the alternative trips from alternative operators due to choppy seas.

Well from what we could see it the sea looked calm but apparently miles out it wasn’t. I was not happy and upset for them both as they had been so looking forward to this excursion. They were offered to go any other day but of course that wasn’t possible as we were moving on the next day. The girl dealing with us was polite and of course I knew it wasn’t her fault but she didn’t show any empathy. She thought I was more concerned about the refund whereas I was more concerned that two of the people I love and care about more than anything was being let down.

To be fair Neil took it stoically. Karen didn’t.

They both decided I should get my own lunch whilst we considered our options of what to do next. Naturally I chose to have Clam Chowder in a bread bowl which was good but not as good as I had had in San Francisco.

We decided to walk into Downtown to get a drink from Starbucks. In doing so we passed the conference centre. We had seen may conference attendees wandering around. Neil and I were delighted with a warped sense of humour to find they were from a WAPA conference which served the Tree Nut Industry (Specialising in Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios and Pecans. Can you imagine what some of the breakout sessions might be about? This kept me amused for ages.

At Starbucks we sat outside and from the number of options we came up with, Neil chose that we should visit the nearest Premium Outlets for the rest of the afternoon. I was just happy to be doing something that was of his choice to make up for his disappointment at not seeing any whales.

We drove the 40 minutes to the outlets which were all outside and split into quarters on different roads. Karen & I visited the Columbia outlet and replaced the final bits that had been stolen.

Although there were some restaurants near the outlets, we decided it was too early to eat and so headed back to Monterey. We headed to the Del Monte Mall where there some restaurants and after a bit of a hunt settled upon the Lalla Grill to enjoy our custom. We sat outside surrounded by heaters (ironic when the temperature at home was hitting 34c). The Food was excellent. We all had chicken. Karen & I enjoyed ours with pasta whilst Neil had his grilled with new potatoes. We all agreed that it was the best meal we had had this trip.

Karen & Neil then popped into Whole Foods to get some milk and snacks. They came out moaning about the prices as everything was apparently organic.

Although early after again putting ice on my knee I was soon asleep in bed by 10am. These holidays can be quite tiring.

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