California Dreamin’

It’s been 5 days since I have returned to Cofradía de Suchitlán, so I am way overdue to write about my time at my cousin’s in Sacramento, California, where I visited from September 1 – 5th.

She had predicted temperatures around 100 degrees, but they were only in the 80’s and 90’s.  Since it was the start of a long Labor Day weekend, we didn’t want to go too far and get stuck in traffic, so we stayed local, plus spent a day in San Francisco.

I went there never having spent any time in California except to catch a connecting flight, so the only thing I found on my internet search was the Crocker Museum of art. We did spend several hours there, which was very nice, but I was also anxious to do other things – and it certainly helps when the person you’re with lives there.

One day was spent exploring old Sacramento – the riverfront, the old (or restored) buildings, the old railroad trains and riverboats – it was a nice experience.  Some of the smells reminded me of childhood visits to the boatyard where my grandfather kept his houseboat – the smell of hot tar, the hot, dry sandy soil and the dry, unpainted wooden boards that would inflict splinters into your skin if you weren’t careful.

All this came back to me as we walked through the old town that had the appearance of the old “Gold Rush” era – wooden sidewalks, wooden buildings, including a reconstruction of the original Wells Fargo office.  There were also some men in uniform with their horses and tents with a sign that said “2nd California Cavalry, Company F, Living-History on Horseback!1861-1866” Apparently there was also an event called Gold Rush Days which was going to be held for the Labor Day weekend.  However, we DID spend the day exploring and I felt we had seen enough and didn’t need to spend every day at the Gold Rush Days.

We also spent a day in San Francisco. Our first stop was the Japanese Tea Gardens. Got there about 10 minutes before they opened, and I was glad I had brought my windbreaker. It was chilly and my hands were freezing – or maybe my blood has thinned out from living in Mexico…  Comedians make fun of people who live in the state of Florida and bundle up and complain of the cold when the temperature is in the 60’s, and now I fear I have become one of them!!!!!

At any rate, the garden was gorgeous and very tranquil, and I took tons of pictures. Some of them reminded me of paintings, especially lily pads in the water.  I remember when I was still in nursing school in Brooklyn, my dream was that after I graduated in 1970, I would learn Japanese and then go to Japan, exploring on my own the parts where people did not speak English –  but then I went down a different path.

We stopped for hot cups of tea beside one of the ponds and then also visited the gift shop. So many lovely tea sets and sake sets – perhaps I will have some Japanese dishware when I move into my house. Very strange, when I lived in New York, I had a new set of dishes with Mexican-style patterns. Now that I am actually living in Mexico, those Japanese dishes and teapots are calling my name…

After the Japanese Tea Garden, we crossed the street to visit the botanic gardens.  Awesome plants, trees, lawns, fountains over so many acres. In the succulent section were maroon plants that resembled flowers made from wood that I had seen for sale in shops in the past.

My favorite area was a pathway that had descriptions of plant life from prehistoric times, with living plants that were examples of what would have been growing on the earth at that time.

We drove past the beach, hoping to be able to stop there. Perhaps it was because it was a weekend, or that it was Labor Day weekend, but everyone else seemed to have had the same idea. Every parking lot was full, and cars were parked bumper-to-bumper at the curbs. There was not a spot to be had, so we drove past it several times as I observed the Pacific Ocean from the car window.

We did find parking near Fisherman’s Wharf, however, and walked around, observing Alcatraz from a distance and the Golden Gate Bridge half-covered in fog in the distance.  It was initially wall-to-wall people and between that and the parking it felt as if I was back in New York City.

Meanwhile, on Monday morning we returned to John C. Fremont Park in Sacramento, where the “Chalk It Up” festival had been taking place for 3 days. There was music and food vendors and people creating works of art with chalk on the sidewalks surrounding the park.  There was everything from portraits of Frida Kahlo to cartoon characters and many other types of drawings in between.  Some people would draw freehand and some made grids on the cement and then drew from a smaller picture they brought with them.  A good time was had by all, and it was a very enjoyable experience.

And I have so many photographs, probably too many to include on this post, so I will try to narrow it down to a nice and manageable selection. In any case, it is getting late, so I need to finish up. We had a tremendous thunderstorm here tonight, lasting several hours, with the internet being very spotty the entire time, so I have been writing this as a Word document, which I will copy and paste onto my WordPress site.  Then I will add my photos, and thereafter say Good Night to You All…..


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