So Dad and I got on an airplane and flew to Calfornia. Airplane was a real downer - it was a 727 I think and they let me check out the cockpit but it was just hundreds of teeny gages everywhere, no cool big displays, no nifty gadgets. where's the fun? Anyway, we landed around 2:00 and drove downtown. Not being sure how to waste the time, we went to the capital building and walked around. It was pretty. There were lots of people there waiting for ARNOLD to come out, and aides that emerged from the office every few seconds saying, "HE'S NOT COMING, YOU'RE WASTING YOUR TIME!"
After things closed we walked around this mall that was outside. It was cool, because it's just like a mall but outside, but there were all these thugs and homeless people out there shouting at us (did we look like tourists or what?). Some homeless guy asked us for money so he could buy a salad, that was kinda funny.
It was late so we went to Vacaville where our first night hotel was (we had a free room there). We asked the hotel girl where a good place to eat was, and she was like, "Dennys is close, and there's Applebee's." We explained that we'd just flown a lot of miles and didn't really want to eat at a place we've got in Kansas... any good local spots? She was stunned... deer in the headlights style.
Following that lost cause we found a decent mexican joint. We ate, came back, unpacked and slept.
Wednesday: Napa and San Francisco
Months ago when planning this trip to california for the sole purpose of watching the track & field olympic trials, my mother indicated that she would disown us if we didn't go to Napa Valley. We scoffed at her but did it anyway, and as it turns out she's a smart woman, Napa is incredible. We went and tasted wine at different vineyards... Mondavi, Beringer, Charles Krug. We ate lunch at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and it was incredible. I wasn't sure what all we were eating but we were amazed. It was like $80, and we didn't have wine there, go figure. Perfect though.
After Napa Valley we headed down to San Francisco. We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge and I was totally taken and amazed, I loved it. We went to the fisherman's warf and ate dinner and walked around. We have seafood in Kansas, but it takes a long hard road to get here so we're not too keen on whatever we end up with. I've never had clam chowder that wasn't out of a Campbell's can. So dinner was an experience, and very fun.
I bought a picture of some flowers from a guy painting with spraypaints, just right out on the sidewalk. He was cool.
After that it was getting late so we went to Chinatown. We walked up and down the streets and kept going into shops, not because we wanted to buy anything, but because it was FREEZING and I was wearing a tank top and sandals (because hello, it's july). I did buy a silk scarf, and I looked at teasets but wasn't sure how to get them home.
We returned by going back over the bay bridge. The lights in San Francisco and Oakland are so cool... they build houses right into the hillsides. I'd never seen anything like it.
Thursday: Olympic Trials
Back at Sacramento, the trials weren't starting until 2:00 so we went to the zoo. Okay zoo. I still like Wichita's the best. We went to Old Sacramento, which we decided was officially a tourist trap, and had lunch and shopped. And then it was track meet!
triple jump and steeplechase and high jump were all cool, but the best part was that we were sitting behind this family with "TEAM ERIN" buttons, cheering for a hammer thrower. I looked at the program and sure enough, it was Erin Gilreath, the American record holder, that they were cheering for. We got so excited we cheered right along with them, and sure enough she kicked ass and won, and people around were congratulating us so we had to say, "Hey, we don't know her, we're just excited!"
Marion Jones won the women's long jump. glamour stars get all the publicity... there were so many other great performances, it's a shame she overshadowed them.
At the end of the day my thighs were sunburned. Very painful.
Friday: More Olympic Trials
In the morning we visited some family members we've got in Sacramento that I haven't seen since I was *this high* (and yes, they reminded me immediately of this)
We watched a lot of Decathelon - those guys rock, it was fun. Saw like four jumps in the women's pole vault prelims. Cheered like crazy for the distance races - even the 5K was fun to watch, it's like 12 laps and everybody in the stadium (20000+) went nuts every time the runners came around. It's so cool to watch track with other people who love track! everyone was just awesome. it was kinda hot out, but that's to be expected... the media kept making a big freaking deal about it but the athletes and spectators just went with the flow. i mean, it is summer.
Saturday: More Olympic Trials
more decathelon... tons of it! made me tired just watching those guys. also got to see melvin lister kick ass in the triple jump. triple jump is just poetry, it's so incredible to watch these guys. it's perfect.
at night we hung out with extended family members, we had a big dinner and talked about everything. one of my cousins launched into this deal about how he'd heard that Linux was this great operating system and he thinks everybody should run it because competition is healthy and Microsoft owns too much and I was like, "Yeah dude, I know."
Sunday: Where are we even?
In the morning we rode around with another cousin of mine, who's a cop. It was an adventure, that's all I can say. I'd say more, but not in a public entry.
Track meet was insane and compacted... everything was going on at once, and we only got like three hours of track that day. Got to watch the women's pole vault finals, which was a big reason why we picked the second weekend in the first place. Stacy didn't get the record but everyone was excited about it. Saw high jump through binoculars. The stadium was set up funny... you couldn't move around, you had to sit in YOUR seat unless you got general admission tickets, which were at the end. At least then you could see pole vault really well, or the final straighaway really well, or shot put/discus really well. We just went with that every day. It was cheaper anyhow.
The last day was fast, but very cool and hard to let go of. The intensity was inspirational.
At night, we went back to Old Sacramento and ate on the patio of this mexican place with a mariachi band and everything. It was fun. And that was pretty much the trip. Looking back I can't believe we were there five days, it feels more like two, but we did a lot and saw a lot and I have good memories. Should have taken more pictures.
I had trouble waking up this morning... still on California time or vacation time or something, it wasn't normal. But it's good to be home again