Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Last Night Was a Trip!!!!

 A trip to Capitol Hill in Seattle at 9:30 pm  for a book release at the legendary Elliott Bay Book Company. Well Capitol Hill was booming in ways that I didn't expect. It was a pretty chilly night around 36 F. You would not have thought so looking around. A group of young people were playing some kind of a game in a small basketball court on their bicycle (didn't know that game). They were having such a good time it was contagious. Then after parking the car (only a 100yards from the bookstore by the way) I glanced in a small shop that happened to be an ice cream parlor. About eight customers in there were having an ice cream..... It was invented by Eskimos so I guess it is the right thing to consume in a cold night. I was more looking for something hot and full of caffeine for myself though.

After paying for my preordered book and put my name in a bowl for a chance to get a signed copy of Huraki Murakami's new book "1Q84" , I browsed the store. Nice store, with a great selection that made me salivate a lot. Their poetry selection occupied me for a long while, then the art section on African Art, and their Graphic Novels, and again their fiction shelves, their magazines racks. My self control was set on maximum, I was getting dizzy, I was bargaining with myself, justifying why I needed everything I was touching!!! I am very proud to report that I stuck to only purchasing what I had come for: one book and that choice had been made before even coming here. A tragedy in itself! but a brake through in self-discipline... The clock stroke 12 and then the suspense got really thick, and after the booksellers gave away about 19 of the signed  copies on hand to 19 other people than meeeeee.      I heard my name!!!!! Oh Joy!!!!

My lunatic venture had been rewarded.... It is a very nice dense book with oh so soft pages and a lovely font. I had to celebrate! so, I had a Vanilla Shake and French Fries. I know, I know but it was in sync with the rest of the whole experience. Another memorable little episode of my life.
Now I need to make time to read this long awaited book.
PS: I now know what that bicycle game is called: Bicycle Polo!!! Of course

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Big Sur, Pour Sur

When my friend Mimi said come and visit me while I am house sitting in Big Sur in October I was not as sure as I should have been. After many calculation to make everything work here we were, Bunny and I, taking the plane to San Jose. So we get our rental car and I drive for two hours in an ok weather and already feeling we were not in Kansas anymore we were hoooooo ing and haaaa ing about the view around every curve of the coastal road. Opening our windows the sweet smell of the flowers and fragrant bushes along the road opens up our spirit at once. We are on vacation...Yey! The ocean this vast beautiful expense of vast expectation. So here we were arriving in Big Sur being the good tourists that we are buying already postcards, wine, coffee and cream, the essentials for a perfect stay in an unknown house. Mimi meets us on the side of the road by the Lucia 22 miles post and we are following her as she opens few gates with a push of a button and we are rough roading on the side of the many hills overlooking the ocean.
Live oaks, agave, sage brush, cactus, all the regular Californian vegetation is welcoming us already. Paradise Sweet Paradise, those words are coming to mind as soon as we set foot on that special property. Nothing ostentatious about the place except being perfect. The yard, the house, the sea, the vertical decline to the shore, the expanse of the vista, the hummingbirds, the bees feasting on the fushias, the trees with their natural gentle curves and foliage, everything in perfect harmony. Not a soul or another habitation to disturb the peaceful scenery. Instant calm and "bien etre". Mimi takes us on a tour of the place and we decide on our rooms. I am to sleep in the "love shack"!!! of course all by myself this word means that I am to pamper myself. My yoga teacher would be happy with me. lol.
Attached to the house but with a private entrance I am in a little suite close to the jaccuzi and the little gravel walk to the lower level deck where the view continues to amaze this visitor. In the morning the clouds down below are pushed away in a direct north to south ligne, surely one of the designated daily angel blowing gently in the air to let the viewer admire natures beauty, very much like opening the morning curtains. From now on and for 5 days, perfection was to be on the menu. Every adventure taken was a happy joyful beautiful one. The restaurants around are just amazing. Big Sur Bakery Restaurant offers first class dinning. The Nepenthe another landmark restaurant is now a big money machine with a huge giftshop that you could plan your vacation around. Their cookbook is a must though. We ended up eating instead at Post Ranch's restaurant. "Sierra Mar" We were there for lunch, the sun was out and the water showed it's multitude of diamonds on it's surface. Perfect experience all around, we even encountered the free range wild turkeys and the black tail deers that were on the menu on our way up to find the restaurant.... but that is a different story.... We visited "La Ventana" another restaurant close by. We took a side trip to the Hearst Castle 50 miles of so south down the coast. Well worth the drive as the scenery is amazing. Stopping few times along the road for seals and surfers, ocean waves rubans enfurling in long slow motions. We got to visit the Hermitage, a monastery in the sky, were you can go to retreat and meditate amongst the monks. I bought a jar of creamy honey that is just so thick and fragrant, I love it. Father Arthur Poulin is one of the 22 Monks residing here but is also an artist and his work reminds me of the one of Rabusin one of the naif painters that I admire. The Camaldolese Monks are commited to silent, contemplative prayer. They pray for peace. Not far down is the Esalen Institute where I would love to go for one of their yoga retreat. One day maybe... Another place worth mentioning is the Henry Miller's Library, an energetic place under giant redwoods. Very funky. Henry Miller claimed that Big Sur was the place "where nothing happens", I know what he meant even though plenty must have happened but not in it's regular sense. I had the sense in 5 days to have done very little but when I analysed what happened in 5 days it was a lot just that what went on was all in a pace that matched my heart beat and the natural flow of the tides, the gentle movement of the planet and the movement of the tree branches. The birds were playing with the wind, my eyes were playing with them. So relaxed and reposed I came back with stars in my eyes and plenty of memories to keep the sun shining in the dark days of winter so I want to send up into the Universe, to all that made these five days possible, a huge Thank You! Namaste.