Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Long Beach, California, Part 2

1. On Sunday, I took a taxi cab to church. It was only about five miles away, so I was absolutely flabbergasted when the fare came to twenty-five dollars. Holy cats, that's a lot of money. I was busy texting when I first got in the car, so the fare was already up to fifteen dollars when I finally looked up. After I finished coughing and sputtering, I managed to ask how much longer it would be before we got there. We were almost there, he said. Still, those last two miles seemed to last forever as I watched the fare creep steadily higher.

2. The congretation was Spanish speaking. I didn't hear one word of English the entire time. It was awesome. I've often heard people say that you can still feel the Spirit in sacrament meetings, even if you can't understand the language, and it was definitely true for me. It is very comforting to recognize the pattern of the meeting, even if I didn't understand the language. They did a confirmation and (of course) the sacrament. Then they did the children's presentation. In LDS congregations, once a year the children ages 3-12 do a presentation about what they learned that year. They sing songs, give talks, and have speaking parts. So I recognized all the tunes to the songs. And kids are adorable to watch, even if I don't understand the language. I was moved to tears more than once.

THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP 3. Luckily I didn't have to take a taxi back to the hotel. Instead (drum roll please) Sabrina West picked me up. Yes, THE Sabrina West, famous author and ornithologist. She picked me up and we went to the Cafe Crema for lunch. I had this amazing panini with roast beef, mozarella and jalepenos. It was, by far, the best food I've eaten for a long time. Then Sabrina took me to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in search of the elusive coastal sage brush. Not just any sage brush. It had to be the exact right kind, because our next book is set in Carlsbad, California, and I need to know what it looks like there. Luckily, Sabrina is an expert. We also saw an incredible variety of birds, and Sabrina knew ALL their names. (I'm hoping she'll send me a list, because, as she knows very well by now, I have a memory like a sieve.) There were terns and pelicans, even a harrier falcon and a several plovers. There were some curlews and merganzers...I know I'm forgetting a bunch, but it was a beautiful place to get to be in as I got to know this woman who has become such an important part of my life. Actually, it didn't feel like I was getting to know her at all. Her personality shines very authentically through the internet, and I feel like I've known her for a long, long time.

4. Did I mention that I got to meet SABRINA WEST? I'm not certain I'm giving this part of my trip the weight that it deserves. We talked plot lines for quite a while. It was a blast.

5. All too soon, our visit ended. I had to be back to the hotel by 5:00 because the board members at Roger's conference were all going to the Queen Mary for dinner. We went, and it was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to be aboard the boat. The dinner was good, and the company was wonderful. Roger works with some awesome people. When it was over though, I think we both felt like we'd made a mistake. It was still the Sabbath, after all, and it felt like we'd missed something important.

6. Monday I went to the fitness center, where I must have done something painful to my hip. I spent the rest of the day shopping, which entailed miles and miles of walking, and as I walked, my hip got more and more tender. I tend to ignore stuff like that though, or to attribute it to the aches and pains I wouldn't have if I was in better shape.

I spent way too much money and probably need to return a few things, since I have a very limited amount of luggage space. Afterwards, we went to a reception, and then watched the Red Sox win the fourth game of the world series!!!!!!!! It is so much fun to watch those games on the east coast, because it isn't after midnight when they end. So then Roger wanted to go for a walk, and how could I say no? He'd been at work while I played all day long. Besides, I got to try out my new shawl.

7. We walked to a section of town I hadn't seen yet, and I've GOT to go back there today. It was beautiful, with walking trails and the ocean (but no real beach. Is there a beach in Long Beach?????) And there was a HUGE used book store, and all the books were just a dollar each. I may have to buy some more luggage. :)

But as we walked, I became more and more aware that this pain in my hip wasn't just some phantom ache from exercising more than usual. By the time we got back to the hotel, I was limping pretty badly. I took some aleve and went straight to bed, where I tossed and turned and finally got back up. I got in the bathtub and put the hottest water I could stand in, and it helped to relax my muscles, and made me very sleepy, so I was able to get some rest, even though my hip was still sore.

I'm about to go sit in the hot tub for a while, and then I'm going to go ask for some ice. I'm hoping to get in a lot of fun stuff today, but I might have to explore the wonderful world of public transportation instead of trying to walk everywhere today.

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