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korean food and camping

No, no, I'm not in New Zealand yet.  This last week in Cali with Beeker has been so much fun that I just had to write about it and share.  Here are the highlights…

Learning to play chess!  …and losing 2 out of 3 games.

Spending a morning with Elizabeth (close friend from high school), who drove down from Sacramento to visit.

Two words: JAMBA JUICE

Korean food!  Beeker and I got all spiffed up like a Korean gangster and his lady, and he took me out for some authentic Seoul food.  He talked in Korean – awesome.  I ate anchovies!  I ate spicy(ish) vegetables!  I made a such a huge mess trying to use chopsticks to eat the noodles that the waitress took pity on me and brought me a fork!  American restaurants give you bread while you wait; Korean restaurants give you 15 different appetizer dishes.  Yeah.  For the main course we had delicious beef bbq wrapped up in lettuce with sauce and rice, and vegetables, egg and rice in a stone bowl that kept heating the food so the bottom of the rice got crispy and brown.    I liked everything so much that Beeker demanded on the spot that I come to Korea with him.  Next year…?

Sprawling in Beeker's car, appreciating the new stereo system and listening to every Radiohead song in his car's cd collection.

Sushi…mmmm good.  My first time eating real sushi, as in actual raw fish, and not just the avocado rolls.  I didn't get too adventurous, though: California rolls with imitation raw crabmeat.  I scraped off the little orange balls of caviar that came on top, but I did try a piece of raw eel.  Taste – not bad.  Texture – oof.  But I was more successful in the chopstick department, so overall, a good outing.  I think my stomach thinks I've moved to Asia.

Ashley (close friend from Clark U)!  She picked me up last night and gave me a tour of Santa Cruz (where she grew up).  We met up with four of her friends (Chris, Ruben, Rob and Brooke) on an Arabian horse ranch up in the Felton Mountains – Redwood country.   Ruben and Rob work/live on the ranch and have a little camper set up in a mostly permanent and extremely remote campsite on the ranch.  It was a cold, cold night, especially because we were way up on a mountain.  The stars and the outlines of the redwoods and pines against them were just gorgeous.  We don't have skies like that back east.  The six of us alternately huddled together under blankets in front of the fire, looked at the Pleiades and the Orion nebula through Rob's telescope, and played with Brooke's two golden/black lab mixed puppies (8 weeks old).  SO CUTE.  Ruben was born in Santa Cruz, but his family is from Mexico and was raised to speak only Spanish in his home, so we spoke Spanish to each other and conducted the most sarcastic conversation I think I've ever had about the importance of Columbus Day.  Someone got a generator hooked up, so we set up a TV set next to the fire and watched “Mad Max,” an early Mel Gibson film and the only VHS tape lying around the camper.  We were all up talking until sunrise, and I fell asleep in my sleeping bag in front of the fire for a few hours before everybody was up and talking again.  Very chill, very mellow, very hippie-ish, and very awesome.

Tomorrow – San Francisco!  Definitely can't bring myself to believe that I'm getting on a plane to NZ tomorrow, but I suppose it's too late to back out now.  T-minus 27 hours, 45 minutes and couting…

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