Friday, January 16, 2015

Monterey, California

Moss Landing is located halfway between Salinas to the North and Monterey Bay to the South.  This is John Steinbeck's country.  Steinbeck is from Salinas, and he used his home and the people in it as the setting and characters for many of his stories. My high school English teacher was from this area and he loved Steinbeck so we read most of his stories in high school.  After visiting the area, I want to read them again. I only have a vague memory of Mack and his caper into the hills to get frogs to pay for the party for his friend Doc, in Cannery Row; or the age old story of brothers competing for their mother's love in East of Eden.

A long time ago, when I was a young girl, there was a huge influx of young people into Petersburg. They came in a brightly painted truck or bus.  They stayed at Sandy Beach.  I remember my grandpa calling them 'Damn Oakies.'  I didn't understand the connotation until I read Grapes of Wrath.  My grandpa had lived in the Bay Area during the great Depression.  His family had immigrated to California from Sweden after his father had made a sizable fortune in Alaska's Gold Rush.  My grandpa's father died the day the stock market crashed.  His family was left with nothing but 2 houses and everyone had to go to work so they didn't starve.  Anders, my grandpa's oldest brother died of TB, caught working in a meat packing plant.  People from the Oklahoma were fleeing to California to escape the Dust Bowl and taking jobs for lower wages, which caused anger and frustration on the part of hungry California families.
Downtown Salinas
The buildings are fun to look at.  It is a quiet little town.  Most of the shopping activity is just South of town in the huge mall.  There you find all of the large stores, Ross, Joann, McDonalds, Costco, you know the rest....

Monterey was a major port and during the time the Mexican government owned this area, and they collected taxes on all goods entering the area.  This customs house was built in 1821 by the Mexican Government.  It is the oldest government building in California.  
The Wharf, in Monterey

 We enjoyed a little wild Alaska seafood in this restaurant.

The view from our restaurant window.  The little sea lion climbing up on the railing had been on the railing sleeping and she'd just fallen off.  She was on her way back up to her sleeping perch.
The bull surveyed his harem.  
 After a delicious lunch of Alaskan seafood at the Wharf, we strolled over to Cannery Row.  

There were plump little harbor seals perched on rocks along the route. 
It looked like the building was built around this giant eucalyptus tree.  If trees could talk.

 If you like to shop, Cannery Row is the place for you.  You can find good restaurants and quaint little shops here.  If history is your thing, you will probably be disappointed.  It's all pretty commercialized now.  The closest you get to the flavor of the fish and canneries of the old days is by the signs on the poles and the can label in the cement by the aquarium.  But the weather was great.  

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