Whilst the dark monster of unemployment was still looming above my head, I had another opportunity to visit California. This state could quite easily steal my whole heart…
Wow. It has been a while. Contrary to popular opinion, RamblingsofasmalltownScot is still very much alive and breathing. My absence was mostly down to lack of inspiration and when I write I actually like having something to write about. Hopefully I can redeem myself somewhat.
Whilst the dark monster of unemployment was still looming above my head, I had another opportunity to visit California. This state could quite easily steal my whole heart. Last time I visited, I was under the legal drinking age so I couldn’t even benefit from the produce of being surrounded by so many beautiful vineyards. However, I’m happy to report that I more than made up for that on my most recent adventure. Wine will never be the same. Seriously. That’s coming from someone that doesn’t even really drink wine.
Another first for me came in the form of Yosemite National Park. I genuinely had never seen anything like it. So much beauty. The winding roads are plentiful and the drives are looooooong but it is so completely worth it. I didn’t climb Half Dome before you ask, but I got a pretty good photo of it. So, same thing, yeah? I’m not much of a hiker so was relieved to discover that this part of our holiday would not involve much hard core hiking. But if that is your thing, then go to Yosemite and you can hike and hike until those cows come home. As my wonderful friend Lara pointed out “why hike to see an amazing view when you can just drive to one?”. We bonded over such logical thinking as well as our love of Car Karaoke and Pocahontas.
I’d like to inform you that this trip also involved a visit to prison. Fortunately for us, this particular prison closed in 1963. Yes, we got on a boat that unsuspecting Thursday morning and landed on Alcatraz Island. Now, me being the skeptic that I am, had reservations about this educational experience largely due to my ridiculously short attention span. However, by the end of the tour I was completely obsessed. We were walked around the prison by way of an audio tour featuring the real voices and recordings of prisoners and prison guards. You could even step inside a few cells and listen to them rather morbidly slamming shut along the way. To finish it all off, as we sauntered through the gift shop, we actually came across a former prisoner signing copies of his book all about his life and experiences in Alcatraz. (In case you’re interested, and if I remember correctly, he had been imprisoned for fraud).
A fun part of every holiday has to be the airport, am I right? *note the heavy sarcastic tone*. If you didn’t need a holiday to begin with, after a whirl around an airport you most definitely will. Unfortunately, our flight landed late meaning that making our connection was going to prove very difficult. It was made even more exhilarating by the fact my mother decided she’d pack knives in her hand luggage. Ok, they were cheese knives but still, knives nonetheless. They don’t allow you aboard an aircraft with tweezers. If you can take over a plane with a pair of tweezers who knows what you could do with 3 cheese knives.
So, we have -0 minutes until our gate shuts. The very pleasant but equally annoying security man is rummaging through Mum’s suitcase, Dad’s completely MIA and I make a pathetic yet frantic run towards the board to see our flight flash it’s final call. I run back, (I did a lot of running for someone who doesn’t run like, ever) Mum’s finally been freed and reunited with those darn cheese knives but the moment is bittersweet as now Dad’s caught up in security. So, we take the snap second decision to abandon father and husband (we shouted to indicate that to him, we’re not that heartless) and bolted down the escalator like a couple of baby elephants. I’m glad we couldn’t see ourselves at this point, it couldn’t have been pretty.
As we near the gate, the flight attendants are like “ARE YOU THE PARTY OF 3? HORSBURGH’S?- BUT WAIT, THERE’S ONLY TWO OF YOU”. Yes, that’s a direct quote. We explained the situation with the lost family member and they’re response was “are you willing to fly without him?”. Alright alright, hang fire there a minute, British Airways (other flight operators are avaliable but whilst we’re here, BA does great plane food), nothing like promoting a united family spirit. Just hop aboard, snooze you lose, every man for himself and suchlike. I was imagining looking out the plane window and just seeing the look of betrayal and disappointment on Dad’s face. Also, aside from everything else, Dad had the car keys. Our hands were tied. Just then, as our hopes had almost completely diminished, he appeared miraculously around the corner and again shouting and manic arm signals resumed.
So, I don’t know if you’ve ever been late to board a plane before but don’t expect to be met with the sympathetic, understanding expressions of your fellow passengers. No no. In all my 23 years on this planet, I’ve never been shot so many dirty looks and I made it through high school. It was a shameful, long walk to our row and there we slumped into our seats, slightly traumatised for the duration of the flight.
That hiccup aside, we genuinely loved every second of our Californian dream. I’ve realised I’ve written more about the airport than the actual trip. Trust me, that bears no reflection on our wonderful two weeks in the golden state. I’ve barely scratched the surface. Truthfully, you need to see it for yourself. I could tell you how amazing, interesting and beautiful it was till I’m blue in the face but you’re not going to appreciate that to the full extent until you see it with your own eyes. Much like when that relative or friend decides to show you screeds and screeds of their holiday snaps and provides a running commentary on every aspect including temperature, altitude, exact time, the temperature and depth of the hotel’s swimming pool, the meal options, their taxi drivers name and his life story in its entirety to name but a few. Who doesn’t want to poke their eyeballs out after that? Just me…?
Things are tough all over, cupcake, an’ it rains on the just an’ the unjust alike…except in California. -Alan Moore