In a reprise of a similar trip from last year, this past weekend Deepak and I returned to Big Sur.
I’m still trying to get the hang of the central/northern region of this state. Before I moved to California, friends from the west coast would talk about Big Sur or post pictures of the redwood forests, sheer cliffs and foamy crests of the Pacific. Sure, the pictures looked nice, but I have a hard time appreciating the grandeur and beauty of nature from photographs. (Short of the shockingly vibrant images of, say, bioluminescent marine life or aurorae borealis, doesn’t photography always fall short?)
We came out to the Monterey peninsula in an attempt to spot marine life. Seals, what’s the deal?! Otters, you otter show yourselves!
I never understood the name “Big Sur.” I kept mixing it up with the French phrase “bien sûr.” What does that expression have to do with California’s celebrated rugged coastline? Presumably it’s because when someone asks whether you’d like to visit the old stomping grounds of Manifest Destiny’s great artists and conservationists, the only reasonable answer is: “Bien sûr, Muir!”
This one goes out to the Uber driver who drove us to the airport at 6 a.m. The sweet man was absolutely wordless and deferential, only coming alive when the Robin Schulz remix of Mr. Probz’s “Waves” came on the car radio. Endearingly, he cranked the volume and ever-so-slightly rocked his head in rhythm. (Shamefully, yes, we did take a plane for the gobsmackingly short trip from LAX-MRY. John Muir would have demurred.)
The totally cooky but courteous flight attendant had a bunch of wacky religious/spiritual/culty printed cards such as this one (which was the best one, of course). He zeroed in on Deepak and me as his marks because of Deepak’s ethnicity and dangerous affability. My default stranger danger grimace didn’t stand a chance at protecting us.
Contemplating the sheer volume of bird defecation
Don’t threaten me with a good time!
Full of forbiddances!
Ah yes, the foamy caps. “Sophocles long ago heard it on the Ægæan, and it brought into his mind the turbid ebb and flow of human misery” …
“From the Redwood forest, to the Gulf stream waters …”
Oh dear. Children and their early attempts at art and graphic design are adorable, sure, but I found these ever-present kiddie-made warning signs too manipulatively cloying. But I guess in this era of Sean Parker weddings, you have to protect the landscape somehow.
Aha! We found them. See the seals on the rocks, basking in an ocean of awesome relaxation? No, those lumpen forms aren’t ours this time …
And more! Quite the Loch Ness monster-style picture, but trying to capture the hungry otters smashing food open on their upturned bellies as they swim. Their seeming clumsiness is the best part!
Don’t know about this claim, but sure, possibly — I guess I’ve never heard this specific boast made before.
Indeed, the fun of tripping from L.A. to Big Sur for a day is that you can indulge your inner woodsman. Witness my modern-day Prometheus (Deepak) whipping up a healthy hearth for us with these quaintly archaic Condé Nast publications.