Jeremy took us down to Fisherman's Wharf the following morning. It's basically a classier version of Weston pier, with old-time food stands and plenty of opportunities for whale watching tours and other activities. If we hadn't already done that in New Zealand, we'd have hopped on a boat then and there - it's a hell of a lot cheaper in Monterey too.
Instead, we went seal-spotting by...well, walking around the pier. One of them was a lot more successful at balancing on a boulder than I had been back in NZ.
In another area, a guy was hiring out various parrots for photo opportunities. They weren't tethered so I'm not sure why they didn't fly off. Maybe they really liked him.
We also had to drag Gilly away from an ice cream parlour. This is not as rare an occurrence as you may expect. Also, given an hour and the ability to turn polycarbonate into actual food, she probably would have finished this off.
Sadly, it was soon time to depart. We said farewell to Jeremy and set off back up the coast.
Moneterey is a lovely place to visit on the west coast and the aquarium (which we didn't have the chance to visit) is supposed to be stunning. I think after spending so much time diving with fish in their natural environment, seeing them in tanks just makes me feel a little sad.
We drove past Castroville on the way, a tiny little town which is famous for dictators and artichoke festivals, depending on who you ask.
Possibly more famous in the state is In-N-Out Burger, a fast food chain that sources high-quality ingredients, pays its staff well above minimum wage, and has a reputation for great customer service. Being created by a Christian family, the chain also has a habit of subtly inserting religious messages onto its cups and food wrappers, but then no-one's perfect. Being a burger junkie, I'd been planning a flying visit to In-N-Out ever since we decided we were coming to California.
It didn't disappoint. Not quite Kangaroo Cafe levels of brilliance, but definitely on a par with Fergburger.
And then we were in Mountain View. It had been nine whole months since we'd parted ways with Lev and Julie in Laos, and now we were at their place ready to relax for a few days. And what better way to do that than to jump into the community pool and jacuzzi that's just outside their house?
It was fantastic to see Julie again (Lev was away on a stag do, but would be returning the next day). With San Francisco less than an hour away and Lev and Julie planning a camping trip away on Labor Day for the four of us, we had plenty of things to cram in over the next few days.