Quaint historic downtown Monterey

monterey plaza

Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

I don’t think there’s a “Monterey Metroblog”, but it still counts as a suburb of San Francisco, right? Quaint historic downtown swarms at night with the oddly restrained drunken revelry of conference-goers on the loose, in this case, “Internet Librarian 2006” people still wearing their badges as they quaff martinis and eat really bad “italian” food. (The closer you are to a convention center, the worse the food is… I ‘m talking to you, Cibo Ristorante Italiano!) On the main drag, Alvarado, you can eat gelato at 10pm while scruffy dudes with guitars and dogs accost you to ask for change and discuss your “cool hair” and tell interminable stories about harrassment by cops. Distant orking, mad bellowing too, from sea lions under the piers mingles with the sort-of-artificial bustle of tourists and convention people. I have the eerie feeling that no one actually lives here except people who wash otters for a living and the owners of “boutiques”.

I was trying to explain “Why the street names are often in Spanish” to my 6-year-old. “Well, California used to be part of Mexico and I think this was the capital.” “But Mom, you said Texas also part of Mexico. Was all of the US used to be part of Mexico? How come?” “No… just most of the Southwest. How come is because there was a war 150 years ago and the U.S. won it and stole a whole bunch of land.” Next I’ll be giving him one of those “Marx for Kids” comic books. Actually, we’re about ready for Ilan Stavans’ comic book Latino history, an excellent book, maybe a little intense for 6 years old, but hey, so are most things.

Monterey is insanely pretty & gorgeous with sun and a slight breeze. I’m going to the beach – just me and my kid and the seals; the proper tourists will all be somewhere else, right?

2 Comments so far

  1. cd (unregistered) on October 25th, 2006 @ 10:39 am

    If you need a restaurant recommendation – my friend’s family runs an Italian place called Zillo’s that’s gotten great reviews: http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/entertainment/dining/15515846.htm

    I haven’t been able to make it down to try it yet, so I’m very curious!

    Enjoy the last bit of summer sun!

  2. Ursula (unregistered) on October 25th, 2006 @ 4:40 pm

    Ah beautiful Monterey. I was stationed there when I served in the USAF in the early 90s. You’re right, it IS lovely. I had a great view of the ocean too, right out my barracks window. The Presidio has an incredible view.

    We just went there this summer–I hadn’t been there in over 10 years. Not too much has changed in Monterey proper–still touristy, still amazing. Still worth visiting.

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