Thursday, August 24, 2006

Santa Barbara to Seaside. After having quite a scare this morning, we got on our way from Santa Barbara to Seaside (near Monterey). Dad went out while I showered, just down the sidewalk to enjoy some coffee and complimentary breakfast at the hotel. Well, he turned the wrong way out the door, and well, got lost. He's 86, and sometimes a little confused, but usually doesn't wander off... Apparently, he thought a neigboring hotel's breakfast buffet was ours and contentedly enjoyed his breakfast undisturbed. Meanwhile I finished showering and went to breakfast, not finding Dad, I imagined he took a walk along the beautiful beach in front of us. But when time kept passing, I went in search. The office staff hadn't recalled seeing him at breakfast - uh-oh. I got in the car and crisscrossed the neighboring streets in about an 8 block square. No luck. Really being worried at this point, about 90 minutes later, I called the police. Dad in the meantime, had left the other hotel and was wandering about not finding his room... and started wandering the streets. Luckily the very friendly and compassionate Santa Barbara police officers (Clark & Thompson), located my Dad and brought him back. Dad was his gregarious self, chatting animatedly with Officer Thompson when he came back. In the interim, a very sweet motherly like maid who only spoke Spanish, noticed my worried look, and the police, and tried to communicate, not giving up at my awkward attempts to say I didn't speak/understand Spanish. Problema?? she's say, and I'd say "Si", and shake my head 'no comprende espagnole.' She brought over tissues and gave me a big hug and said comforting Spanish things I couldn't understand, but yet understood in the universal language of those giving gifts of love freely. I was touched.

Not 5 minutes after Dad arrived back, Erika showed up with the twins, everyone starving as they left Rancho Mirage at 7 a.m. to drive directly there before taking breakfast. So we went to the neighboring Sambo's restaurant (yes, they even had the book "Little Black Sambo" for sale at the cash register). Tigers graced the menu, and we had brunch, which was quite welcome.

We drove to Sand Castle Inn in Seaside, an inexpensive and clean place. We drove around Monterey, and Collette chose Rappa's on Fisherman's Wharf for dinner. Dad and I had the Early Bird specials, he Snapper Italiano, and I Rock Shrimp Spaghettini. Both appeared to have the same insipid 'ratoulille with oregano' tasting sauce. And the Rock Shrimp, well were not what I expected, rather a strange version (or simply wrong, I'm not sure). The clam chowder starter was quite good though. The dessert tray tempted us all. We enjoyed our dinner and walk.

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