I am guacamole. When I bleed, the blood is green.
Lee and I just returned from a wonderful trip to California, where we enjoyed good company, beautiful landscapes, and fabulous Mexican food. I ate guacamole with nearly every meal, and ate until I could eat no more. Tacos. Tortilla soup. Quesadillas. Carne asada. And that guacamole! I didn’t even know I liked guacamole!
I am surprised by how much I liked California. I had this vision of L.A. being a dirty, concrete town of skyscrapers and fake people, and I hadn’t given much thought to the areas surrounding L.A.
Our wonderful hosts live in Orange County, and as we drove from LAX to their home, my opinion of California began to change with the scenery. The green hills rolled in front of larger, more distant mountains, with the terra cotta roofs of hillside communities dotting the foreground. The area is getting the most rain it’s had in 15 years. That didn’t make for the best weather to visit, but everything was lush, green, and blooming. I’m told it’s often brown, but not on this trip.
One evening, we ate at a restaurant on Laguna Beach. I sat next to a window with views of the Pacific ocean to my right, and those rolling hills to my left. Palm trees and pink flowers were everywhere. That’s where the picture at the top was taken. I’m so used to very flat land at my beaches, and while they’re still pretty, this hilly seaside was beautiful.
We also spent a lot of time at the old mission of San Juan Capistrano. It was built in the 1700s, and is the oldest church in the entire state.
It is a magical place. A dichotomy of old and new. The weather worn bricks and crumbling old stone church were wrapped in blooming, fragrant flowers and vines. Every turn you took, a new aroma greeted you, smelling like spring and life. The small chapels were hushed and candlelit, and it was moving to say a prayer in a chapel where so many others had prayed before.
Lee and I broke away from the group to spend one day in L.A., visiting a friend. We saw a little of Hollywood, ate some more Mexican food, and had a very good time. But I was still happy to be back in Orange County, where the traffic is still bad, but the pace seems somehow slower.
Too bad California is crazy expensive and on the other side of the continent, because it’s a charming place.