America Through my eyes –Monterey
Telugu Original : Dr K.Geeta
English translation: Swathi Sripada
At a distance of forty miles to the south of Santa Cruz, nearly 120 miles away from San Francisco lies Monterey.
With small islands, and with the natural beauty of Cyprus trees surrounding the glistening stones banks, Montero is an inspirational place to many artists.
This is the hometown of the Nobel Prize winner of 1962, the great American novelist and author John Steinbeck. In his works at every step, the mention of this area is visible. For some, the same is the basis. a wonderful novelist and the author of The Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson for some time lived and had written an essay about the surroundings of Monterey, titled “The Old Pacific Capital”. In fact, it is known widely that when moving around this area itself ‘Treasure Island’ idea has evolved.
Travel: We selected Monterey as an ideal place to spend two to three days in July, in a pleasantly warm summer. It was nearly 85 miles from our city. Generally, we can reach in an hour and a half or two. We have to see the Bay Aquarium, seashores, 17 miles drive. The hotel check-in time here is from afternoon 3 and the checkout morning at 11. So, we start usually in the morning from the house and reach the Hotel by the time of check-in, we plan something attractive to see. On the day of return we plan to check out by 9 in the morning and the entire day we roam around and visit the things on the way home. So, while we stay at the hotel just two nights and roam around completely three days. Well started very early at the home and by 9.30 am we reached the aquarium entrance. Tickets for adults were about 33, and children 20 dollars.
Monterey Bay Aquarium:
The aquarium means if we imagine small fish in small glass pots it is a mistake. All together on two floors together include about two hundred types of fish, sea birds, octopus, shells, marine animals what else from very large shark fish to the smallest water horse, everything can be found here. The tanks here spread all over the rooms. Connecting the two floors the glass tubs from the top to the bottom can be seen from any floor. Some of them when we walk lie over the head behind the glass mirrors. This type of aquarium, we visited in Singapore. However, this is much bigger than that. Anyone watching it for the First time had a splendid experience that sea animals are moving over our heads and we are inside the ocean. The most beautiful Jelly Fish moving with their umbrella-likee soft bodies feast the eyes as if they are dancing. I liked one among the exhibits, Neruda’s sentence so much.
It is stopping in the middle for food and to see everything and to see the auditorium shows revealing us the specialties, it takes from the morning to evening. But we planned only a half-day to see the aquarium, by lunchtime in the afternoon we came out completing around. We had our lunch at downtown and then again went to the seashore. We needed some change to park our car in the coin parking, so we went to the shopping mall seen in front of us. in a big chocolate shop, we purchased something to get the change. Varu saw mini golf there and refused to leave. So, an hour, all of us played the mini-golf and came out. Meanwhile, when the children we attracted by rickshaw, to see everything at the shore and to have fun we rented a rickshaw.
Rickshaw & Kayak: But from the place we rented the rickshaw to some distance, we have to drive the rickshaw in lanes on a normal road, moreover the roads are up and down as if we are climbing a hill. They all felt very difficult to balance. I too had driven it for a while.
A mile away from there, on a beach without many waves and convenient to get down, renting the kayaks started to see roving. There, thinking that as water gushed into the ocean not many waves are seen they started daringly. But by the time when they went forth in Kayak circling the hill, big waves started to come it seems. Fearing the overturning of the Kayak they returned. But as they have come across the stream of air it took them more than an hour. On the shore, I and Varu squatted making the sand nests spreading the towels in the cool sand. For a while, we climbed a small hill and visited a park there and saw them coming around the hill. When we watched from above, we had an illusion that, whether we were on the seashore or we are on a small piece of land surrounded by the sea. While returning they have the patience to drive the rickshaw. We all came walking a distance pushing the rickshaw. We paid the bill to the shop owner and we came walking. Now when I recall I laugh. But as we were too tired, we looked forward only to reach the hotel and sleep.
By the time it turned evening, a cold wind started pushing the legs back. the downtown adjacent to it started to get for the evening crowds’ noise with a quick makeover. We thought we ‘d come back to the hotel after bathing. After bathing without even a word of food kids went to sleep. Our stay was somewhere inside the seacoast and a bit far away we could not see the sea at night. Moreover, we already booked a cruise trip into the sea the next day morning, we too went to bed early.
Whale Watching: The next morning, we reached the harbor nearby, where Cruise starts. If we start at 9 by the time we come back, it will be one or two in the afternoon. The total trip comes to four or five hours, in it two hours is for Whale Watching. The cost of the ticket for the head is fifty dollars. As far as I know, this is the first time going so far in the sea. I just thought that he will take us all to a certain distance and bring back. Moreover, as soon as we saw the big vessel like a large fishing trawler, we all had enthusiasm. In it, a small snack Stall, a few seats outside to view up, the deck down were there.
Though it was a sunny and cozy cruise people asked us to bring sweaters. We laughed. Why do we need them in such warm weather? But, within ten minutes, we understood it. Just in ten minutes, after the ship left the shore, fog encompassed us, and we could see nothing around except ourselves. With that as if ice burgs surrounded us very cold wind started. Immediately we all ran inside. Though we wear our sweaters we can’t cope up with the cold and the attendee brought us some warm coats and asked us to sit inside the glass room if we still feel cold.
Our boat surged forth through the ice into an invisible blue world of rapidly. Almost half an hour later the snow cleared, and a calm sea appeared. Smearing the surrounding blue -colored ocean mocking the traces of earth hidden down at hundreds of feet below the glistening sky throwing sunlight in our eyes, on the body of waves shivering to the cold water white vapor rising as smoke, on the path in front of us here and there ascending and descending the vessels poles the sea lions feasted our eyes.
Full two-hour-long deep in the middle of the ocean the boat paused, and we all waited for the whales to come silently. The first one showed up everyone cheered happily. Whales are too large… if they raise and fall ones the boat seemed to overturn by the water splashed with them.
So, probably as a precautionary measure, the boat was paused at a distance from them.
For an hour we too enjoyed completely enraptured by the sight of them leaping up as if to catch hold of the sky luring over the waves. It took two hours for us to return. But we faced a small unexpected situation we faced. Our journey on the waves with so much up and down made me and feel sick. Probably sea sickness. With nauseating feeling, though it was lunchtime, we were not able to eat. Apart from that, it was a great adventure to go to the sea. That too in the pacific Manchu beard like the Pacific ocean similar to that of an ice burg. Caramel beach
Surfing on the beach: In the evening, we went to another beach five miles away from there. It was a surfing beach with great waves. The evening orange light was glistening on the waves. This shore is at a bit low here. So the waves as high as people are falling when we stand on the beach. From a distance turning and bending widely slowing down when it reaches close to them, people surf on the waves slanting like sunrays, and hundreds of people enjoy watching them on the beach. Kids get down into the water and ran back feeling cold within five minutes.
I was enraptured by the scene of the reflection of the sun broken into pieces in water. When the dry sand was like that what to say about the wet one!
We started back to our hotel from the beach road in the late evening. It was like the way from Visakhapatnam to Rishi Konda, with a small colony and Eucalyptus trees. We walk some distance between the houses also.
We reached our lodging very happily. But there we noticed that Satya had not donned his shoes. When searched they were not in the car also. then he said very coolly that he cleaned the boots outside and left them there only on a flat area and forgot. We parked the car on the side of the road, there almost twenty-five cars were parked. When I suggested going back because the shoes were new, he said, “ can we find them there? Somebody might have taken already”
” This is America. Nobody here takes things like that” I argued with him. On the whole with a condition that if we can’t find the shoes there, he will never listen to me, we traveled back half an hour. we found the shoes exactly where we left them. A smile appeared on Satya’s face as soon as he saw them, and anger on my face rushed up. I reminded him that he should listen to me forever, he demanded, “ I said only for today”.
Our kids, who remained silent hitherto said “Thank god! Found Daddy! leave to obey mother, she would have troubled us throughout the journey”.
For dinner, we went to an American restaurant. Throughout the day we had no proper food so we felt exhausted completely. Luckily, we had fruits with us so we took them and went to bed. The next day we have to leave. But we left the hotel early in the morning to see a 17- mile drive that day.
The “17 -mile Drive”: From the sea of Monterey to the middle of Pacific grove, about seventeen miles distance is called with this name. in the travel crossing the sea beaches, golf courses, buildings, the booklets to tell us where to stop will be available at the check posts on either side. To travel inside a fee of 10 dollars per car must be paid. Stopping here and there taking photos, videos take about four or five hours. to take. if we go for shopping and meals etc. it may take the whole day. We gave more importance to seashores only.
A small jungle begins at the gate. It is called the Del Monte Forest. On the curved roads, if we go a bit inside, we can see the shores one after the other. According to the tourist map given to us, in 17 miles total worth visiting places come to 21. But the seacoast exclusives in them maybe ten to twelve only. The first one in them is Spanish Bay.
In 1769, the Spanish explorer, Don Gaspar de Portola as a part of investigating Montero, along with his staff, stayed here it seems. From then this shore had that name. the surrounding seacoast here is called as the pebble beach. Inf act here, from the small size to two palms full size, as big as one can step on it and still bigger round and beautiful pebbles on the shore will be seen. They appear as if somebody sat days together and carved them. To reach the Sea one should walk on them only. Boards are warning not to carry the stones from there. So far, I never saw such a beach anywhere. As soon as we see it appears as a miracle. Children played for a while piling up stones. It seems the ocean attacking a hill with his big waves, then dismantling it into similar stones, and sat leisurely thousands of years carving them. I could not leave it at all.
However, as soon as we entered on 17 -mile drive, this is the first spot we stopped and many more things are on the way to see, so we moved on compelled. As we travel a bit further point Joe comes. Alas, Earlier sailors, in the beginning, thinking entrance to Montero is here, their ships dashed the rocks and lost their lives. Here, if we watch the raging sea over stones from the shore, we feel scared. So, the sea here is called as Restless Sea. Next comes China rock.
Around 1800 migrators from China, based on the stones established their residences. Then comes the Bird Rock, this is a small island completely separated from the seashore. Only a big crag. However, we can see hundreds of birds, seals, and sea lions on it. However, the entire stone looking as if painted with the stagnant feces and urine deposits, as well as the stink filling that area. We hurried into the car, unable to bear the smell on the shore itself.
Moving further at the Seal Rock picnic area, lazily sleeping seals and sea lions on the shore are seen in plenty. From a distance on the seashore, they appear as very big leeches. If we go close to them as if they can swallow human beings, they are huge and giant with massive bodies. We can’t believe that they belong to the fish family and are mild.
It was mid-afternoon soon. Around one we put a tent on the soft sand on the seashore we had the snacks we brought with us and had rest. Children started playing in the sand happily. Satya also-ran behind the children. I told them not to wet their clothes wet going into the water. But Still, they never paid heed and came back with half soaked clothes till they dried we stayed there. It was July month, and good sunlight was there. The light lying on the sand directly reflected straight into the eyes. But as the air was rushing, we can’t feel the heat at all. Moreover, cool breeze coming on from the sea surface.
just before we start, folding the tent they pulled all the supporting nails at ones, some came out and some within a wink went so deep inside the soft sand. Funnily to find them all it took another half an hour for us. The last one, until we calculated so much, we couldn’t get it. Satya says let us go. I compelled we should get all of them. Children started a new play turning the sand. Finally, when we found all Satya said laughing, “Shall we start now ever struggling lady.”
I told children as a lesson not to put a tent in the sand in the future. From the seacoast when we moved along further, important The Lone Cypress came. it was the lone tree, on the edge of a high stone hill on the seashore. It was 250 -years -old tree with a surrounding the construction of cement patio, fencing it. It must be seen from a distance only, but to walk to the tree or to walk close to it there was no place and it was not convenient. So, that serious tree standing in front of the sea looking at it reminds us how small we are.
The next one, throwing away all its leaves just like a stump without any sprouts for a long time the Ghost Tree with all curves appears as a scaring trunk. However, in the surroundings, the existence of many is the specialty.
Carmel: Approximately after four or five hours in the evening, we came to an end of 17 -mile drive on its south. Carmel is the name of the town on its south side. To go to a seashore, we have to keep the car on the road and walk in lanes. With much difficulty, we could get a parking space.
When we started to walk down, I remembered Vishakha ‘s Beach Road lanes where we walked. When we saw the sand visible somewhere far away down was the sea. The way to walk down from the shore appeared like a big sand hill. On that beach, children started slithering down as if they are in the sand of a desert. We all descended enthusiastically. Many people as it was a Sunday, so much rush was there. We have not even an hour to go back. We thought of returning in half an hour we stayed an hour playing.
Then what to say about our troubles in coming back, unable to climb the Sandhills watching my difficulty children laughed. Mommy are you ascending or descending.
One step forward and four steps back. That’s the situation. Overall a very happy stay so was our Monterey trip.
We arrived home in two to three hours. we all roamed from the morning and completely exhausted so; children slept in the Car. The full moon days, one side the sunset and on the other side the moon. somehow the lunar image looks so big on full moon days here. Cold night and our chatting we don’t know when we reached home. Outside the bright moonlight and our minds, the abodes of happy peace and happiness.
A native of Nizamabad, writes poetry in English and Telugu, Novels , stories In Telugu. Translates from Telugu to English and English to Telugu.
Published 5 poetry volumes in Telugu, 5 story anthologies, 5 novels and 32 translations. Loves and lives in poetry.