As you may know, I spent many of my formative years in the southern regions of the Left Coast and have not been back much in the last 30 years or so as I acclimatized myself to cooler (weather-wise) and less cool (pop culture-wise) places like Boston and Washington DC and Copenhagen and most recently, Portland, Maine. But since I became involved in the fountain pen community I have made regular jaunts out to Manhattan Beach to attend the LA Pen Show, as chronicled below. This year, I extended my western exposure by just a bit to spend some really special time with my wonderful sister Dee.
Dee joined me in the waning hours of the pen show last night and enjoyed with me a lovely final supper with members of the Montblanc posse, a *most* eclectic group of collectors from eight (at last count) countries who enjoyed the hospitality of one of their number at the aforementioned Bristol Farms, four tables hastily thrown together and covered with everyone’s grab from the take-away bins, enhanced by the addition of a few bottles of wine and a sinfully good chocolate cake.
Today we got up early and headed out to drive our way down from Los Angeles to San Diego via the scenic route, SoCal’s iconic Pacific Coast Highway. Our first stop was the actual original downtown of Manhattan Beach, on this holiday Monday crawling with photogenic locals sporting long hair and short shorts. Here’s a shot of the reconstructed pier stretching out into the blue Pacific on an abnormally warm February day:
Many years ago before he passed away, my cousin Michael (Bob Sellmer’s son) and I used to walk through these streets and along this very pier and beach. It was grand to see the place again, as vibrant as ever if not more so. Dee indulged me in strolling clear out to the end of the pier (it’s longer than it looks in the photo above), and then she lined me up and shot me with one of the backdrops SoCal is famous for:
One of the best parts of road trips, as we know, is the chance for all kinds of conversations – quick funny stories, tender reminiscences, shared health concerns, unanticipated navigational challenges, serendipidious pit stops, loads of cute dogs, and mostly just long sunny hours to reconnect and rebond. Today provided all of that and more.
We ended our day by dropping by a big beautiful mega-mall in the hopes of indulging in one of our favorite activities, “Sistah Shopping.” No one can talk you out of a silly purchase faster than a sister with a long face, rolling her eyes. And no one can support you in buying something that either you really want or really look fantastic in…more than that self-same sister. We had Macy gift certs burning a hole a Dee’s pocket but alas today we came up empty-handed. (We drowned our sorrows with some really great Mexican chow.) But here’s a shot of Shopping Nirvana, San Diego-style:
It’s about time to pack it in for the day, but Dee had another surprise in her back pocket. She booked us into another hotel, this one in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, so we could get up at a reasonable hour and have a lovely leisurely breakfast before I have to be dumped on the mercies of JetBlue and a flight back to the Deep Freeze. We’re cozy on our queens, watching the lights sparkling off the bay and getting ready to settle in for the night. But I just have to share what a great day it’s been. Thanks, sis. Love you 4-ever.