Fair Monkey

Kongo loves county fairs. There’s something about hot, sultry August afternoons, the smell of cotton candy, the carnival barkers, and the crowds that makes the monkey feel right at home. The Ventura County fair is like that. It’s not nearly as big or as sophisticated as the Los Angeles County Fair or the Del Mar Fair in San Diego. Now those are real fairs. Ventura County is kind of like your neighborhood 4th of July Parade with kids on bikes and dogs decked out in red, white, and blue. It was just right. Kongo was actually forced out of the…

A Walk in LA

Los Angeles isn’t really known as a walking city.  Sure, you CAN walk there but this is the land of Freeways and Uber so why would you?  Well, lots of reasons actually and that’s exactly what the Kongo’s did last evening.  Meeting some fellow Morocco survivor friends from Santa Monica, Kongo and his bride were in downtown LA to do a walking tour of City Hall. Since traffic in this city is always a question mark, Kongo planned for contingencies and left home well ahead of the scheduled meeting time. Without SigAlerts or some other disaster, it was going to…

Exploring California’s Central Coast

After a two-day business trip in Silicon Valley recently, Kongo decided to take his time driving back to LA.  So after the meeting the monkey spent the night in a great little Victorian Inn on Cannery Row in Monterey then got up early and took the scenic 17-mile drive around Monterey Bay before heading south on California Highway 1 as far as he could go.  It’s been awhile (like several decades) since Kongo has been to this part of California and he was keen to see it again. For several months Highway 1 has been closed south of Big Sur…

Original LA Farmers Market

Old and new come together in West Hollywood at the Los Angeles Farmers Market.  Now there are lots of farmers markets in LA.  Dozens.  But this is the ORIGINAL farmers market that started up in 1934 when a handful of local growers backed their pick up trucks at the corner of 3rd and Fairfax and started selling their produce.  The concept really took off and in a few months people were building stalls and restaurants at the site and it quickly became an institution. Today the market is next to the modern and hugely popular and upscale The Grove outdoor…

Mission Santa Barbara

Recent mudslides in Montecito, just south of Santa Barbara, closed Highway 101 for nearly two weeks.  Kongo tried to visit the old mission there earlier but couldn’t get through.  You literally couldn’t get to Santa Barbara from LA unless you took the train, rode a boat from Ventura, or drove about four hours through the mountains.  Even now there is a lot of construction along the freeway causing large traffic backups. Anyway, the monkey made it yesterday and he was glad he did.  Those guys at CalTrans do a great job! Mission Santa Barbara was the tenth mission built by…

Searching for World Peace in Santa Monica

Santa Monica might seem a strange place to seek world peace.  I mean really, Santa Monica?  Maybe some temple high in the mountains of Tibet or an ashram in Santa Fe, or even the UN building in New York but not Santa Monica.  Perhaps I’m wrong-headed about this but Santa Monica seems more like a live for today for tomorrow we die kind of place.  But yet, indeed there are people searching for peace in Santa Monica.  Right down on the beach next to the famous pier. Perhaps Kongo is just in a cynical mood but he doesn’t think a…

March to the Sea

This week Kongo marched to the sea.  Literally.  From his house to the ocean is an 8-mile trek through Point Mugu State Park in the Santa Monica mountains.  Now maybe “march to the sea” is a too exuberant an expression.  This isn’t much like General Sherman’s historic March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah during the Civil War.  This hike is almost exclusively downhill, which is pretty cool for old monkeys.  It’s still a good hike and not nearly as destructive or controversial as the burning of a 60-mile wide swath through the heart of Georgia. The route passes…