Gold Digging Monkey

Kongo loves living in the Golden State.  There’s always a lot to see and do just about anywhere you visit here. Over this Memorial Day weekend he was in the Sacramento area and decided to explore the origin of the “gold” in the Golden State. It was all pretty much of an accident and involved an unlucky man named James Marshall. You might think the man who sparked the California Gold Rush would be anything but unlucky but Marshall managed to blow just about every opportunity he ever had. He was a carpenter and wheelwright who landed in California in…

Malibu Canyon

Last November a monster fire called Woolsey started in the Santa Susanna mountains north of Simi Valley and churned its way all the way to the Pacific Ocean.  Along the way it burned nearly 100,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,500 structures, and killed three people.  300,000 people (including your favorite monkey) were evacuated. On its way to the ocean the fire raced through Malibu Canyon, a rugged wilderness in the Santa Monica mountains burning much of what was in its path. A few days after the fire was over the rains started.  Within a week or so there was new…

Pompeii in Simi Valley

Ancient Pompeii is one of those places that people today find endlessly intriguing.  This Roman city, a prosperous vacation destination on the Bay of Naples, was completely destroyed on August 24, 79 when Mount Vesuvius  erupted and buried Pompeii and several other town in the area under volcanic ash and pyroclastic material.  Rediscovered in the 1700s the excavation of Pompeii continues today, revealing its hidden secrets in spectacular fashion. A traveling exhibition of a few hundred artifacts from Pompeii (and nearby Herculaneum which was also destroyed by the eruption) is making its way around the United States and is presently…

Exploring The Huntington’s Gardens

With granddaughter #3 visiting from Florida for an early start to Christmas, Kongo’s tribe set out for The Huntington in Pasadena. The Huntington is a world class research library, collection of art, and a vast array of fantastic gardens. Kongo had not been here before. With so much to see the monkey had to prioritize his explorations and decided to check out the Chinese and Japanese gardens and then see what else there was time for. Chinese gardens are very different from most Japanese gardens. Although the Japanese started out copying the Chinese, eventually they evolved their own garden philosophy….

Fishing Monkey

So the monkey has been through a few adventures in the past couple of months. He finished a backyard remodel, started some additional and very intense training at the Getty Villa, and most recently survived the firestorms in Southern California. His house is safe but he did have to evacuate for a couple of days and that’s another whole story.  But to get into the holiday routine his #1 son had this great idea to go on an overnight fishing trip.  Right, what better way to get in the Thanksgiving and Christmas mood than go fishing? It’s been years and…

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…