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…

Whorls, Milestones, and Granddaughters

It happens to everyone.  The first time.  It’s a milestone and in Kongo’s troop this event is a family affair.  We’re talking about granddaughter’s first haircut.  Mrs. Kongo is quite keen on staging these family milestones and she arranged an appointment with Maria at the wonderfully funky Classic Kids Hairstyling Salon in Camarillo to mark this memorable rite of passage. Granddaughter #3, Persephone, and her parents visited Kongo over the holidays.  Escaping double-bomb cold on the East Coast they relaxed for nearly three weeks here in sunny Southern California.  At the age of three Persephone was in need of her…

Sunny Santa Barbara

So what do you do when out of town family is starting to get bored because all the presents have been opened, you’re knee deep in legos and Princess Minnie parphenalia  and you’ve watched  Jungle Book a half dozen times and it’s still four days till New Year?  Well, you pile all the extra family into #1 son’s new Sienna van and you and Mrs. Kongo put the top down on the sports car and head for Santa Barbara in a two car caravan!  What else? Now just as an aside, Kongo is pretty sure the monkeys in Jungle Book…