Today's journey started as we took the scenic Highway 1 continuing south. We drove practically all day along the Pacific coast until we reach Monterey.
One of the rest stops along the route was Half Moon Bay. We briefly visited the Ritz-Carlton. It was built at the beach edge and the scenery is open and clear. One is invited to sit around an outside fire pit and view the 18th hole and the coastline next to it. Although the hotel seems to be situated in a remote farming area it's quite the contrary. Just over the nearby pass is Silicon Valley and, of course, Cupertino which is headquarters of Apple Computers, among many others.
I can understand why many technology based business meeting are held at this beautiful location. This luxurious hotel is nestled in a quaint and peaceful area. Next time my friend Jonathan, from Stanford, invites me to another of his international business meeting here, I'll definitely be attending. I liked it here.
We returned to the road and drove through the town of Santa Cruz. This is the first time I pass through here. I had heard of it because one of the campuses of the University of California is located here. We didn't stop here but, what little I saw of it made it seem like it was a quaint college town.
We proceeded to continue driving south until we reached Monterey. We had a one night hotel reservation here. The coastal town became world famous thanks to the writings of John Steinbeck. He wrote about this town as Cannery Row and it's surrounding farming areas when it was a thriving sardine packing area. The book, of course, is The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939. I can still recall the pleasure I got from reading this book and Travels With Charlie. Once I started reading them, I couldn't put them down.
The town is small yet it is also well known for the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium. Unfortunately we arrived near closing time.
Trini and I were remembering when we first brought our kids to visit Monterey. At that time, we came up here in our motor home. At that time it had not been as modernized as it was today. At that time, many of the original packing houses that Steinbeck described and wrote about were still standing. A few segments of the packing sites are still preserved.
We strolled a few blocks through the town and then decided to eat at one of the many local restaurants. Since seafood is the specialty around here, we ordered fish and found it to be fresh and quite delicious. Their clam chowder was also quite tasty.
Afterwards, we felt quite full and decided to take time to have a leisure walk along the pier. It was very entertaining to see the seals swim nearby. It was a delight to see the playful sea otters feeding in the nearby kelp. It's incredible to think that these otters almost became extinct. They were continually being hunted for their thick and shiny furs.
I think it's wonderful that they are federally protected and their numbers in the wild are increasing. There is nothing cuter than watching a pair with their pups.
There is a unique educational campus in Monterey. It's part of the Department of Defense. It called the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. They teach 23 foreign languages to personnel within the defense departments. It has a faculty of 2,000 and an enrollment of 4,000 students. The Institute has been informing the public of the importance of linguists and multicultural personnel in order to promote world peace. Their perspective should be presented each time there is a debate whether bilingual education if vital to the national interest.
It's amazing that Monterey is a town of 29,000 and that it has a strong economic base. What supports its prosperity is that the town, and the vicinity, is very much part of the 21st Century industry. Unquestionably the town is a picturesque setting that attracts tourist. The nearby Salinas Valley is a important year-round agricultural region. What has added to its growth is that it now in the region of the ever growing and vital information industry. Northern California, other than San Francisco to San Jose area, may seem on the surface as a remote and quiet region, but, it's development is felt throughout the world.
We will be home in two days. Tomorrow we will continue driving south until we reach Morro Bay.
We are looking forward to going home and taking in the beauty of the California coastline.