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Tijuana to Vancouver

a travel blog by kleer001

In the space between my last job and the next job I have time for the trip I've wanted to take for a long time. It's my love poem to the west coast. It's visiting family and friends. It's revisiting old haunts and seeking out new nooks and crannies. It's reviving and teasing the wanderlust before I set down some temporary roots again. It's connecting to my home land.
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Day "-1"

Berkeley, United States

Though not technically on the road yet I wanted to test out this blogabond stuff and reach out. I should probably twitter this too.
Here's the plan: Down to San Diego tonight and spend the night and tomorrow with family. Give friends in LA some kind of warning. Drop down to Tijuana for a beer and tourist crap. Then zoom up to Los Angeles for a couple days and visit more family and friends (if I can ferret them out). Then it's up the gorgeous coast to Santa Cruz for a couple days. More friends. Then probably up to Los Gatos for lots of childhood memories and beautiful cityness. San Jose for more family for a day and change. San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, then across the bridge to Marin and continue up the coast some more. There's not much until Eugene and Portland for more friends. A few days up there and then Seattle, even more friends. Vacouver for family for a couple days. Finally back to Seattle and a flight back to SFO. Hopefully I'll be ready to work by then. Damn, I love driving.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 14, 2008 from Berkeley, United States
from the travel blog: Tijuana to Vancouver
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Day 0

San Diego, United States

Suze is the bestest Slurker any Slurk can ask for in any dimension possible in all of possible existences. This wonderful lady picked me up and drove me to bliss at a real honest to god awesome Mexican diner in Berkeley. I cried in my Horchata. She grinned and at her salad.
Her domocile was home base for the few days I was in the East Bay juggling all my shizzle. She is the red haired fiery creator and we talk in LOLspeak all day long.

It was odd not going through passport control in the airport, not hearing a dozen languages from passers by, and these thin little green bills are atrocious. And, oh my, the free Wi-Fi. Free as in beer. Free at last.
Up in the air, during take off I was witness to the bruised red full moon set above the fungal growth like circut diagrams gone mad of the city below. I wanted to stay up there forever, witness at five thousand feet to the noise and fury below.

Like many families we have traditions. This particular one stretches back to my own first birthday where I devoured my cookie monster cake with my furious fists and even got a little in my mouth. Ever since then and with the enthusiastic participation of the babies involved we have reveled in the cake destruction. NOM!

Simply focused on the birthday boy, all attention and joy. Oh, family, I love them so. To be in such an extended tribe here is me and witness to the continuation plain and simple. Sorry to poetify, but is so precious.

Box of playa dusty ducks my sister brought me back from the 2008 burn. I hope I wasn't too harsh in refusing them, or showed disgust. It seemed in good humor, but white elephant gifts I will refuse when possible. The smell though, wow, brought back some serious memories and the heat and the dust.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 15, 2008 from San Diego, United States
from the travel blog: Tijuana to Vancouver
tagged Birthday, SanDiego, Day0, T2v and PlayaGift

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Day 1a

Tijuana, Mexico

Tah-da, the requisite beer. One frothy cold and delivered to my table with chips and salsa. Just outside the resturant was a family band, brothers and cousins on accordian, bass, drums, and tiny preteen cousin on the mike belting out the lyrics like she owned them. I wish I had gotten them in the beer pic. It's not just a treasure hunt, damnit. I missed out on the picture of the fly dying on it's back in the urinal at the Burger King outside of the border, but I think that was more a matter of good taste. Right as my alarm went off, in the middle of a conversation with an American prophet, there had started a troupe of costumed Mexicans doing an apparently traditional dance. They were in full feathered regalia, young son on the skin drum and infant shaking a rattle. The prophet was an older woman, her pale makeup was smeared around and her maskara caked lashes behind large dark glasses framed pale green eyes. She wanted me to warn my father about the dark forces, the ones he has abandoned, for they are angry. I'm sure he'll be fine.
Apparently it's not cool to buy glassware and take it over the border. Next time I'll just put it in my fucking pocket. Oh, yeah, and you need a passport to get back into the states. Well, they let me through, "But remember it next time." I'll surely remember it for Canada. The only borders I like are on imaginary planes and shift based on your calculations. I did however get away with some lovely jewlry for some select lady friends.
Amsterdam Pharmacy, Srsly, wtf? SmartShop it ain't.
This one too. Multinational Mexico, go go go!
Ok, I've seen these damn things all over the world. London, Amsterdam, Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles... this however is the first one to grace my data stream. Lovely. Frida. Lovely.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 16, 2008 from Tijuana, Mexico
from the travel blog: Tijuana to Vancouver
tagged Mexico, Beer, TJ and Tijuana

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Day 1b

Laguna Beach, United States

Ahh, the landmark boobs. I've saw these things many times while commuting to San Diego with my ex and her daughter. Tijuana brought back plenty memories, the good times mostly. I'm not an astological kind of guy, but it was a house of three scorpios. Just sayin... Lot's of drama, basically a tar baby.
Wet toes, soaked cuffs. As I write this in a Starbucks ($4 for wifi, dejected pirate "Arrr") my cuffs are cold and wet. I do not fear for my ankles to getting the flu, but should probably change them away.
Laguna Beach. There were dozens of wake boarders. 12 year olds to a couple mid thirties scruffy guys in lazy goatee and all watching the waves with perfect relaxed zen lasers beaming fiercly from their 6th chakras. I wandered through the wave beach interface up past a few clusters of photographers and shiny white families all dressed in white. Walked up to a rocky area with tide pools and didn't trust my feet to the sharp and slippery. The people are familar, not as individuals but the spread of the phenome. I fear I shall always ache for the true multiculture stew of the megalopolis London. The guy sitting next to me at the starbucks has a russian accent and that makes me happy.
Crystal Cove and the sun is setting. 2 hours and two blog posts in the previously mentioned bucks of stars. Upper class and white, I gotta keep going. Going to head up to Mom, Step Dad, Sisters in Altadina tonight. More friends tomorrow and then outta this crazy place. I am not looking forward to the thick rush hour craptastic traffic.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 16, 2008 from Laguna Beach, United States
from the travel blog: Tijuana to Vancouver
tagged Water, White, SoCal, LagunaBeach, Boobs and UpperClass

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Day 1c

Pasadena, United States

It was the night I was moving out of Pasadena. The new job was a terrific opportunity. The car was packed to the brim. I was making my way back to the uhaul van that my step day was driving. We were in for some serious driving. 300+ Miles

This is the corner where I saw a man get shot. What would you have done? The memories are fuzzy, staccato like a damaged film reel. The roaring sound of traffic. I think he was unarmed. He pulled over and got out of his truck. He wore a white t-shirt. The absurdly small pop of guns. Yes, it was a white t-shirt and the bullet hole blossomed on his chest like a red carnation as he fell. The light turned green and I went on my way. I'm no hero, man. Fuck that shit. None of my business. I only add it here for local color.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 17, 2008 from Pasadena, United States
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Day 2

Santa Monica, United States

Los Angeles is of course a city for by and about cars. I was surprised how quickly the old driving patterns returned. I'm an asshole on the road. Get outta my fuckin' way. Go faster, it's the pedal on the right, signal you bastard signal! I hit the tail end of rush hour traffic getting to the beach. Technically I missed running the beach from Laguna Beach to Venice. I think a negotiation is in order. I'll run the coast during the day and drive up the highway during the night.

The Jolly Roger is flown proudly over the main building at Digital Domain. Finest moments I remember there are 4am smoking out of a janky aluminum foil pipe, I was that poor, and watching the 4th of July fireworks with a work pal. I've noticed an independent spirit in fellow DD grads. Maybe I'm projecting. It takes all kinds. But there's a technical panache and carbon fiber titanium reinforced work ethic I seen shine out when I've worked side by side with those peeps.

This freakish sculpture is on the corner of Rose Ave and Ocean. A quiet icon no one talks about, but you can't miss it. If anyone knows the story I'd love to hear it. You live around there it becomes a welcome sight on drunken nights unless you've gotten drunk at the Firehouse across the street from it. That just means that you have to get back to work.

I don't know how I could have feared that Venice would become any less freakish. Nothing's changed except for some innovations in bong technology. Harry Parry still jams on. Chill dance music still pumps out of the native American boutique. Hippies still ply their wares on the side walks. The walls are still covered with awesome murals. Now they're just a little older, a little faded.

I didn't go out to the water, but I did get some cheap sandals, got some postcards. I couldn't find the guy selling fresh incense. There will be plenty in Berkeley. It's probably just because it's Monday. I want to bike up and down the strand next time I'm down here, oogle the bikini clad babes with silicon tits and slathered in coconut oil, get a white egg omelet with goat cheese and broccoli.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 17, 2008 from Santa Monica, United States
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Day 2-3

Buellton, United States

Night driving. It's all ink and stars. Bright white dwarf stars red shifted and dancing through curved space-time. There were Symmetric motorcycle cops waiting at the top of a hill as I exited Malibu. Oh, the patent leather tight laced melange of paranoia and sex. I'll be the first to amid that a good latex cop outfit and hot body poured into it can give me chub.

Was exhausted and making more and more mistakes of attention and fine motor control by Buellton. Stopped at the fine Marriott and tucked into some delicious wifi.
I don't have a tea problem, it's a habit and I can quit whenever I like. The only problem here is that my cup is empty, damnit.

Here's that shirt I picked up at the Crow Bar restaurant near Laguna. It's a bit thin and would be great in a wet t-shirt contest, probably not on me though.

This is the California highway I remember from my youth. The pale yellow grass and deep dusty green trees. I passed by a few wineries. Their rows and columns were not properly aligned to the road for the optimal effect, but I shall describe it in hopes that you recall your own similar experience of delight when the lines are right.
It's after hour 3 on a drive that's not quite half done. If you're lucky you've brought plenty of music, but still your immobile human body protests. Green, yellow, gray, blue, it all mushes together. Then there's an orchard or a factory plot and your view goes all Phillip Glass. The lines of vegetation are perfectly perpendicular to your sight and they thrum away into perspective. They look like the thin legs of some giant running along side your car. Maybe it's only one that you saw, maybe you were lucky and you passed by seemingly endless plots of cabbage and oak and apple trees and strawberries and bare tilled fields. That's what I looked for as a child on long road trips. The running thin green giant.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 18, 2008 from Buellton, United States
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Day 3

Monterey, United States

On the last sun drenched beach I saw a huge flock of seagulls and had to stop. You would too, wouldn't you? I had to chase them around like the sincerely naive man child I let myself be more often than I probably should.

The gulls were oddly quiet. The sand was rough between my bare toes. The smell of rotting seaweed and salty air rejuvenated me. I imagined an art project I could have started, but didn't have the care. Collecting a teaspoon of sand from all the beaches I visit. Such a collection of matter probably exists in one form or another and will probably be distributed through the rental car and my shoes.

Drove though Big Sur, big windy mountainous pass. Lots of mist rolling up and over the road. Coming out of southern California into northern California was a wall of cloud. I could see it looming on the horizon. Gone was the blazing hot rays of merciless sun, grated through eucalyptus and filtered through mist. Up and down, sharp to the right, sharp to the left, switch backs and what seemed like loop-de-loops at the time the road rippled up the coast.

In Big Sur, while listening to Plaid's song Rakimou, 3 bloody times, I was finally able to start a little healing, repairing the loss, that distance from home, oh-god-I'm-finally-back feeling. While in London I had a bad acid trip, my very first. It was the end of my employment and Halloween. The fear, the fear, I had "The Fear". Like a cold shiny black needle through my heart I was pierced with the deepest most baroque paranoia I could imagine. I literally felt my heart was stabbed through the 6th dimension. I knew there was a secret ninja technique of stopping one's heart. I knew that I could stop if it I wanted to. Death was just a breath away.

I stopped at a little ditch to call my grandparents, to let them know I'd be in in a couple days. There were crows on the road. Lovely crows.
Drove up through Los Gatos and Campbell.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 19, 2008 from Monterey, United States
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Day 4

Santa Cruz, United States

I went to the eucalyptus forest at Natural Bridges state park after a lovely breakfast with friends. I visited with the butterflies hanging in massive clumps. Lovely monarchs. My friend seemed to be enjoying a little synthenesia as he swore he could hear their wings flapping. Sadly I was not in such a state and they were quiet. I continued on to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, landmark of my youth.

Here's the empty boardwalk on an early Wednesday night. There's such high contrast here against all my memories of the place. It should be packed with people. There should be cries and laughter and loud music and the thunderous rattle of the two wooden roller coasters. It's dusk and there's a handful of people staring out at the ocean or holding hands and walking along the beach. My graduating high school class had a field trip out here years ago. I've been here on dates and lone wolf journeys, usually in the summer and it's always been packed. I simultaniously felt the empty present and the seasonal inertia of the 100 years it's been here. My own presence a tiny golden thread in its vast rolling tapestry.

Sunsets are such simple things repeated over and over again, every day, everywhere, continuously. Winter has robbed us of long sultry days, but the sunsets are still glorious. It's the clouds that make it for me. I even see god in there sometimes.

There was a little section of the arcade that had classic games. The kind of games that now-a-days come free with a cheap cell phone (if the licenses have run out). Tempest, Ms. PacMan, Frogger, Asteroids, et al. Peak evolutionary coin predators. Like sharks that go straight for your pocket. I had my Nintendo DS in my pocket at the time. With the right software it could simulate all the hardware in those games. What it wouldn't have is the grime and texture from years of hard banging by adults and kids. The controls had a solid feel, a realness that's smoothed over by the brightly colored games these days, the brain training games and collections of micro-games and cooking simulators.

Oh, the hard fought treasures of yesteryear. How they seemed so far away and high above. Spend 20$ on skeet ball to get a 2$ stuffed bear, of course. It's not the prize but the fighting, it's not the destination but the journey. I'm pretty proud that I can walk into any candy shop and buy whatever I like. Not that I would, but I could. That CD alarm clock, I'm not going to spend 2 hours and 30$ racking up 2500 tickets. Sadly that naivety has washed away never to return.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 20, 2008 from Santa Cruz, United States
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Day 4b

Campbell, United States

This is from one of my first memory clusters. The Day Care was just down the street from this sign which has miracuously arrived unharmed in the present.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 20, 2008 from Campbell, United States
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