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Say a Prayer When California Falls into the Sea

Thursday before departing San Francisco, we went to Dottie's True Blue Cafe for breakfast on Pat's recommendation. It is located in the heart of the Tenderloin district. We walked since it was only about 7 blocks from our hotel. Pat did warn that it would be a sketchy neighborhood, and he was right! I've never seen so much flagrant drug use in my life. The entire neighborhood smelled of marijuana.

At one point I witnessed a couple of people smoking crack--or at least I presume it was crack, as they were using those straight glass pipes that you've seen in the movies... or in the Marion Barry sting operation footage. What was most shocking about the crack smokers, is they were doing it in plain view of the Tenderloin District Police station! But, despite how frightening the neighborhood seemed, not a single person bothered us or even approached us.

Oh, yeah, and Dottie's was filled with normal people (perhaps the wrong adjective, but I mean non-homeless and non-addicts). There was about 8 people waiting for seats, and it was 10 am on a weekday. Of course the food was fantastic. Horrible for your health (we sat at the bar, so we saw the massive amounts of butter used), but extremely tasty. When we left there was about 12 people (some had to wait outside) waiting for seats.

From San Francisco we drove to San Jose, to meet Dad's friends Earle and Sandy Jenner. Earle and Dad worked together in the Sixties. I was 5 years old when I last saw them, so I only had a vague memory of them, but I did remember. San Jose is also the place of my birth, but Dad wasn't feeling well, so unfortunately he didn't get a chance to show me around the places we used to live.

We spent 2 days in Los Angeles. Dad and I were both suffering from colds by this point (mine had started in San Francisco), so we kept a pretty low profile in LA. On Saturday Dad stayed at the hotel while my friend Sharon (and her friend) showed me around town. Unfortunately, traffic was horrible, so a lot of what I saw was slow moving cars (possibly due to the many Oscar parties around town causing gridlock). We had Sushi at Manhattan Beach, then walked out on the pier.

We then went to the LA Observatory, which is a pretty cool building, not to mention the views from it. You needed a reservation to go inside, but I enjoyed just walking around the exterior. After that we intended to go watch the sunset from Santa Monica, but traffic foiled our plans. Later I picked up Dad, and then we headed over to Sharon's house for a home cooked meal! How nice!

Reminds Me: As we drove out of LA (and boy does that take forever... over an hour of driving at 75 mph and we were still in the greater metropolitan area), I couldn't help but think of my favorite lyrics from Firewater's "So Long Superman":
Say a prayer when California
Falls into the sea
L. A. I never knew ya
Goodbye, good riddance to ya
Go to hell and hallelujah
You never meant much to me

Sunday Dad and I headed to Santa Monica to meet my friend Melissa (who just moved to LA from DC) for lunch. We got there early, and strolled around Santa Monica. By dumb luck we stumbled on a very peaceful anti-war demonstration called "Arlington West". They had crosses in the sand on the beach--I thought one for every soldier killed in Iraq. Most of the crosses were white, and some were red. I asked what the significance of the red crosses was, and it turns out they have run out of room on their permit to fit all the white crosses needed to represent every soldier, so the red crosses represented 10 soldiers killed. The whole experience was very powerful, and not too unlike the Vietnam Wall, except it is current events instead of history.

After our lunch with Melissa, we headed to San Diego. We got there a bit late to do much more than get dinner then drive around and check out downtown from the car. Monday morning we got up and toured the aircraft carrier USS Midway. We both enjoyed that, and after 4 hours aboard, we still missed an entire section of the ship, but it was time to finally head Eastward. I type this to you from Yuma, AZ, where we are now one time-zone closer to home.

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