Day 675 of Traveling the World, Southern California, December 18, 2019.

Okay! It has been a while since we last posted, but with good reason. All of last week, we had one to three doctor’s appointments each day so that we could leave the rest of the month for any further tests or dental work. Not bad, to go doctor-less for an entire 13 months, and then cram them all into one week. We passed all of our exams (!) at the appointments, so we are free…nothing further to do on that end!

It is glorious here, warm and sunny. One day it drizzled a bit, and it got chilly, but what a pretty place! We took a long drive on Pacific Coast Highway a few days ago, over 30 miles, and it was breathtaking. We said, ahh….THIS is the reason people come to California!

The first nine photos were taken at the Ritz-Carlton, just north of Dana Point. We were married there 17 years ago, and the second photo is the exact place we took our vows, adjacent to the cliff overlooking the Pacific. We return whenever we are back in the area, as it is so beautiful, and so special to us. Do you love the last of the Ritz photos, the shiny gold fire hydrant? It has always been that color.

After the fire hydrant are three photos taken in Huntington Beach and one in Long Beach. The first shows what we thought was Catalina Island in the distance, but it is actually San Clemente Island, 29 miles long and used by the US Navy…in other words, it is not a tourist destination. In the second one of Huntington Beach, on the right side in the distance is the famous HB Pier, with a Ruby’s restaurant at the end, a great place for breakfast or lunch, sitting on a pier out in the ocean with incredible views. It is the closest you can get to a cruise ship experience without any movement whatsoever. In Long Beach, we loved the extravagant outdoor home decoration of six red balls on trees…it works!

After that we jump into South Coast Plaza, one of the world’s most extravagant shopping malls. The Christmas tree almost reaches the dome! It is so beautiful. Then…the crazy retail items. We liked the blue-faced elves cutting the model’s clothing, but have no idea what it is supposed to mean. After the scissored elves are five items from a store called Please Do Not Enter. We thought it a highly strange name for a retail store, and a woman passing by said the same thing to us. We ventured inside to take photos of these items, but nobody was there to greet us or market us. Imagine! So there is an adorable robot backpack, but we confess that we don’t know if it is a known character or just a cool pack. After that, two lights: a cat and a banana. Yes, you read correctly. And after the lights, two stuffed animal chairs. Yes, again, you read correctly. Can you imagine sitting in either of them? They are quite “wild,” to say the least.

We end with one of our favorite plays (which we have seen many times) at our all-time favorite small theater, the Maverick in Fullerton, CA. The Maverick has a small space and a terrific creative team. They tackle serious drama, musicals, and frivolous shows, like this one: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. It is corny and crazy and funny, as the actors freely ad lib and draw the audience into the show. Thus, it is always a different show, never ever the same. So the first of these photos is a t-shirt advertising the production…notice the “weapon” in the Martian’s hand! That is followed by the cast curtain call, and then Torg, the beloved robot in the show. There is a video at the end with the exit of the cast and a little dance by Torg. What a great tradition!