Trip Start Jul 03, 2009
45Trip End Aug 16, 2009
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So it is today—our last full day on the trip in America—that it seems fitting that we have sped past two more motherly warning signs
While I braced myself for a potential filleting, Maribeth was with her attendant, a woman old enough to have given the Virgin Mary mud treatments had she lived in wine country (but then again, how much room does that leave for water-to-wine miracles?). As Maribeth lay back, she heard a whispering from behind. Turns out the attendant was praying, normally a lovely gesture. However, given Maribeth’s Spanish education extends only un poco past tacos and guacamole, it was unclear whether the mutterings of trabajo were “help me with my work today…I don’t want to lose another one” or “Dear God, this is my first day of work, and I don’t want to kill anyone,” or even “why do I have to work while this lazy chica in front of me gets to lounge in the mud.”
In all reality, it was a very unique and mostly enjoyable experience
After dropping more than we anticipated for lunch at Taylor’s Refresher, a high-end burger joint serving only grass-fed, antibiotic-free, locally sourced beef (for New Yorkers, think Shake Shack), we declared victory on Napa and headed for what turns out to be one of the circles of hell (albeit a high one) in Fairfield CA: the Jelly Belly Factory Tour.
This particular recipe for disaster involves the following ingredients:
Two relaxed but somewhat, at times, slightly judgmental travelers (particularly when it comes to parenting techniques, which of course, being currently childless, they have no business being judgmental).
Hundreds of children, overstimulated by a bevy of primary colors, damage-your-eardrums loud music, readily available ice cream, jelly beans, jelly pops, candy corn, edible necklaces, and god knows what else
Praise for the world’s greatest president ever who also happened to love jelly beans, Ronald Regan.
Dozens of parents, thrilled at the prospect of allowing their children to run wild in a Willy-Wonka-esque orgy, since it takes the burden of parenting off them for a moment and foists it on the—and I’m not kidding here—graduates of Jelly Belly University.
Mix well, and force to stand in line for over an hour. Finally, divide the mixture of people into large tour groups and thoroughly indoctrinate them into the mythos of your candy operation. Finish by sprinkling the group with a final coating of free jelly beans. And allow me to escape.
We headed for Millbrae, a town just south of San Francisco, to check into our better-than-Albequerque’s-Hotel-Blue-but-that’s-really-the-best-I can-say-about-it Millwood Inn and Suites (Let’s just say none of the words in the name of the place accurately describe it.) We were there only shortly, as our friends Rachel Egenhoffer and her boyfriend Kyle invited us to their lovely, highly-secure apartment in a modern high-rise just south of downtown Oakland. It was a wonderful California-fresh vegetarian feast that Rachel prepared, and we had a great time catching up with Rachel and Kyle. (Thanks so much for dinner, guys!) Full, and over the sugar-trauma of the afternoon, we headed home.
Tomorrow: Asian Adventures Begin!