I thought I would write about my lovely girlie weekend with my daughter last weekend. I have to admit that I wasn't totally looking forward to it as she has been a mite stroppy recently, biting my head off if I so much as look at her with the wrong sort of facial expression. As we loaded up the car on Friday lunchtime for our 2 night trip, my husband muttered that we might as well go for a month with the amount of stuff we were taking. He was right. I am not a good role model for Travelling Light - I once took 14 pairs of shoes on a 10 day holiday in Spain! Emma is definitely a chip off the old block, taking enough changes of clothes for Paris fashion week.
Eventually we were off, only about 30 minutes late, which is something of a record for me. She persuaded me that she wanted to drive as it would be good experience for her (she only passed her test a few months ago). I wasn't sure that would be calming for my stress levels but was very pleasantly surprised as she drove positively and with confidence. I had to occasionally tell her to watch her speed and steer with more than one dainty little finger, but we started speaking again after only a few minutes of huffy silence.
We were heading off to Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel. What fun. The sun was shining, we were playing great music and beat most of the Friday rush hour traffic. Arriving in Santa Cruz we found the Downtown shopping area first as Emma was born with an onboard retail radar. She fell in love instantly. It was shopping heaven for her after the fashion hell of sleepy, backwater Novato. There were actually people on the streets, young people at that, and shops that she wanted to buy from. And buy she did. She was unstoppable, looking at me with doe eyes as she tried on cheap sandals, summer sale dresses, and endless pairs of jeans. Eventually, after I showed her the empty inside of my wallet, she decided that buying from Goodwill and thrift stores was just as good, although why she needed to buy THREE pairs of jeans to add to her mountain at home was beyond me.
We eventually headed off to the Boardwalk, where she ambushed me with more doe eyes as she looked with abject longing at the bulging bags of disgustingly fake, bright pink candy floss (or cotton candy). This revolting fluffy sugar substance was strictly forbidden when she was younger as she would become the anti-christ after eating it, spitting venom as her head revolved with scary evil eyes. Munching away together we decided it really was repulsive stuff and would remember never to buy it again. We also decided to forgo riding on any of the roller coasters as she has inherited my delightful trait of vomiting on boyfriends after being spun like a rag-doll, and instead made our way to the beach, just as Modern English took to the stage for their free Friday night performance. I have really missed walking by the sea since moving to California but had forgotten, in my rose-tinted memories, just how bloody hard it is on the leg muscles to plough through the deep soft sand. And there I was thinking I was getting fit climbing up all the sodding hills in Marin Co.
Exhausted, we finally clamboured back onto the Boardwalk with all the other, more sensible, grockles and agreed that, lovely as it was to hear a British accent tunelessly screeching out old 80's numbers, a delicious hearty supper was in order. Driving back to the Downtown area like fashion homing pigeons we found all the restaurants heaving with people tired and irritable after too long in the sun. I managed to use my English accent and Emma's wraithlike looks to talk our way into a decent Italian and we soon found ourselves sharing a pizza and salad. It was very nice to also down a large glass of wine as I realised there was a distinct advantage to having a daughter old enough to drive.
I had been told to drive down Pacific Coast Highway as the view was spectacular and the sunset would be beautiful. Well, being the obedient people-pleaser that I am, that is exactly what we did. But by the time we finished supper, squeezing in a couple more stores on the way to the car, the drive down to our motel in Monterey was in the pitch dark.
Part Two coming very soon.