Sunday, December 18, 2005

peanuts & pinot noir

On Saturday we met Ted & Tatiana in San Luis Obispo, a good midpoint between them & us. They took the bus and met us outside the Big Sky Cafe. The restaurant was serving a very healthy vegetarian borscht that didn't seem the right color and tasted more like minestrone, in a good way. After lunch we walked the streets of this very pedestrian-friendly city. At least one older building had been removed and the entire block from Phoenix Books/Boo Boo Records was in the process of being rebuilt. We had coffee in the little cafe between the book and record stores where we discussed peak oil and agreed that learning a difficult foriegn language must burn calories.

At the chamber of commerce I finally learned that it's possible to hike the craggy peaks surrounding the town. For years on end I wallowed in ignorance and even imagined such hikes weren't possible, so this information constituted a minor revolution. I look forward to hiking every accessible crag.

Ted & Ta were looking for the right kind of black tea to take back, and my instincts led us to a gourmet foods store I'd passed before but never been in. Sure enough the shelves were alive with the "assam" style of tea that was apparently the object of their quest. Across the street was something calling itself a "fireplace store" that was actually a kitchen accessories store. We then offered to drop them off at the bus station, which was in a part of town I'd never seen. I wrongly imagined it would be one of the cleanest Greyhound stations in the nation. A trip to the bathroom proved otherwise. Their bus was soon to leave so we left them with their bus that was soon to plunge into the dark night, and the empty, melancholy bus station with its vending machines full of peanuts.

On our way back I wanted to stop for a bag of mixed nuts but Lisa felt it would be better to have a proper meal in Paso Robles. The meal I had at a place called Odyssey was perfect -- brie and artichoke hearts with salad, washed down with a glass of pinot noir.


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