Sunday, April 10, 2005


I just got back from a great weekend south with my parents. We took off Friday morning and hit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is amazing. We then drove down Highway 1 along the coast to San Simeon, a baby little town near the Hearst Castle. First of all, the road was crazy windy, and dad let me drive. Probably to make it more exciting. The cliffs " ocean were absolutely beautiful. I can't imagine a prettier place. I loved it.

After a few hours in the car, we got to San Simeon. The place is a po-dunk town in the middle of nowhere along the coast of California. Hearst Castle is the only thing for miles, but is worth it. Let me start with Friday night, though. Dad checked into our rinkydink hotel, and the guy behind the desk said, "Elvis is in town tonight," with a straight face. Turns out an Elvis impersonator was going to be at the hotel bar next door. It was my parents' 38th anniversary, so I decided to pull it off as my gift to them. They were pretty excited. Plus, not only was Elvis going to be there, but Roy Orbison was, too! My dad's two favorite singers. Around 8:30 we walked over to the bar to get our table...and they put us right up front. It was fantastic. The scenario - the ocean is across the highway, there are quite a few tourists in town, including the Corvette club " several bikers, and all are at this hotel to see Elvis. The bar is decorated in Egyptian stuff, which seemed a bit random. The menu was a mixture of any possible ethnicity, which made it suspicious. Turns out our suspicions were right - the food was terrible. Bar staff was running around like crazy trying to get the stage ready - a crate " towel became a table for Roy " Elvis' water, lights were checked " the mic's were ready. Around 9:15, a "back-up" singer introduced the show. She's in her mid-forties, wearing a slinky black dress, super high heels " bright red hair. Ready to strut her stuff. In the back were a piano player (about 70), a guitar player (mid-twenties, obviously lookin' for any type of work), and an emotionless drummer. First up was Roy. Being as close as we were, I was able to notice his guitar wasn't plugged in, and he was barely hittin' the strings. He had a strong voice, and cracked a few jokes in between songs, so it was enjoyable. Oh! We decided the musicians were mostly for looks, because Roy sang to a karaoke machine. The back-up singer had accompaniments " I'm not sure we could hear the guitar. At one point, I used the restroom " could hear how OFF the keyboard player truly was. Not sure what he was listening to, but it didn't match the karaoke music. Finally, Elvis came on stage. Oh, Elvis. Elvis was a 50 year old dude wearing a white sparkly suit that was WAY too tight for him. He sure enjoyed givin' a show, though. I mean, he was INTO it. He only had one leg that would really move like Elvis did, and I'm not even going to touch what he looked like when he tried to shake his pelvis Elvis-style. Ugh. Of course, Elvis was wearing a scarf like the real Elvis used to - he would wipe his sweat " then toss the scarf to the ladies. Well, our Elvis took to walking around the bar to hand out his scarves. You guessed it - I got one. I was a prime target - mid-twenties chick hangin' with her parents at a bar in San Simeon on a Friday night. He wrapped it around my neck, sang a couple lines " gave me a kiss on the forehead. I was dyin' of laughter, but tried to be polite. Turns out the scarf is a witnessing deal, so I gave him a little more credit - every scarf had a Christian saying on it. To top it off, they had a strobe light set up in front of Elvis so when he got down on one knee, he could pretend he was movin' like Elvis. The facial expressions were PRICELESS. The dude enjoyed what he did. And we, the audience, died laughing. He was hilarious.

Friday night made the trip, but the Hearst Castle was well-worth the drive, and we ended up going further down the coast to Pismo Beach, staying overnight in Morro Bay. It was a pleasant little ocean town with a farmers market, excellent italian food " a little strip of stores to walk around " shop in. It was beautiful.

This morning we got up, walked around Morro Bay a bit, and headed north to San Jose. I miss vacation.

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