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Glimpses on the Way...

Vacationing is marvelous, even as I am restless in restful space(s)...

Snapshot #1: We approach the Japanese restaurant in the strip mall close to the car rental place. Brian had found it on his phone. Said reviews were good. “Alrighty, then,” we decided. The door was stuck, a bit heavy to open. The lighting was dark to our sunlit eyes. A woman’s voice with an accent welcomed us to a table behind the first divider. We sat down, eyes now accustomed to the lighting, looking around. A smallish dining room, filled with Japanese grandmothers, or grandmotherly aged Japanese women. JACKPOT, we knew in an instant. Whenever we engage in any ‘food tourism,’ we always say, “I want the food that Grandmother would make,” be she Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Burmese, African. Jackpot it was indeed. One of the best bento-box-meals I’ve had in years.

Snapshot #2: “Want to try the local coffee shop nearby…Universal Coffee?” Sure, I figured. We had a 2.5 hour drive to the coast. We pulled into the small retail parking lot, coffee shop on the right, and a Central Market on the left. It looked like it might have Jarritos sodas inside. It did. “What is a champurrado?” Brian asked the youngish-man behind the counter. He smiled, describing it as a traditional Mexican drink, usually served hot: a chocolate based atole, or warm and thick Mexican beverage made with masa de maiz or masa harina or corn flour. Often has a cinnamon or anise or vanilla flavor. “Would you like an espresso shot in yours?” he asked. “yes please!” we chimed in. I got the small, Brian got the large. It was incredible. Sweet, smooth, spicy with cinnamon and dark chocolate taste. Perfect for the long drive to come.

Snapshot #3: Dinnertime discernment, first night on the coast. Wine and cheese, just purchased from the local market? Take-out or dine-in at the resort restaurant, Georgie’s? Brian elected to order take-out when we got to the restaurant, which meant a nice, casual wait at the bar! I don’t think he realized that right away, but I was already on my way to the gin martini, up, with an olive. YES. A good start to the vacation weekend on the coast. We wound up in easy vacationers’ conversation with a Tami and Drew from Washington state. Another fellow, a local whose name I didn’t catch, joined in. It was delightful to see him the next morning at the Blue Pig Bakery in town as well. Excellent peanut-butter cookies, just sayin. Our food arrived at the bar in quicker time than expected. We savored the conversation, our drinks, then eased back to our room to enjoy the sun making its journey to the ocean below. A delightful start.

Snapshot #4: The beach here on the Oregon Coast—Newport, OR area—is a stunning and lengthy expanse of sand in both directions. We can walk over a mile to our left—south—and over two miles to our right—north. It’s probably a good tenth-of-a-mile from the hotel steps (71 of them, we counted) to the water’s edge, depending on tide. I love the expansive ‘hiking’ we get to do. I love the overwhelming amount of oxygen and ocean. But do you know what my heart’s been drawn to? The dogs. Human beings with their unconditional-love-companions, playing and chasing and fetching and returning. Mostly mixed breeds, it seems, but the Doodles have been well represented amongst the hoi-polloi of Newport Oregon. Makes me realize how much I miss my own Nala, though she’d be on a retractable leash. I love watching the dogs running free, then returning to connect with their humans. I miss my Nala.

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