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July 29, 2009

The Beach, Barbra and Bee Stings

After I realized yesterday that there was no pool to strut around in my bikini in, nor was Brad Pitt delivering my room service, I decided to hop in my car and go somewhere-anywhere and see more of California (no, not in my bikini) before it got too dark.

I knew Malibu was relatively close, I quickly Googled the directions (where was life before Google?) and found a restaurant on the beach and headed to the coast.

Immediately, I came upon a huge difference in between Houston, which has a beach an hour a way, and California, which has beaches everywhere: you have to drive through a mountain to get to a beach.

We just don't have mountains in Texas.

Other than the mountain of traffic on I-45 South headed to Galveston at any given moment, you certainly aren't going through a mountain to get to the beach water. Nor would you want to.

We Houston drivers can handle just about anything. But driving through mountains is not something we encounter, and frankly, it's creepy. Put me on the toll road at 8 am and I am fine in that parking lot of traffic, cutting people off as required to get to my destination.

These California drivers zip around mountain curves like there is not a Grand Canyon size sheer drop to one side, as if there is plenty of room to pull over if someone gets distracted looking at their Blackberry, negotiating a movie deal in their Beamer.

Hello. Take your eyes off the road for a second, and you better be freaking James Bond with a parachute on your car because you are going off a cliff and into some remote canyon. The whole way there, I kept thinking, how am I gonna get BACK, in the dark, on THIS road?

I finally made it to Malibu, which is of course, amazingly beautiful.

Pacific Ocean straight ahead. Sunset. Forget Brad, at that moment I was really wishing my husband was with me.

I texted my mom (at a stop light, not on one of those crazy ass curvy roads) and ask her to remind me why I didn't apply to Pepperdine? Who goes to school there? Can I go back to college? Will she pay?

My restaurant is Bob's Paradise Cove Cafe, which I had selected in about 10 seconds off the list on Google. It sounded beachy and casual and not fancy. I lucked out, it was all of the above.

Since the sun was going down, I immediately skipped past the restaurant, which is right on the ocean, and walked right down to the ocean because Lord knows I'm not going in beach water past my toes in the dark.

What is it about beaches, especially the Pacific. For a brief second, all I could hear was the Jaws music in my head and I was glad I left the bikini at the hotel.

I got over that, stuck my feet right in. And wow, that Pacific Ocean water is cold! Now I'm wondering, who goes to Pepperdine, who lives here, and who swims in this water that is the temperature of a bucket of ice, in July?

I overcome my shyness, asked a stranger to take my photo, done, get back up to the restaurant.

I asked for a seat outside of course and get put in between two groups of people.

There I was, sharing a long seated cushioned bench, squished in between two groups of strangers.

I didn't care.

I had my beach view, my feet had just been in the Pacific, and I was eating on the beach.

I ordered a Strawberry Mohito and Raw Oysters.....

Waiting for my food to arrive, listening to the group of adults discuss going to a party with Barbra Streisand and drop celebrity names left and right.

I tried not to eavesdrop. Well, no I didn't, I just flat listened to every celebrity filled word.

There I sit, my little Texas self, happy as a clam, eating my oysters, drinking my Mohito on the beach, trying to not act too obvious as I listen to the conversation of the rich and famous. Missing my husband. Loving the sound of the ocean.

Then it happened.

I felt something on the back of my neck and reached up to brush it off and realized I had just been stung by a bee. I brushed it off, saw it in the sand, started to feel the pain, and brushed again and felt the stinger come out.

Didn't this happen to Cameron Diaz in Something About Mary?

I had just eaten half a dozen raw oysters and had a big fat Mohito.

I am not allergic to bees, thank goodness.

But, I don't want to be stung by one, certainly not sitting among a bunch of rich people, having just eaten, and not sure how I am going to react.

How come I don't get stung by a stupid bee in the Kroger parking lot at home where no one cares? I cannot remember the last bee sting I had, and here I am, IN MALIBU ON THE BEACH, and the one and only bee out that night finds my neck as his target!

I could feel my neck start to swell in the back. At least my throat was not swelling shut.
Can you imagine? This man 2 feet from me has just discussed being at a party with Barbra Streisand and I could have like passed out or gone into shock right there on the sand in front of them.

He could have gone back and told her about the crazy lady from Texas who passed out from the bee sting in Malibu and puked up her raw oysters and alcohol. UGH!

I calmly reached into my glass and got some ice out and held it on the sting and just smiled my Texas smile and acted like everything was fine, as opposed to screaming out that MY NECK IS ON FIRE which is what I really wanted to do.

If I didn't have to drive back through that ridiculous canyon, I would have ordered 3 more Mohitos to kill the pain, but then I knew for sure no one would ever hear from me again. I don't think my company would appreciate the negative press.

Finally, the pain started to go away.

I paid my tab. Went back to the beach one more time, in the dark, stuck my big toe in, Jaws music again, and went to my car and sat there for a minute debating how to get back to the hotel on that road, through that canyon or mountain or whatever it was.

No choice...I headed back the way I came.

A funny thing happens when you drive through a canyon with a sheer drop to your right, and it's dark outside.

You forget that there is a sheer drop since ya can't see it, and suddenly I was sort of just zipping along with the rest of those fools. I just pretended like I was on I-45 at night and forgot all about the fact that the vast darkness to my right wasn't due to a lack of street lights.

I made it back to my hotel in one piece, other than my swollen neck.

I'm trying to determine where I can work in Malibu or who's hiring so I can just permanently re-locate?

Of course, I mentioned that to one of my clients today, who used to live here.

He suggested that I grab a flyer off the first house I see for sale, before I start packing.

Maybe Brad will let me borrow his beach condo when he's out of town with Angelina and the kids? And I hope his beach condo is bee-free.
(QOTB: What's your favorite beach? Or what's your favorite spot in California?)
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Stefanie on July 30, 2009 said...

Of course you were stung by a bee. Good stuff!

Kristi said...

I ate at the same restaurant! One day you need to make it to San Diego and San Francisco - also beautiful beaches!

btw - you look fabulous! I'm jealous :)

Amy D. said...

CA sounds gorgeous! You shy?!? btw, TX does have mountains - the Davis Mts. in West TX. I also googled & found this quite interesting - a list of mtns. in TX, which I just had no idea of so many... there are SEVEN listed at over 8,000 ft!


ok this is too funny - another site has them listed by county & Harris Co. has 5 peaks & summits listed...it won't let me paste the site in here, though (& typing one was enough. The highest elevation of the 5 is 243' :)ha, ha, ha - that is a bump!

Shannon on August 02, 2009 said...

Stephanie-yes only me. I never get stung by bees. Unless I'm sitting next to a half celebrity on a beach.

Shannon on August 02, 2009 said...

Kristi-I've been to SF, two years ago, loved, loved it. Would go back in a heart beat, although I'm hooked now on southern CA just as much!

Shannon on August 02, 2009 said...

Amy-I knew about the west Texas mountains but they are so far...and not in the middle of a suburban area which is what makes the ones in CA so weird if you are from here. The thought of Harris county having more of a hill than my driveway is hysterical. I suppose the on ramp to BW 8 counts? :)

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