August 21-24, 2019
Before I say anything else, I have to mention that Lazarex Cancer Foundation notified me that an anonymous donor has pledged to match up to $500.00 of any donations received between August 21 and the end of the day on September 14, the day of our Completion Of The Journey potluck BBQ.
After Ale and Sandi picked me up on the side of the road after our border crossing, we drove the approximately 15 miles south of Tijuana to Rosarito Beach. I had made reservations at the Rosarito Beach Hotel because of memories of having visited there numerous 4ths of July up until I was 15 or so. My father’s extended family – consisting of his brother’s and sisters’ families and frequently friends – used to camp along the beach just south of Rosarito Beach every July 4 weekend. It was the only part of the month of July that I spent with him that I actually liked because I had numerous cousins I enjoyed spending time with. Although we didn’t stay at the hotel, my father frequently took some of us there for a meal and to sit on a patio while he drank tequila and had Mariachis play for us. I didn’t drink the tequila but I liked the Mariachis. I was also impressed by the elegance of the old style Mexican architecture of the hotel.
To my horror, when we got to Rosarito Beach we saw a high rise sporting the name “Rosarito Beach Hotel” on the 20th or so floor. That definitely was not what I had had in mind. I realized it had been more than 50 years since I had been there, but I didn’t expect that much change. You can imagine my relief when we actually drove through the entrance and I saw that the original hotel was still as it had been. From what my cousin Bob later told me, the high rise is in fact a condominium project owned by the hotel owner’s wife and apparently bears the hotel’s name because of its recognition factor – the hotel has been open since 1924 – and the much greater visibility of having the name some 20 stories above street level.
(What I Remembered) (High Rise)
The hotel remains much as I had remembered it. It still has an impressive elegance although it doesn’t have the glamor it had in its earlier days when it had guests such as Orson Wells, Edward G. Robinson, Gregory Peck, Vincent Price, Spencer Tracy, Anthony Quinn, the son of the Shah of Iran, Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra and Robert Redford. No doubt the sign saying, “Por esta puerta pasan las mujeres mas bellas del mundo” (“Through this door pass the most beautiful women in the world”) was inspired by such guests as Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner, Joan Bennett, Kim Novak and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
As was true during the entire trip, we were blessed by beautiful weather so we had views of both blue sky and the blue ocean from our room which, by the way, cost considerably less than some of the motels we had visited in the previous weeks.
The food at the hotel was good and reasonably priced and there were numerous options, also inexpensive but good, within easy walking distance. Although we were somewhat in a hurry to get home, we could see visiting there again when we feel more leisurely. This post includes some photos of our visit and the one of my sandy knees actually has some significance to it.
(Me with Sandi and Ale)
After 2 nights at Rosarito Beach, Ale flew home to Pueblo, via Mexico City, from Tijuana and Sandi and I drove to my condo in LA. We enjoyed having a number of family and friends over on August 24 even though the gathering didn’t result in any additional donations.
Sunday evening we had dinner at the home of Jeff and Beryl Miller. Jeff is my former law partner – as in “Perez & Miller, APC” – and they both remain good friends. The food was good – scallops prepared differently than I have had before – the view of Los Angeles from their hill side home was spectacular and the company, as always, was enjoyable.
On the drive home, we first stopped at a movie studio in Santa Clarita where my daughter, Kristina, is working on the “Good Trouble” tv series as the script supervisor. It was fun watching some of the filming though we watched on a monitor in a separate room. No, we weren’t banished there; that is where the director’s monitor is and where Kristina spends most of her time. As with the military, the mantra must be, “hurry up and wait” with a major emphasis on the “wait” because that is what most of the time consists of unless you are one of the numerous people who are scurrying around moving cameras, lights, microphones, etc., between scenes.
From there we drove to Bakersfield where we stopped in to see my best friend from college, Dr. Vernon Sorenson, who owns and operates Memorial Occupational Medicine. We had roomed together at Sigma Chi for 1 ½ years before I moved in with Jerry and Ruth Schwartz who I mentioned in my Ventura post. We hadn’t seen each other in 25 or so years and I greatly enjoyed renewing the friendship. I was especially appreciative of the fact that he had donated $500 to Laura’s Ride West Coast although I am sorry he had lost a sister to breast cancer.
We then drove home and reunited with our pets, Sky, our 8 month old American Bulldog), our cats, Fey, Calle (our rescue cat from Buenos Aires) and Bear and Buttons, and our Greater Sulfur Crested Cockatoo.
You aren’t done with me quite yet because I intend to write after our Completion Of The Journey potluck BBQ on September 14 at the home of our good friends, Paul and Annie Barendregt, in Lafayette. I will provide more info if you are interested in attending.