Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Balboa Island

1/4/22

What a beautiful day! Janna was a wonderful host to the area for me. She took me first to Laguna Beach, south of here, where on the recommendation of my friend Mimi (hi, Mimi!) we went to the vegan food cart The Stand, which is in a building attached to a bike shop—so cool! I enjoyed an avocado sandwich.

Afterward, we went thrift-store shopping. For $14.42, including tax, I snagged three (three!) new-to-me activewear shirts, and a bottle each of travel-sized lotion and hair conditioner. I can now pitch at least one of my existing three shirts, which was ill-fitting to begin with and now has pretty bad pit stains at this point in my journey. I might pitch even another one that is also getting pretty grungy; we’ll see how much room I can make in my suitcase.

Then we went to Balboa Island, which was really cute. Look at the banana stand! (“There’s always money in the banana stand.” I’m assuming that that aspect of Arrested Development—which was set here in Orange County—was based on this business. There was also a nearly identical one a few doors down.) We enjoyed some chocolatey banana treats there.

Finally, we returned to the Newport Beach peninsula where Janna lives, and took a golf cart ride(!) around the neighborhood, during which we passed and waved at a number of her friends and neighbors. We got to the end of the peninsula just in time to catch the sunset: magical!

When we got home, we threw all my new clothes into the washer and dryer, and then Janna generously offered to darn one of my socks! I had planned to do it myself—after discovering the hole with dismay this morning—but she insisted, and she even had a “darning egg”! (Thanks again, Janna!) We also talked more about the historic hamlet of Waterford, Virginia, where I grew up and where some of her ancestors lived as far back as the 1600s. We even called my parents, in Waterford, to say hi and thanks for putting us in contact. (Hi again, Mom!)

Tomorrow I’m taking her up on her incredibly generous offer to drive me to Escondido—saving me a long and convoluted combo of bicycling and train-riding, which I especially appreciate during this COVID-frenzied time when it’s probably safest to stay out of crowded, enclosed spaces like trains—to stay with my friend Michele and her doggie for a couple of nights, and hopefully see a couple more friends as well.

I’ve enjoyed my brief time in this beach-town area. I know I’ll be turning inland soon!

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