This morning, I woke up at 7am (again) in the parking lot of a McDonald’s. I’m beginning to feel the McD’s workers, and some of the locals have become suspicious or weary of my presence. Sure, the first few hours or days, a new visitor seems quaint. However, when they’re driving a junker with a blown up window, random tuperware containers in the car, and appear just a bit ‘beat’ but also like an educated man, then I’m sure the people will feel weary. I got the feeling I made them uncomfortable. Was it the: old 1994 Corolla, the fact that I’m the 3rd Asian person in the county, the broken window, the random containers, or the fact that it’s a small town and I stand out like a sore thumb (while loitering in parking lots)?
Anyway, when I woke up, and after being eyed by McD’s employees from time to time, I decided to hit the road. I drove over to Marina Beach which is about 15 minutes away. The homeless man at the gas station, John, told me to come here. It’s essentially an empty beach with grey clouds, mild weather, perhaps a few dozen visitors, and a foggy/misty atmosphere. It’s perfect for an artist: isolated, scenic, and quiet. Also, on my way to Marina Beach I went to the farmer’s market again and bought $2 worth of groceries: 10 grapefruits for $1 and 7 avocados for $1. I love this place.
Lastly, an interesting incident happened last night. As I was driving off from Burger King’s parking, I passed by “Jim’s American Chinese Restaurant” in Prunedale. I saw a thin, middle aged Chinese man in dark lnog pants, and a dark long sleeved shirt with his combed in the middle, and appeared a bit serious and stern – very Chinese – standing on the lit sidewalk corner while a child that appeared to be about 10 years old, slim, wearing a white t shirt, black athletic pants, and white sneakers was going through the crisp movements of a contemporary compulsory Changquan, or Long fist style (a northern style of Wushu or Kung Fu). I recognized every movement, and as a I passed I asked them if they are practicing Wushu. The man seemed a bit hard of hearing and kept getting closer while gesturing with his hand to his ear. Then I asked in Mandarin if it was Changquan and then in Cantonese Chinese. He responded in Cantonese that it was “Cheng Koon.” I said the boy was very good and gave a thumbs up and the stern, but friendly man smiled and said “Thanks!” I waved good bye as I drove off. I parked a observed a bit; the man continued gesture with abrupt, crisp movements while echoing a sense of authority and knowledge as he had his arms crossed and observed. The boy’s movements were on par with an average sports university or sports school Wushu practitioner in China – that says a lot of his skills and the man’s teaching. Later, the man began throwing a football to the boy as he ran up and down the sidewalk and cut, turned, and caught the ball. Business must be slow, but the boy is also lucky that his father was willing and even eager to be his play mate. The boy appeared to be loving the active exercise and activities. After a while they moved over to a metal rail and the man had the boy stretch his leg up on the bar and stretch his head to his toe – a common Modern Wushu requirement. Then the man stood directly behind the boy and pulled the boy’s outstretched left leg over his head while the boy was standing on his right – he was performing a perfect split while standing upright. They performed some other stretches too before they called it a night. The parking lot was almost empty, the evening was setting in, and it was a perfect opportunity to practice. I did not expect to find Wushu, nor high quality Wushu, in a small town like Prunedale. Awesome stuff. I will have to talk with this man more in the future if I revisit the town or learn from him.
I stayed around the beach until about 3pm. I took a nap when the sun came out around 11am. The sun is warm but not burning like other sunny days I’ve experienced. Very mild and comfortable. The people are very sparse, the parking is free, the water and beach is very clean, and they even have clean outdoor showers and indoor restrooms. Very nice town.
I almost met a guy named Steve on my way out of the parking lot. He pulled up in a sporty grey Scion vehicle. He is about 5’11, blonde, a bit muscular, and honestly looks a bit like Matt Damon – hopefully he won’t be offended by this description, but he also looked a bit like a California sunshine kid. He is outgoing, friendly, and very open. I told him right away what I was doing here and where I was from. We hit it off right away and he told me that he’s in fact from Virginia, but was born and raised in Utah. He said he didn’t like the whole materialistic atmosphere in Virginia (which I agree – yuppies) even though he’s making decent money now as a pest control salesman (he travels all around). Also, his company is paying for his housing and travels.
He mentioned couch surfing to me. He had a surfboard on top of his car and was planning to surf on the beach. As I’m still developing as a writer I wonder when are good instances to transcribe conversations as best I could and when is a good time to paraphrase them. We had a great 20-30 minute conversation about life, different locations, traveling, happiness (he recommended a book “The Happiness Advantage”), and women. He seemed very developed and mature for a 22 year old – in fact, I thought he was closer to 30 or 31 and simply appeared as a young looking mature person. I applaud him, and wish all the best for Matt Damon…
Have a great day!