Thursday, March 15, 2007

Monterey weekend, part 3

After the lecture at the aquarium, we went tide pooling with another marine biology expert. He met us at the Hopkins Marine Station, which is run by Stanford and is just a short walk from the aquarium. He gave a short talk, then let us loose to explore. We saw lots of seals swimming along, and one big one sunning itself. Beach glass was more abundant than at any other beach I've been to. We poked sea anemones and picked up abalone shells. When we tried to pick up a starfish, it suckered tight to the rocks. Bill Gilly was on hand to answer questions about our treasures.

For lunch, we ate at a restaurant on Cannery Row. That evening, after dinner, the grownups were treated to a talk by a John Steinbeck expert, who, it turned out, is married to Bill Gilly the squidologist. I stayed in our room to put Audrey to sleep, but Scott filled me in later. Steinbeck went to Stanford, but he just took whatever classes he wanted and didn't pursue a degree, so he was kind of like a Knight Fellow. He very much wrote about place, and since we were visiting the place he wrote about a lot, she quoted passages about Salinas, where he grew up, and Monterey, where Cannery Row took place, and Tortilla Flats. Steinbeck was commissioned by one of the San Francisco papers to document the Depression food problems. The farmers wanted to keep their prices inflated, so they threw their surplus food in the river. Poor people would pull it out of the river, so the farmers would pour kerosene on it and post guards to keep people from taking the food. Steinbeck's research led to his writing The Grapes of Wrath.

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