Monday, August 15, 2011

Hurricane Familia

The hurricane has passed and all is calm at The Ranch. I'm talking about Hurricane Familia -- my brother, his wife and son. 3 furious days here and 2 more in transit. Whew.

I'd always wanted them to come to the ranch. Especially my nephew, the Pupster. The city is no place for a kid to spend his entire time and I wanted to share what I know and love about our world with this one.

It was a Family Vacation worthy of a Chevy Chase movie script. There was the angst back in Tokyo wondering if some work-related hiccup or another would make my brother have to cancel the entire vacation, the jacked-up airfare prices, getting to the wrong terminal, the thunderstorm that delayed their departure by two hours, the long wait for their luggage at San Francisco and missing their flight to San Luis Obispo...

"I know you'll think I'm an anti-eco pig, but I want to rent the biggest damn SUV there is," Bro emailed from Tokyo and sure enough, when they finally arrived at our tiny local airport, he had a Big Fat American SUV waiting for him.

"I'd never be able to drive something like this in Japan!" he laughed.
"It's too big for your driveway!" I laughed.
"It would take out guard rails and neighborhood walls down our street!" laughed Bro's Wife.
"It wouldn't even make it through the street we used to live on," laughed Big Dog.
"You couldn't afford the gasoline," my mother smirked.

Bro wanted to do every outrageous (for him) American thing there was to do. That meant, in addition to driving a humongous gas-guzzling vehicle, eating the biggest, heart-clogging quadruple stacked fast food burger he could find, renting a giant RV and camping at a National Park with the Biggest Rock/Tallest Tree/Emptiest Desert Ever, grilling the thickest get the picture. Time limitations called the shots, so there was no National Park or RV or plane ride or mule pack tour of the Grand Canyon, but there was a mountain of meat -- and I mean a MOUNTAIN -- at every meal.

After three days of touring the area, going to an aircraft museum, seeing sea lions and pelicans and otters and elephant seals, hanging out at the ranch, climbing our mountain, strolling downtown, paying 75 yen to the dollar and buying up a pile of clothes that actually fit him (unlike me, Bro is "American" size) they poured back onto a plane, loaded down with bulging bags (one of them concealing a package of Real American Bacon) and memories.



And more meat... (and this is only a small portion of the meat mountains...)