In my youth, I was a Frank Sinatra fan. Today I still remember many of his songs. Sometimes, I sing a line, "It happened in Monterey a long time ago . . .”
I now take the liberty of re-writing that to, “It happened in Monterey just two months ago . . .”
My Manong (older brother) and Manang (his wife), who had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, invited Tony and me to a two-day R&R in Monterey, a city on California’s rugged central coast, so we could catch up on all the years we’ve been apart. (They have lived in Silicon Valley for five decades.)
What would have been a second honeymoon for two became a honeymoon for four.
Monterey is famous for its aquarium, craggy beaches, and a strip called Cannery Row, which teems with tourist thingies like boutiques, restaurants, and bars.
Our hotel, InterContinental, was right smack in the middle of the strip; every interesting spot was a stroll away. It also had a perfect view of the ocean.
Being early risers, we had the neighborhood all to ourselves for two mornings. We stepped into a cozy breakfast nook (Starbucks, where else?) and to other areas where we had photo ops close to the waters, populated with friendly, swooshing birds. In picture-perfect Monterey, you need not be a good photographer to take excellent shots.
The weather was 16°C, too cold for people of the tropics. So we staked our claim to the hotel's fireplace and roosted there for, uh, maybe hours, off and on.
Nobody goes to Monterey without visiting the aquarium, with thousands of marine animals and plants on display in underwater and interactive exhibits. In there, one could get lost in the grandeur of the underworld, making Manang exclaim, "How can anyone not believe in God?"
Around the aquarium are natural landscapes and seascapes so awe-inspiring, they could make every painter wish for a dozen hands to capture their majesty.
Beyond the sights, sounds, and spectacles, it was the warmth of catching-up (which may not happen again) that spelled magic.
There, two couples—from opposite ends of the globe—found God in all the panoramas and details of His creation, each one a living proof of His boundless grace.
"It happened in Monterey, just two months ago . . ."