Matthew Lickona 2:45 p.m., Dec. 10
Riding the Waves of Carlsbad with Dr. Bill and GT
Carlsbad: 12:30 PM Puffing up the second hill of our adventure, we move from the military/beach presence of Oceanside into the touristy, resort, retirement community of Carlsbad. In few words, Carlsbad is one of the highest income cities (average family income over 100,000 clams) in the US, has a high educational level, an award winning Carlsbad Unified School District and claims to have built the worlds first Skateboard Park on the grounds of the Carlsbad Raceway in 1976. GT: Known history of Carlsbad begins with a settlement of Native Americans, Luiseňo tribe, who had a village, Palamai. Does this sound similar to Palomar Airport Rd.? Yep. The former location of the village was alongside Agua Hedionda Lagoon, which in Spanish means Smelly Water Lagoon. The lagoon is in South Carlsbad close to the I 5 and Cannon St. exit. Payomkowishum Luiseño
Drawing of Luiseño men in traditional dance regalia, by Pablo Tac (Luiseño, 1822–1844)
Dr. Bill: The Luiseno tribe is still around. On June 13, I read that the San Luis Rey band of Luiseno Indians hosted the 15th annual Intertribal Pow Wow at San Luis Rey Mission. Robert John Knapp, the Pow Wow’s spiritual advisor, stated in the North County Times, Today we honor the people here and speak to the Earth from this happy place. We must love our mother Earth, and we must express that love and actively practice it. Talk to her, sing to her, tell her how much you love her. GT: I love you, Momma Earth. Dr. Bill: I love you, Momma Earth. We cross the bridge over the railway tracks and on our right is the well-manicured Maritime Academy, which has an enrollment of about 300 students on the beautiful 16 acre, oceanfront campus. The walls state Leadership, Excellence, Honor, Responsibility, Loyalty and Compassion. The place had those kinds of words as its reputation, but a boil burst on the Academy in 2003. A few students were involved in a hazing incident with an unwilling cadet. The cadet was forced to drink alcohol, beaten up and sodomized by forcing a broom stick up his rectum. The suit charged the Academy with not properly protecting the students. It was finally reported settled in Aug of 2009. The cadets that I have encountered seemed like other high school students, though I sure a broom stick will never be just a broom stick to them. GT: That nail in my butt allows me to identify with the student. This reminds GT of the first dirty joke that he ever heard. I didn’t exactly lmfao, but rather cute. Boy: Jimmy won’t be in school today. A motorcyclist hit him in the ass. Teacher: Please use the word rectum. Boy: Wrecked him, hell, it killed him. We are now at the Magee Park, the site of the Historical Magee House. Be sure to note the beautiful traditional garden composed of red, white and blue flowers. This is the home of the Carlsbad Historical Society and Carlsbad’s only historical museum. Funny, how historical markers keep on popping up in this city. I do 20 pushups and 40 sit ups. In my youthful forties, I managed a hundred pushups. Now, I lie exhausted on the grass, do a few minutes of self-hypnosis, rise without using my hands, get a drink of water from the fountain, and wearily proceed. There is wonderful food in this little city with a population a bit over 100,000. El Norte Mexican Restaurant is a charming restaurant with above average Mexican food, other than the too thick egg coating on the Chile Relleňos. The $2.00 Taco and Tecate Tuesday is the deal. I’ve always enjoyed my ride on their Cadillac Margarita. The Pechango platter, comprised of various Mexican Antejitos, makes for a very tasty happy hour treat and a great buy for the money. On our left is a very good, moderately priced Coco Beach Club. They have a French Onion Soup and Oyster’s Rockefeller bread that are a compelling combination. All their happy hour treats are delicious and their moderately priced entrées are quite good. The Early Bird (4 pm-12, all but Fri. and Sat.) gets their signature prime rib for $12.99. The Alchemist: He Turned Water into Gold
Statue of John Frazier GT: There has been an incestuous relationship between the history of Carlsbad and water. The two have often interacted and sleep in the same bed. Dr. Bill: Yipes. Here comes one of GT’s monologues. GT: Modern history of Carlsbad begins on the other side of Carlsbad Blvd. with the guy in that bigger than life statue. He is the Carlsbad alchemist, Capt. John Frazier. In 1882, Capt. Frazier drilled a well for his farm about a block from the beach. The Capt. was convinced that his well water cured a chronic stomach ailment that he had suffered for years. A chemical analysis found the water was almost identical to the therapeutic spring waters of a famous Carlsbad Spa in Bohemia (today, the Czech Republic.). Thus, the water was dubbed Carlsbad Mineral Water. The Capt. began bottling it. In the 1880’s, he peddled his water to passengers at the whistle-stop that soon became called Frazier's Station. In 1887, the Capt. erected an elegant Victorian hotel and spa. Guests came to this spa from all over the world and included two U.S. presidents. Alas, the fancy spa burned down in 1897. In 1907, Frazier’s Station became the newly built the Old Santa Fe Depot. This landmark is listed on the National Register of Historic Place and is currently the Visitor's Information Center for the city. In 1930, the old hotel site was resurrected as Carlsbad Mineral Springs Hotel, but the depression hit and the financial well went dry. Finally, in 1996, after having the water turned off for 60 years, Ludvik Grigor, a native of Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia, paid the water bill and the golden fluid flowed once more. The Captain’s farm has slowly morphed into the city of Carlsbad. The original well is located at Alt Karlsbad, a replica of a middle-age German house. There is a current spa, in which you can soak in warm, non-chlorinated, naturally carbonated, alkaline mineral water in a private themed room (the Egyptian, Cleopatra, or Exotic Oriental.) PT winks at me and said he prefers the Exotic Oriental. I know to censure my thoughts, but I can’t wait for Debra and I to come here on some special occasion. She can be my Cleopatra and I will be her Marc Anthony. GT: Your busted! I heard that, Dr. Bill Dr. Bill: Would you rather that I say it? GT: No!
GT: You can purchase a jug of this highly acclaimed alkaline (pH 8.7) water for 50 cents/gallon. Probably, the best deal that you will find in this rich little city. Customers come from 80 miles around to gather and gulp this purported therapeutic fluid. Many people believe that the water’s curative value is derived from minerals acquired in the estimated 9,500 year journey from the aquifer (near Palomar Mountain) 60 miles east to the wells of Carlsbad, one block from the Pacific. Get this. The California State Senate proclaimed Carlsbad Water to be “The Most Healthful Water” and a California Historic Site. The water was described by the North County Times as “Eden in a glass.” I am not convinced of the healthful virtues of this fluid over everyday tap water. Dr. Bill: Remember that time we bought a gallon of the alchemist’s water. It was tasty, but I still can’t hear out of my deaf ear. GT: You’re still bald and have bunions, too. Dr. Bill: Catch a whiff GT and I breathe in the aromas around us. We are almost knocked to the asphalt by Knockout Pizza and Knockout Hamburger. Yummy! They knock out a B to B plus pizza, compared to the wood burning oven pizza at Mario Batali’s Pizzerie Mozzo on Melrose in LA. However, this pizza goes for two slices and a drink for $6.00. On Mondays, you can get grilled onion sliders for $1.00 at the burger joint. If you like Middle-Eastern food, the Mediterranean Cafe is the place to go. This is clearly one of the best restaurants in Carlsbad. The atmosphere is authentic, intimate and warm due to Mazen Afghani and his son, Alex. The kabobs, hummus, lamb, tabbouleh and rest of the fare are delicious. The appetizer of pancetta wrapped dates stuffed with gorgonzola cheese is a bomb. Mazen has a way of making each guest feeling like a visiting royalty. On most nights, a classical guitarist is there to soothe your savage beast. Mazen is a jeweler and has a fascinating display of moderately priced artworks and jewelry from around the world next to the restaurant.
GT (chiding me): You don’t just like this place, because your son and his bride were married at Moonlight beach and had their wedding reception at the Mediterranean Cafe last May.
Dr. Bill: Leave me alone. I know quality food, quality drink and quality people when I encounter them.
We are surfing next to a several mile boardwalk and several sea walls. There is a scurry of big, bad, ugly and beautiful dogs, men, women, and babies. Creating this walkway is one of the many examples of how Carlsbad has more foresight than most beach communities in attracting tourists. All sizes, fonts, colors and cultures of the Homo Sapiens Americana are running, walking, strutting, strolling and soaking in the glory of the sun and sea. There is a dog pulling a skateboarder following another dog drawing a rollerblade jockey. It is a parade and we are all role players in the people show.
The Tower of Power
Ah, now we can see the smoke stack of the Carlsbad Electric Power Station that towers over all, but the seagulls and pelicans. It is visible for miles in either direction and allows a somewhat senile individual, such as myself, to know where I am. This is an important landmark because it is the half way point to Encinitas. GT makes me set little goals like that. We are approaching the tower. Dr. Bill: Puff, puff, puff. GT(advising): Go down a gear, so your feet won’t have to meet the street. Dr. Bill(defensively): Puff- I doing just fine, thank you. I know my body. If I want advice, I’ll ask for it. GT: Sorry. Just trying to help, my love. Dr. Bill: Sorry, I was a jerk. A fog bomb dropped on the conversation as I stubbornly barely huffed and puffed over this little incline in high gear. Unfortunately, I am too exhausted to even gloat. Nice little wave. We keep on paddling to reach the second hill of Carlsbad. A tribe of almost identically outfitted street bikers with click on shoes sail past me and laugh at my fat saddle. Maybe, it was my fat ass. More sleek individuals on their sleek, thin skinned tires, pass me. Dr. Bill: You know, Debra says I don’t have a mean bone, but I don’t feel fond of those skinny tire riders, who have youth, sleekness and conditioning. GT: You’re a fat, out of condition old fart. You just envy them. Dr. Bill: Yep, guess I am. Right before the second major climb of Carlsbad, GT notes discord in the air waves that was not of our origin. There is fighting. A war is going on. Radio remote controlled planes are in air to air combat before my eyes. Dives, spins, loops, free-fall, each is trying to outdo the other in having razor sharp control over their fighter plane. The red plane does a pelican swoop, taps the blue plane from above. The blue plane spins downwards, like a WW11 Japanese plane shot down in the movies. It crashes about one-half way down the cliff. Five, free flying, long-nosed pelicans watch in wonder. We battle to ride the final wave into Leucadia. I begin obsessing over the Best Apple Fritter on Earth; (BAFE). GT and I had a little marital spat. Dr. Bill: Let’s stop for a BAFE. I need nourishment. My blood sugar level is low. GT: You promised to take me to the Oct. Huntsman Senior Games in Utah. At 220, you’re too f…, I mean, bulky to be competitive. Dr. Bill: I’ll buy a BAFE and only eat half.
GT: Don’t lie to yourself, cowboy. You just admitted your envy of the sleek.
Dr. Bill: But, I’ll leave the other half for the homeless. It’s a benevolent act to eat half and leave half for someone needy.
GT: What you really want is an Asian pear from Just Peachy.
Dr. Bill: I do not. What I really want is the Best Apple Fritter on Earth.
GT: Well, how about a non-fat vanilla frozen yogurt with a squeeze of pomegranate. Top it with shreds of coconut, slices of mango and those yummy bursts of fruit juice inside of tapioca kernels.
Dr. Bill: Wow. You got game, GT.
GT: I’ve never told anyone this before, but the way Yogurt is dispensed reminds me strongly of how you humans squeeze out a bowel movement.
Dr. Bill: Don’t ruin it for me, dude. Thanks for sharing.
I try to rid my mind of the foul image that GT implanted in my brain.
GT: Talking about sharing. I think I should share the little I know about Encinitas.
Dr. Bill: Go for it, big guy. My one ear is open.