Saturday, August 11, 2018

St. George's Greek & Middle Eastern Festival

In all fairness, it wasn't the best of days to begin with.  Google led me astray with the bus schedule, and I ended up walking the mile and a half to the transit mall, after doing about an hour and a half walking to the plaza to get Cay some dress slacks, in the heat, only to find that the schedule I had was wrong, and the fare I'd expected was wrong. 

I was pretty beat by the time I got to Rohnert Park on the bus, stood out in the blistering sun waiting for Cay to get there from work (the only shade at the bus stop was being used by a napping homeless person) and we got to this little tiny church with a few vendors, some tables of groceries, then a long tent with prepared food.

Now I've been to other Greek Festivals (ironically, in most of the cities I've been to, Long Beach, Albuquerque, and now here, they've all been at churches named for St George) and they've been pretty huge, with loads of dancing, vendors, singing, and traditional garb.  This was a lot of food.

Now, don't get me wrong.  The food was fabulous, quite possibly the best I've had at any Greek festival, but I wanted a little more festival with my food.

Cay got some henna done, we had lunch, and headed home.

Since we got there in the early afternoon, none of the dancing had started.  The food line was still long, and a lot of people were simply picking up food and bringing it home.  I've checked the Facebook Page since then, and it seems that some of the attendees had been doing some dancing on the small dance floor between the dining tents, but I didn't see any choreographed dancing.

In two weeks Rohnert Park will host the Pacific Island Festival.  After seeing the crowds at Rivertown Revival and Butter and Eggs Day in Petaluma, I expected larger events.  I suspect that for the most part, events and festivals will be much smaller than those I've come to expect, having been in much larger cities for the past several years.

Although I talked to some of the organizers who admitted the festival was mostly about the food, I have a feeling that the festival would have felt more like a festival (or at least a party) if I'd arrived around dinner time instead of so early in the day.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

No-Cal coastal beauty

... a sampling of photos I took during the trip to Fort Ross and back.

along the coast just south of Fort Ross

harbor seals hauled out on the rocks below Fort Ross

just a pretty scene off the coast with the rocks jutting out of the ocean

one view of the ocean from Fort Ross (looking south)
looking north along the coast at Fort Ross. 

Abalone Die-Off on the Sonoma Coast

While at Fort Ross, I considered taking the path from the parking lot down to the sea. The coast is beautiful and rocky, and I thought I'd see a lot of wonderful stuff at the bottom of the cliff.  However, as soon as I got on the path, I saw abalone which had been brought up by visitors.  This is illegal, whether the animals are alive or not, since the coast here is a marine protected area.

I talked to one of the rangers about the abalone on the trail, so they could be picked up.  That's when I heard about the abalone die-off along the coast.

I'd known that the abalone had been having a rough time, and that there was competition with purple urchin, but I didn't fully appreciate the scope of the problem until learning about this.  The North Coast Journal refers to a "perfect storm" of environmental problems which threaten the abalone: the El Nino event, sea star wasting disease,  the purple urchin population boom, the harmful algae bloom... it all has resulted in the loss of the kelp which the abalone feed on, leaving them to die of starvation.  These are red abalone, and are thus far not endangered, as are other species of abalone. 

White abalone is highly endangered, and spawning and raising white abalone in the hopes of repopulating has been the mission of some of the marine facilities along the coast.  If the problems (which are triggered by climate change) continue, then it's doubtful that the animals will be able to survive in the changing environment.  It may well be that we're looking at a time in the near future when these animals only survive in aquariums and other conservation facilities.