Ending the summer at Lake Del Valle

Lake Del Valle (more here) is pretty typical of the artificial bodies of water that we have in California. It’s decent-sized, has good road access, good amenities (like all important BBQ grills), flat, somewhat shallow, rather popular with people, and there’s even a path for the trashy cheapskates to walk down to avoid the meager $6 per car to use the place. It also happens to be the result of damming off a small creek called Arroyo del Valle, so the name, which means, “of the valley” can be taken as “Ha ha you stupid creek, we went and dammed you up! Where’s your valley now? Suck on that nature!” Of course, I’m the only one who finds that even remotely funny.
For Europe, the end of summer is August 31st and if you try to go anywhere over there on that day, you might as well forget about it. For the US, the end of summer is Labor Day Weekend and as such, forget about going anywhere on the Monday following this weekend. So naturally, that meant heading out on Sunday with the Bosnians to tear up some of that lake with their 3hp boat. That’s right. 3 Horse Power. And it’s electric too. Obviously that makes it not screamingly fast, but at the same time, it saves your ass from having to do any real work like rowing, ewwww. But even though it’s slow, tooling around and getting some end of the year tanning in makes for good times.
What also makes for good times is that those guys didn’t tell me we were meeting up with a larger, super extreme group of Bosnian Nationalists. For an American this may sound scary, but in reality, it means that when they gather for their extremist gatherings, they cook their national food: meat. Unfortunately due to Ramadan being in full swing, it meant that I was one of the only guys drinking in the crowd. That’s was okay as I can fly solo when surrounded by the deliciousness of the čevapčići. One could probably not be bothered if your foot was stuck in a bear trap as long as you had čevapčići, other than the fact it impedes your ability to get more čevapčići.
But here’s the real rub in being the only Croat in the crowd; I felt terrible for not bringing the ajvar. Because, beyond religion and a slight dialectal language change, here’s the key difference between Croats and Bosniaks: Croats eat čevapčići with ajvar and Bosniaks eat them with kajmak. Both the Bosnian čevapčići and kajmak as vastly superior to the Croatian version with ajvar, but seeing as how you can’t find kajmak in the US short of making it yourself, you’re often stuck with ajvar. It’s no wonder everyone just assumed I was an American since all I showed up with was beer, chips, and peanut M&M’s. The shame. I need to go wallow in a pljeskavica.
Ending the summer at Lake Del Valle