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Simon’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 27 Mar 2008

Location: Soquel, California, USA

MapAfter a drama-free yet loooong flight sat next to a gaggle of gossiping 16 year old skiing girls from Droitwich (not as fun as it sounds...), I'm finally in the US of A. I'm staying at our friends Wal and Jayne's place in Santa Cruz, and it's a lovely house in an even nicer area.

Wal took me on a tour of the local area today. The day had started a tad cloudy, but it soon cleared up into one of those bright and blue Californian days: about 65 degrees and perfect.

We started at Seabright State Beach, which is a funky old place dominated by a cool marina, before driving up into De Lavaega Park. It's typical of the local forested areas, full of big ol' pines [They're Redwoods, doofus - Ed] and people simply relaxing. It's still Easter break here, so there are young and old just enjoying the sun.

My phone has died (a week after my iPod gave up the ghost. Timing...!) so we went to AT&T (sort of like Phones 4 U but without the pushy sods in Next suits, chuffing Regals and giving you grief...) and bought the cheapest GoPhone we could: $49 all in, which was good. The girl who served me seemed amazed that I'd actually seen the Queen in real life too. Conversations tend to go that way here!

We then went for a stroll down Santa Cruz's main 'drag', a quiet and atmospheric street flanked by interesting shops, bars and eateries. The place is truly idyllic: no hoodies, chavs or 'gents of the road', no dog poo and no raised voices, just...relaxation!

I had a scan around a super-cool record store (band name of the day: 'Damnweevils'), after which we went to Charlie's Noodle Hut for a spot of lunch, a Mexican-run joint that provided cheap yet very tasty oriental grub.

On the way home we went to a small yet well-stocked super market so Wal could get some Irn Bru from the British section (!!) and then we grabbed a pint of (cold) London Pride in the Britannia Arms. "Are you guys from England?" What gave me away, I wonder...

We have a houseful tonight before more shenanigans tomorrow: whispers of a steam train up in the mountains...

On Saturday I'll be picking up my hire car and from then it'll be Highway 101 and Santa Barbara. Gizzards!