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Simon’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 30 Mar 2008

Location: Goleta, California, USA

MapChecked into my extended stay hotel in Goleta after a very nice drive down Hwy 101. The town is just west of Santa Barbara and, as my 'suite' has a kitchenette, I had my first experience of American supermarket shopping.

Everything's so much bigger (apples, steaks, loo rolls!) and, if I hadn't been so well trained by my lovely wife, I could kark it from a heart attack in about three days, judging by the stuff I could have bought.

So resisting the strong pull of 'Jelly and Peanut Butter Cheerios' and tins of Sloppy Joe, I loaded up on pasta, salad and veg, of which there's a similarly wide selection. Oh, and Heineken too ("It's imported!").

Hwy 101 runs just across the street and I found a lovely beach - Rufigio State Beach - which was crowded not with sweating English chubbers (well, not more than one...) but loads of wildlife. Brown pelicans and sandlings keep the usual clutch of gulls company and I watched them for an hour...

This area was devastated by a major oil spill in 1969 and another smaller spill in 2007, so I did find my bare feet spotted by small lumps of Saudi Arabia's finest even though the local authorities have done wonders cleaning the place up.

Still, I'll be coming back here again and again: I have Neil Peart's African cycle-tour book to get through and this beach has the perfect atmosphere.