Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Santa Cruz, It's Not That Far. 

Breakfast was a no nonsense self-service affair over in the main complex, brought out by burly blokes in Stars and Stripes bandannas. They looked liked the kind of men who would know their way around a Harley Davidson flight deck in an emergency.

Big Sur is a stretch of rugged, rocky coastline spanning ninety miles or so. There doesn't seem to be a definitive boundary, where it starts and stops, it's just, you know, Big Sur. It has its own misty micro-climate.
I'd love to come back in the depths of winter when the weather is at its wildest, when the ocean is a frothing cauldron and surfer dudes are tossed about on the waves like matchsticks.
“Surf's up, Dude! Dude? Dude? Hey, where did that dude go? Bummer.”

This is the waterfall in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

There was an entertaining face off when we popped into a post office to buy stamps. Girlfriend handed the man a half written letter so he could work out what the postage would be when she came to post it.
Only he wouldn't give it back to her. Once you hand an item to the US Mail, it becomes their property.
“But I haven't finished writing it yet.”
“Too bad. It's mine now.”
“Sorry. I can't let you have it back, Ma'am.”
The guy showed a little leniency, allowing her to quickly finish the letter then and there, but on no account was she to leave the premises. Or he'd have shot the both of us.

We drove on past glorious beaches and rocks and that, up to Carmel, an absurdly posh town where every shop is either a gallery or a jewelers. You'd be screwed if you needed a pint of milk, though you could probably get a painting of one.
We did lunch outside the Hogg's Breath - enormous patio heaters blazing away at every table – and I've no idea what this is, but it watched our every move. I think it may have been a remotely controlled CCTV bird-bot, sent to make sure we didn't steal the cutlery.
Afterwards we cruised a few galleries, most of which seemed to cater for the wealthy tasteless, but there was some good stuff here and there, then we went for a stroll on the beach. I spent a good while grabbing people's cameras off them and taking their picture whether they liked it or not.

We carried on to Santa Cruz. The roads were busy with rush hour commuters heading back from work. We passed field after field of farmworkers waiting around for their lift home.

It was evening when we checked into our motel, close to the seafront. We were the only customers that night – or ever, perhaps - which only served to make it seem just a teeny bit creepy.
We took an atmospheric stroll along the pier, and it was all very Springsteenesque: the bit in Born To Run about “the amusement park rises bold and stark, kids are huddled on the beach in the mist.”

I bought a Santa Cruz key ring and bottle opener, and dinner consisted of beer, nachos and leftover cherries on a bed of, well, just on a bed.
Now and then I'd take a look outside our window.

Lunch shot: Caramelised in Carmel.
Miles of the day: Ninety.

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