Tales from the Spring Break trip in the rainy north…!

This is one of those instances where there is so much to write about that it has become slightly overwhelming and I’ve put it off somewhat. Now though, it’s time for a little blog entitled “what I did in my spring break.”

After finals where over on about the 18th last month, Spring Break was upon us. I had the impression that this meant everyone disappeared to Miami or Cancun for a week, but this ain’t necessarily so in this part of the world. California has the sun right? Wrong!

In winter break, it rained biblically. As if to spite me, in this one week of holiday before the summer break it decided to rain biblically again. Flood and storm warnings found their way onto the television and any thoughts of going to the beach were right off! Luckily, I had arranged to go on a road trip to NorCal with my apartment mate, and it always rains in NorCal I’m told. The rain wouldn’t be anything unusual then.

I experienced Persian New Year with his family on the Sunday before we set off on the road. The first day on the road consisted of lunch in Long Beach, and then long drive up to Santa Barbara where we spent the afternoon. The sun shone its face for all of 45 minutes, just enough time for us to hire bikes and cycle along the beach at Santa Barbara. Somehow, I clobbered a seagull on the ride – we dinged heads with one another, and I was taking feathers out of my hair for the rest of the evening. Santa Barbara is a lovely city, with a lot of culture and traditional Spanish-Californian architecture.

That night we stayed with Omead’s Uncle and Aunt in Pismo Beach, but were up bright and early the next morning for the drive up to Monterey. A friend of mine from Ballroom dancing worked at the famous aquarium in Monterey and had arranged to get us in free of charge. We had a fascinating morning walking around looking at all the strange and mysterious creatures they have, two particular favourites of mine being the sea horses and the jellyfish. I must say, I find sealife to be fascinatingly as there are parts of it that are seemingly pointless. Why do rocks 10000ft below the surface need to be brilliantly vibrant colours? There is no light down there to see them look beautiful, surely?

Following the aquarium, we did the short drive across to the pretty little town of Carmel, and walked around the quaint streets there for about an hour. We passed Laguna Seca (very exciting for me) and Pebble Beach golf course (also very exciting for me). I had to explain to Omead what they were. We arrived in a very damp San Francisco that evening, and stayed with someone who was in Omead’s fraternity. He was very San Franciscan, to the point where he disappeared at about 10pm and came back rather more light headed than before (if you know what I mean!). The summer of love may have ended in 1967, but someone forgot to tell the people of San Francisco. Rainbow flags still line the streets and people really do walk about in hemp.

The next day, the rain abated for enough time se we could stop at the viewpoint and get some decent shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. In true San Fran style, we had a large Chinese meal for breakfast – something I would never be able to get used to. I got Omead to drive down Lombard St (the crookedest street in the world) a couple of times. We walked down Pier 39, and I got a huge chocolate brownie ice cream sundae in Ghirardelli Square. Omead then took a little nap, while I did something I had been desperate to do for 10 years. Yes, I hung out the side of a cable car up the Hyde St. hill and on to the end of the line past Chinatown. It was well worth waiting 50 minute in the queue! I was very happy!

With Omead not having heard of ‘Bullitt’ I didn’t really get much support for going to find the streets that famous car chase was filmed on. Thus, with San Fran done, we set back off in the direction of Pismo Beach and a 4 hour drive.

Thursday was very windy and grey, so I feel that perhaps it didn’t enable Pismo Beach to show itself in its best light. No matter, it is a very nice little town; with a beach that I’m sure would look stunning if basked in some glorious sunshine. We spent the afternoon in San Luis Obispo (or SLO) inspecting the little antique boutique stores, getting a coffee at a hippee place, and awaiting the farmers market in the evening. Sadly, this was cancelled due to the incoming storm. What storm, we thought?

We didn’t think that when we were driving through Santa Barbara on the way back to Orange County and Dana Point. It absolutely pelted it down for at least two hours. What a nice way to end a very exciting Spring Break vacation!

I have seen most of NorCal now, so that means there isn’t much left of California to explore in June after the quarter ends. That should actually say “explore in a gloriously sunny June”. You have been warned, Mr. Weatherman!

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