Watsonville - Santa Cruz - Salinas

Trip Start Jan 22, 2006
Trip End Aug 16, 2006

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Friday, March 3, 2006

After a day of rest yesterday, we were up bright and early, ready to pop up the road to Santa Cruz. Despite predictions of further dire weather today, it was blue skies and sunshine all day.

Santa Cruz was a lovely town by the sea, but it was slightly surreal because it looked and felt just like an English seaside town (it even had its own pier that looked about as ramshackle as the one at Brighton). There was also an amusement park, but luckily for me it was only open at the weekend at this time of year, so I could look at all the rides I wouldn't have gone on from a safe distance.

Since we didn't have a map of the place, we did a quick driving tour up and town the beach, before parking on the pier and getting out to enjoy the sunshine (although we were wearing a coat and jumper!). We got fish and chips (possibly whale and chips from the amount of fish that made up my portion) and sat on a bench listening to the extremely noisy sea lions that slept and swam around the underneath of the pier. Everything was perfect, the cafe had even provided vinegar, which was the first time we'd seen it on this trip. Until some crazy fool two benches down from us decided to put some food down for the pigeons and seagulls that were milling around (despite there being countless and large signs telling you expressly not to do this).

So suddenly we were surrounded by scores of greedy birds who'd obviously got a taste for human food. In this sort of situation I always get worried that I'm going to receive a large and messy airborne assault from a bird flying overhead. So we hastily abandoned our food to take some more sea lion photos.

We then drove further up the coast, where the sea turned from being flat as a mirror to having huge waves crashing into the shore. This meant it was a perfect location for surfers, which I tried very hard to capture on video. Unfortunately I turned out to be the kiss of death for any surfer that I filmed, because as soon as I got one in shot, they were wiped out by the wave they were meant to be surfing.

Driving around the clifftop, we got to see what we imagined to be the prime locations for owning property in Santa Cruz. Huge beautiful houses with massive windows looking out across the bay and the shore. With the sun beating down on us, it was pretty much close to perfection. There was no doubt that these houses would all sell for a tidy sum the minute that they were put on the market.
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