Monkey C, Monkey Do

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 14, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, September 11, 2010

We had considered a ‘proper’ beach day to rest our travel weary bones, but the Californian fog did for us again. Instead, we decided to walk up to the Spanish Mission, a couple of miles through the town. True to Californian form, halfway there the sun came out and we began to boil. Luckily, I had brought the convertible trousers. Catherine was not so lucky in jeans.

We finally got out of the car centric, noisy town and into the suburbs, walking past a yard sale, and a backyard being set up for a colourful looking wedding reception. The road had been stencilled with butterflies and flowers. We were starting to get the sense that the real Santa Barbara was a little different to the town we had just walked through. We kept coming across walkers, wearing pink, attempting a marathon for breast cancer.

By the time we got to the Mission, we were disgustingly sweaty. We soon cooled down in the inner courtyards and corridors. Judging by the heat, the plants and the architecture, we could easily have been in Spain or Mexico. The Mission was founded in 1786 and is the tenth of the Californian Missions established by the Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan order to spread Christianity to the natives - in Santa Barbara this was the Chumash Indians. It was rebuilt after a 1925 earthquake, and was very pretty indeed.

Having bought our lunch, we came across a pretty park where we sat and ate our lunch, then slept a bit, read a bit, slept a bit more and listened to the sound of kids birthday parties in the background. There was a real community feel to the park that was a million miles away from the tourist bustle a few blocks away.

After further dozing, we picked ourselves up and headed back towards the hostel. As we were walking down one side street, we heard some strange music coming from small gated courtyard attached to a house. On closer inspection, it turned out there was a band playing. There were five members, mostly bearded, all of whom were playing some form of percussion. Strange. We started to listen a bit harder…is that? No? They were playing the Sound of Music - Favourite Things. At the end of the song, they announced themselves as ‘Monkey C’, putting on a show for the opening of a gift shop just round the corner. They may have mentioned that they are Santa Barbara’s fourth most popular percussion only band. We decided to sit and watch a while, and after a Frank Zappa cover and some of their own creations, we had heard quite enough xylophone for one day, and decided to head back to the beaches.

After a swift change, we headed down to the beach, where several hundred American flags had been set out to commemorate the September 11th terrorist attacks. The effect was quite impressive. We walked at least a mile down the beach before turning and heading back into the sunset over the hills. Sadly, we were heading back to the most disgusting hostel in the world, so this romantic image didn’t quite have the happy ending it deserved.

Not to worry - we would head back to the cinema and immerse ourselves once again in another world. Unfortunately, that other world was Julia Roberts latest, Eat Pray Love. It was so unremittingly awful, that we walked out half way through. We took ourselves past the bums and the bars, and looked forward to leaving for LA in the morning.
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Gina on

I love Santa Barbara. So much fun and there is so much to do there, you really can't get bored. I was just there and had a really great time. The weather was perfect so the beaches was where I spent most of my time and of course a good amount of downtown shopping! We stayed at the Sandman Inn ( So budget friendly and the location is perfect!

Lona on

Santa Barbara is the best city for relaxation and escaping the hectic lifestyle of the big city. A good book and a pristine spot on the beach is one of the best things you could do if you are seeking our recuperation time. An elegant hotel to escape the noise of downtown would be the South Coast Inn ( So lovely and the best place to call home while on vacation.

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