"The Beach is empty because its Winter..."

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, October 29, 2004

Just like the first time leaving San Fran, we were running late to catch the connecting bus to take us to Emmeryville station again. It started to feel a bit like de ja vu when we got the same disgusted late look off the same driver as before - although i'm not to sure if he remembered us?!

We made it to the station just in time to find out that after all that malarkey, the train was delayed 3 hours anyway - we could have slept in another 2 hours! There is only so much frisbee in the car park you can take before it gets boring so we gave up and resided, slumped, in the very uncomfortable chairs in the station. After many apologetic announcements the Coastal Starlight arrived, we boarded, and once again slumped into our, much more comfortable, seats for the relatively short journey to Santa Barbara. It was bizarre seeing all the same scenery as before but in reverse. At 8 pm we arrived at the college town of Santa Barbara.

We hadn't heard of Snata Barbara until we reached America. It was one of the many fag stops that we stopped off on the way up to San Fran before. It was a massive College town, populated by hundreds of wealthy students sent their from around the country for the good college as well as the mountainous backdrop that surrounds it. It would be a great place if you were an outdoors' person with hundreds of miles of Mountain bike and walking tracks. We said at the time that if we had time we would return, and seeing as we had a few days left over we booked ourselves into a hostel Lonely Planet recommended and stopped for the night.

It was a shame that the lonely planet was out of date though as we spent the next 2 hours walking around trying to find the street listed in the book. It wasn't after many phone calls that we found out that they had moved from that building to directly opposite the train station, literally just over the tracks! Very Disgruntled we made our way back to the station, and over the tracks to the dump we were staying in.

Although tired, we did manage to go out, and spent most of the night trawling the many bars Santa Barbara has to offer to all its pampered wealthy students. The only problem being with this is the bar owners charge more for the drinks! Our saving grace was an English pub we found down a side street that had Kronernberg on tap.

When we left this pub we actually saw for the first time since we arrived in America, someone getting booked for Jay Walking (crossing the road on a red light). We knew it was a law in this country but didn't think they actually enforced it! Although i doubt the police force in Santa Barbara get that much work to do as the crime rate can't be to high!

We ended the night in a bar we noticed was quite popular and had a good atmosphere... well really it was because we saw loads of women go in, but thats not the point! It wasn't until we got in and paid the cover charge, that we realised that there was a live band playing, but not just any live band, an all white, Irish Reggae band?! The thing is the crowd were loving it! Each to their own i suppose? We did find it funny that the fat guitarist even managed to gain groupies at the end of the night! Maybe we should join a bar. Might actually make us more interesting to the American ladies?

Saturday 30th October

We had been travelling for just under a month now and still yet to visit any of the beaches the cities had to offer, either due to the weather of our lack of time. Fortunately for us, today was a perfect day so we headed for the beach conveniently located 5 minutes walk away from the hostel.

Being English, our t-shirts were ripped off as soon as we left the front doors of the hostel, much to the disbelief to many passing locals? We were a bit surprised to see the perfect sandy beach completely empty though, especially as it was a Saturday. Where were all the bikini clad beach babes we had come to expect?!

We popped into a surf shop located nearby to ask if there was a reason for this and if it was safe to swim in the sea (sewage not sharks!). The lady, still looking shocked at us without t-shirts on (were we really that white?) answered simply "Because its Winter" Winter? It was hotter out there than most Summer days in Southend! Cool, then we're have our own private beach then!

We made our way back down to the beach and walked along what they would class as their seafront, only cheap and tacky arcades being replaced with trendy cafés overlooking row upon row of tall palm trees. We found a perfect spot and laid down to relax for the first time in a month. It wasn't long until we noticed something in the water... Dolphins! We eagerly ran in and swam out, where, at one point, we were no further than 5 metres away from them. Granted we didn't actually swim with them flipper style, but neverless it was a lot better than paying for it at Seaworld! Sadly it was prematurely cut short as a prat on a jet ski decide to ride near them scaring them off. Either way a brilliant experience.

After 6 hours we decided to call it a day, after nearly suffering a heart attack running along the beach - too many Macdonlads i think! Surpringly to both of us we didn't actually resemble beetroots. Not bad for our first sunbathing session! We packed up and made our way to the station over the rails for the last time, only to find the bloody train late again. This was staring to get an annoying habit on Amtraks part! It was whilst we were waiting we caught the attention of 2 girls interested in talking, well we had a spare 30 minutes!

Now if your idea of American girls are all dumb blondes, a bit like the characters off the films Clueless or Legally Blonde, then you would be correct with these two. They had expressed an interest in us when they found out we were English as they were both travelling there next year with college. Their excitement when we told them that they would be able to drink was far too much for us to handle. Although you would think that if you were travelling t a country you would at least know what currency they use. Nope not these two planks. They had actually never heard of the British pound and actually thought we were in the Euro - not in my dead body! Their faces lit up like it was Christmas when i gave them some spare English change i had in my bag! Simple things ay?

We thought we'd best ask their ages. 15... er... taxi! We now realised why they were so happy when they found out they could drink in England, they had probably never been drunk before. Like a saving grace, the train pulled up!
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Gracie on

I definitely agree with the above comment, I have had my fair share of nasty hostels and although it may seem hard to find a good hotel when traveling Santa Barbara on a budget...it is possible! The Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com) that the above commenter suggested is a great choice. Two pools, CLEAN rooms, and great value for a reasonable price! Enjoy the rest of your travels

Anna on

The beaches in Santa Barbara are packed any time of the year if it is a sunny day! I heard for Thanksgiving weekend it was jam packed because of the 80 degree weather! So jealous I couldn't be there but it looks like you had a great time on your vacation in Santa Barbara and that is all that matters! I travel there all the time and I really can't get enough of it. I always stay at the South Coast Inn (www.santa-barbara-hotel.com). Outside of town and highly elegant.

Chris M. on

Looks like the beach could do you some good! Soak up some sun and relish in the California lifestyle. Whenever I venture to town I always try to get in some good beach time and get a tan! This winter I hear has been really nice out-70 degrees and lots of sun! I wish I could get there sooner then April, but it'll just have to wait sadly! I'll be staying at the South Coast Inn (www.goleta-hotel.com). Right out of the way and beyond nice.

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