"The Beach is empty because its Winter..."
Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
102Trip End Ongoing
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
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It was a shame that the lonely planet was out of date though as we spent the next 2 hours walking around trying to find the street listed in the book.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
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
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..
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!