A day by the seaside

Trip Start Mar 28, 2012
Trip End May 24, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, April 27, 2012

A leisurely start to the day with a couple of Skype sessions back home - it's good to talk. The motel had a brochure offering whale watching for $15 instead of $33 so I phoned to book a place. Close to LA the brochure said - I guess 45 miles in this culture and country is close.

First off I visited San Pedro with its Ports O'Call attraction. It's odd, that in New England they try to make everything look like old England and in California authenticity manifests itself in trying to copy things in a New England style. This really is the land of simulacra and simulation - Baudrillard would be very much at home here!

I was obviously too early int he day as not much was happening. The only things showing much activity were the endless tanks of lobster, crab, clam, oyster, muscle ..... you get the drift. I soon moved on to Long Beach which reminded me of a very very up-market Benidorm - skyscrapers and sand! Only in Long Beach the buildings aren't tacky apartment blocks but all the major banks and financial companies - as I said, up-market.

I was now looking for lunch and before I knew where I was, I was unavoidably forced into a car park for the Queen Mary visitor attraction. Spend less than an hour and it's $3, more and it's $25. I made a quick visit - just enough time to grab a sandwich and diet Coke and enjoy the Carnival cruise ship that has just docked and was disgorging its passengers. There is an old Russian submarine - The Scorpion - moored next to the Queen Mary. The three vessels together offered an unlikely visual medley.

I then heded south - a long way south - through Huntington Beach to Newport Beach where I grabbed my first coffee of the day at 2pm! Not a good day in that respect. The place has a great beach and is home to the first ever Ruby's Diner on the end of the pier. Very nice. the town is quaint and a great place to do be if you want the beach - sun, sea and sand - it certainly outdoes Sunderland!

At 3:45 our boat departed for the last whale watching trip of the day. Three boats had already made unsuccessful trips in respect of whales and had seen on dolphins. It was nice as our boat only had 28 people onboard - the others were about 120 a piece! There was plenty of room to move around the boat and because of the lack of whales - all drinks were half price - I enjoyed my water. As we were leaving Newport Bech harbour a report came in that a mother and calf Californian Grey Whale had been spotted south of us. The skipper plotted where they might be and headed for a hopeful rendezvous. We were lucky and found them after only about 20 minutes. Drinks were then half price to celebrate being the only boat today to see a whale!

Although we got to within about 120 yards, the whales didn't break surface very much and although we could clearly see them blowing, it didn't make for great photos - sorry ... but there are plenty more photos of today here.

The drive home was more direct but still took over an hour because of the traffic. I came a slip road to be confronted with 16 lanes of non-moving traffic - stuck in both directions. All these people - where do they come from and where do they live? I eventually made it back to Gardena and revisited Ya Yaa, this time sticking with only the main course - Beef Yellow Curry. What was delivered to my table was accurate on all three counts.

Tomorrow I hope to visit downtown as the traffic may be easier. Who knows? 

 Let's hope I wake up to a Saints victory and promotion.
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