3 Mishaps on the way to Arroyo Grande

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Yesterday started so well. America decided to open it’s National Parks again so I get to see Yosemite after all. A final breakfast at Renaud’s, a fond farewell to my airbnb host, a lovely trip along PCH1 towards Santa Ynez. I stopped at Cachuma Lake where the staff were courteous and helpful.
I spent a happy couple of hours taking photos by the lake, I bought some lunch from the store there and sat down to eat it while looking at the fabulous view below. I went back to my car. I didn’t have the keys.

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Ghosts

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There are ghosts in Santa Barbara. I’ve seen them but I haven’t photographed them. There’s no point. Everyone who lives here has seen them but like the boy who sees dead people in The Sixth Sense they just carry on and ignore them as best they can and learn to live with their presence, at least until they move on.
Let me explain.
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Santa Barbara is beautiful

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That’s official.You can take it from me. The weather is great, the town is lovely and the food is excellent. It’s the sort of place one could easily live in. I spent nearly 11 hours yesterday just walking around and taking pictures. It’s a fabulous place.
I have three guide books with me and two of them are strangely dismissive of the place – you can do it all in half a day, they say and I dare say you could if you really wanted to but it begs the question – why would you want to? It’s a lovely place to putter around, there are interesting shops, great museums, a variety of high quality coffee shops and food stores.

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On the road to Santa Barbara…

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… I stopped off at a beach to do nothing but admire the view. I am on holiday, you know. There are loads of stopping points on the roads here which is great news if you’re a photographer and want to catch the view from a specific point. When I went to Iceland last year, pulling off the road was a hazardous business as what appeared to be solid stone was actually ash into which my front wheels sunk most rapidly.

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Venice Beach

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Now, everybody who thinks of California thinks pretty quickly of Venice Beach. It’s world famous for the beautiful sand, muscle beach and the collection of oddballs, kooks and downright weirdos known to populate the strip. So having missed it due to the onset of jet lag the other day, I was looking forward to visiting this famous landmark.

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The Freeway, The Huntington Library, Blue and Pinkie

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Here’s a snippet of conversation from my day.
I was in the beautiful Japanese gardens of the Huntington Library when a pretty Japanese woman, who seemed to have taken a bit of a shine to me, sidled up alongside. She showed me a photograph she had just taken of me without my knowing. After making some self-deprecating remark – instead of running away from my potential stalker, as any sane person would – I heard myself say the following to her:
‘Mine’s so small, especially when you look at yours; it’s so BIG!’
She agreed, nodding enthusiastically.
‘Here,’ I said, placing mine in her hand. ‘Would you like to hold it? Feel the weight!’
She did, wiggling it a bit and smiling with delight.
This is word-for-word what was said and yes, it’s all true. Get to the end of this post and I might tell you what it’s all about. In the meantime… Continue reading

When jet lag finally hits…

Woke up yesterday with every intention of heading to Venice Beach and taking some photos of the kooks and oddballs – it’s a bit of a must when in LA – and then finding the bridged waterways after which the area is named but my ass, to use a colloquialism, seemed reluctant to part company with the chair. So not wanting to feel useless I spent the time glued to my tablet, looking on the airbnb site, finding the next place to stay when I leave here on Monday.
Now, at the time of writing, the US Govt is effectively not working for reasons too tedious to mention. The effect of that on me is that the National Parks are closed. You know, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, all the places I, and many others, came here specifically to visit. Joshua Tree is the real kicker, as that was to be my first port of call on my trip out of LA towards Vegas. So my route had been reversed and rather than finish with a trip down Pacific Coast Highway 1 – the Coast Road or PCH1 as it’s called here – I now find myself starting with it. My next stop after LA will be Santa Barbara, a beautiful town by the sea which has a distinct advantage over the LA lifestyle. Namely, you can walk everywhere.
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The day the tech died

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I had a good today, albeit an occasionally fraught one.
First, I realised I had forgotten to take any plug adapters with me. Thankfully, one of my hosts, Judy, was able to send me to Magellan’s Travel Goods in Santa Monica, who helped me out with that, thus avoiding the prospect of both my phone and tablet running out of juice.
Santa Monica is just a fifteen minute drive from here and was one of the places I’d planned on visiting anyway, so after visiting Magellan’s I set off with my shopping list to find the mall.
It was when I parked the car that things got a little more… testing.
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So, what exactly does one do on an 11.5 hour flight?

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Well, the first thing is move the people who are sitting in your seat into the right ones. Silly persons.
The next thing is is to get comfy, spread out a bit once you realise you then have an entire row of three seats to yourself and decide which in-flight movie you want to watch. There will be more than one – at the time of typing, I still have eight hours to go – but the first was The Princess Bride, a minor classic penned by William Goldman from his book and possessed of a charm sadly absent in the majority of modern films. No, that isn’t me being nostalgic. It is sadly true. If you haven’t seen it, you really are missing out on a gem.
The second is to find some audio you like – the Pink Martini Saori Yuki album for me – discover that you cannot use Bluetooth devices on a plane in case doing so brings them tumbling down from the skies and then sit down to write an entry in your blog to help pass the time away. We’ve had lunch which I have to say was rather nice. Chicken, if you must know. I avoided the fish having watched Airplane! a couple of nights before departure. You haven’t seen Aiplane! either? Jeez, next thing you’ll be telling me you dont know who Bruce Campbell is…
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