Tuesday, 4 Dec 2007
Santa Barbara, California.
Well we decided to stop over for a few days in California instead of doing the infamous transit at LAX. I don't know what it is about LA International Airport powers that be that makes them employ huge numbers of staff with anti-social personality disorders with chips on each shoulder - but like many others it's an airport we don't enjoy. Also, we thought it might be nice to catch some last minute sunshine before hitting the UK winter.
We get out of LA as quick as possible. Apart from Santa Monica and Venice, there's little else that appeals to be frank. We had a short stop in Santa Barbara earlier in the year during a trip up the west coast to Vancouver and we wished we could have stopped longer - so that's where we've decided to stay for 3 nights.
The drive north through the LA rush hour is as nerve racking as ever. Because of out luggage situation we were given an 'SUV' at Alamo. What can I say - I feel ever so slightly guilty on the eco front but they had no station wagons. What is it about the American need to drive a V8 5 litre monster truck that does 8 mpg? - Driving on the freeway makes you quickly aware that it's possibly because driving anything smaller make you feel ever so slightly 'vulnerable'. Driving through the fire scorched landscape and dusty roads should be a stark wake up call to all driving Californians - sadly though, it seems not.
We arrive in Santa Barbara and place or sleepy heads at the Marina Beach Motel for the duration - (www.marinabeachmotel.com). We stopped here previously after a quick scan on the Trip Advisor web site - Great location and value.
We spend some time picking up some Christmas presents on State Street and the rest of the time walking along the pier and the beach front. We wanted to get Myles a classic American trike as they are really expensive back in the UK. So after a successful trike pick up we find a comfortable spot at a street side cafe to spend the afternoon. Santa Barbara really is a pleasant town... Though, after the 3 months in New Zealand it all seems a little dirty, shabby, false and unnatural. One of the things we really noticed was the enormous wealth next to abject poverty - again not something you see much of in Kiwi land.
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