Highway 1 and Santa Barbara
Having made a few friends from Santa Barbara at the milongas in LA, I had no shortage of people willing to show me around. Firstly though, I really wanted to do one of the suggestions my Taxi Adventure friend had made. Hwy 1 runs up the coast of California, and promised some pretty spectacular scenery, so after the conference had ended, I attempted to set off.
In the hotel car park, I decided to try to find my passport so that I had something to show the police if I got pulled over. I went through my carryon, without success, I then opened the trunk of the car and pulled out my suitcase, unlocked it and went through that. It then dawned on me that I had left it in the hotel room that I had since checked out of. I raced to the concierge, and was informed that the room had yet to be cleaned. He arranged for security to meet me at the room. When I arrived at the room, the cleaner had her cart sitting outside my door, but was nowhere to be seen. As the security arrived, the cleaner heard the commotion, and came out and before we even entered the room, told me “here it is”, opening her top draw and handing me my flight centre travel pack containing my passport and flight tickets. I was very relieved. After struggling with the GPS lock code that I hadn’t anticipated, I was finally on my way.
First stop however was a cafe called Intelligencia in Venice (suburb of LA) that a friend had recommended after hearing me complain about the “hideous coffee in the US, and that Starbucks actually made sense here”. As I walked into the cafe, I immediately felt completely out of place. I’m not sure what the collective noun for turtle-neck-wearing apple mac users is… flange??? band???? flock???? pride???? culture???? hive???? whatever, there was one there. I ordered my cappuccino, found a seat and resolutely took out my brand spanking new Windows 8 (developer preview) slate PC… and proceeded to play Word Hunt in resolute defiance of the obvious protocol in place. The coffee was a tad bitter for my liking, but certainly was by far the best coffee I had consumed in the US. Sorry, but still not as good as Melbourne.
After making a few mistakes with my GPS, and the damn thing freezing on me, I eventually found a petrol station. I pulled up at the pump, selected the fuel I wanted, and then waited…. expecting the attendant to allow the pump to flow. I waited for a good 2 minutes before reading the sign “Cash customers must pay before fuelling”. After working things out with the attendant, the fuel flowed, and I was on my way.
My next destination was Malibu, but only after navigating LA peek hour traffic. One experience I would rather have done without.
I Travelled along Highway 1, which displayed some fantastic scenery. Reminding me a little of The Great Ocean Road, although, much more built up, and much wider highways. I arrived in Malibu just in time to see a spectacular sunset that stayed with me pretty much all along Highway 1.
I eventually arrived in Santa Barbara a little after 8pm.
The next day my friend took me to yet another coffee shop, determined to convince me that coffee in the US could actually be palatable… and yes, it was palatable, but sorry… still not as good as Melbourne. After this she took me to Sterns Wharf where we enjoyed a beautiful sunny day by the sea. We walked around the beach, and then decided on “Moby Dicks Restaurant” for dinner, where I tried the Oysters Rockafella for the first time, and really loved it.
I was also able to witness another spectacular Californian sunset as we dined.
The next day, my friend took me to an Australian owned winery called Kalyra, but not before taking me to yet another coffee shop. This time I ordered a dark chocolate mocha which was really nice, even though I would have to class it as lolly coffee. We did some wine tasiting at the winery, and purchased some nice dessert wines.
After that, it was a quick dash back to LA to squeeze in 45 minutes of dancing at the Argentine Association, and then back in the car to catch the worlds longest flight from LA to Bs As.