An Introduction to a New World

Trip Start Jul 08, 2009
Trip End Jul 18, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, July 9, 2009

We woke fairly early to get ready for our looooooong day.  The "LAX" sign and the airports pillars and runways were clearly visible from our hotel room.

We walked to the rental place, the first rental place I've ever seen - just row upon row of cars.  The car we were supposed to get wasn't available, so they gave us a bigger one.  Putting all of our luggage in, plus ourselves, it became very clear this was an extremely fortunate mishap.  Mom and Dad in the front, Sam and I in the middle, cooler and snacks in the back, and luggage in the trunk.  Anything smaller, as we thought we were getting, would have driven us insane after a day.  It is not perfect however, which soon became clear - the driver's side middle seat is, well, the wrong seat, and the buckle is on the wrong side.  We are also debating whether it is a truck or a mini-van.

Starting out of LA, we passed the LAX sign, which is actually rather huge.  Traffic hit right off the bat, but the view outside is so different from anything I've ever seen that I didn't mind.  It gave Dad, who was driving, a chance to see California, too.  There were hills and strange low trees and burned out areas (California's been having some forest fire problems).  I couldn't put a name to any of these plants or trees, or even guess their closest East Coast cousins.  At our first stop - a gas station - I started noticing that a lot of the buildings have red terracotta tile roofs, even on stores.

Finally, I got my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, a little clouded over.  It's hard to grasp that I'm across the country.  As we got closer to our first real stop, Santa Barbara, the road was lined with tall sandy cliffs.  By the time we got to the town and parked and got out, the day had cleared up and was very hot and blue-skied and sunny.


The long, seemingly-neverending crescent of pale beaches is lined with extremely tall palm trees.  We walked out on Stearns Wharf, and I was very happy to find a place called "Moby Dick Restaurant", complete with a giant whale on the building.

Another tourist attraction is the Courthouse, so we slowly made our way there and enjoyed the strange signs and beautiful buildings.  Everything in the Courthouse was elaborate and pristine and beautiful, even the "No Smoking" signs.  There were simply amazing tiles and architectural details, and gorgeous grounds.

So many buildings here are just simply beautiful, either in color or structure or because of the plants growing around them.  I've always liked stucco and there's so much here, all well-kept unlike back home.  Before getting back on the road, we stopped at a Mexican grocery - there's so much Spanish here.  We could figure out all the foods, but all of the chips seem to have extra spicy versions that I've never seen before.

I'll continue the day, the next stop, in a new post. 


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