I recently had the priviledge of travelling to Santa Cruz, California. I wish I could have explored a bit more, but what I did see was pretty astonishing. This photograph is an excellent depiction of Pacific Avenue, but it is sorely lacking in the one element that makes Santa Cruz a truly unique place. The people. I have never seen so many different sorts of folks crammed into such a small space, just out and about on a warm weekend day. (I think the single exception to that statement would have to be Disneyland, although that could hardly be classified as ‘small space.’)
This trendy, upscale boulevard is crowded with an amazing assortment of boutiques, bookstores, coffee houses, restaurants and bars. Equal to that assortment were the people; I saw musicians sitting on the sidewalks, smoking, laughing, socialising, and singing or playing instruments for tips; homeless men prowling, enmasse in unnerving groups of three or more; bikers of various shapes, sizes, and degrees of intoxication; hippies; druggies; and white collar couples and families with children in tow. Each person had one thing in common, myself included, and that was excitement. It was clearly visible on each person’s face. Joy. Delight. Happiness. It was really quite amazing. Maybe it was the gorgeous weather, maybe it was the close proximity to the ocean, maybe it’s just what Santa Cruz is all about.
My party and I had a casual dinner at a Mexican place called The Acapulco where we had what I would consider the best veggie nachos I’ve ever tasted. This is a really lively, smallish restaurant. We got lucky and didn’t have to wait for a table, but the place was soon jam-packed with loud, happy people.
Someday, I’ll go back there and explore a lot more, particularly the fruit and vegetable stands in the countryside. We didn’t have time to visit the famous boardwalk or beaches. Maybe that’s the best way to travel? Always leave a little something for ‘next time.’