Etgar 36

Day 19: Los Angeles & San Francisco

By Caroline Perlis:

This morning, we all woke up bright and early for our 8:30 AM breakfast buffet in order to hit the road at 9:00 AM. Without stopping, the ride from LA to San Fransisco would generally take about six hours. Usually I would dread a six hour bus ride, but what was special about this one was that we were traveling along the coast and got to witness what I thought was some of the most beautiful scenery I’d ever seen. After about a two hour drive through traffic-filled LA, we finally reached the beach town of Santa Barbara. We stopped near the University of California Santa Barbara campus, where we had an hour of free time to grab lunch. Myself and others got burgers from The Habit Burger Grill, which was rated one of the best burger places in Santa Barbara, while some people got burritos or pizza.

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In between lunch and San Fransisco, we stopped along the coast at the beach to dip our feet in the water and take a walk on the sand. The beach that we went to had, in my opinion, the bluest water that I’d ever seen at a California beach. After about 30 minutes at the beach we got back onto the bus and eventually watched the film “Milk”, which is the story of how Harvey Milk transformed the Castro District in San Fransisco into a mecca for gays and lesbians. We watched this film to preface our visit to the Castro District later this week. After hours on the bus, we got to San Fransisco the same way we left LA–through traffic.

What made traveling across the state of California interesting to me was the fact that no two cities or towns were alike. I had been to both LA and San Fransisco prior to Etgar 36, but this was my first time traveling up the California coast. It was during this drive that I realized how different the state of California is. We left this morning from LA, which is a crowded city, and throughout our drive we passed through everything from farms to beaches, big cities, and rolling hills. And while San Fransisco is also a big city, it is completely different from LA because of its diversity, geography, and history.

We drove through the narrow streets of San Fransisco before being dropped off in front of our hotel. We had to quickly grab our belongings and say goodbye to Earle, our bus driver, because the next time we will see him again is in Chicago.

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Once we checked in and dropped our belongings off in our rooms, we headed to Chinatown for dinner. As someone who does not really like Chinese food that much, I really enjoyed the food that we had in Chinatown. It was truly authentic and different from the typical Chinese food that you’d get from your local Chinese restaurant. After our family-style meal, we headed to North Beach, the Italian neighborhood of San Fransisco.

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In North Beach, we concluded our day by going to the famous City Lights Bookstore, which is the home of the first paperback and where the Beatniks grew famous.