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Eureka!

So I came back from my sojourn in California early on Sunday morning; having left the United States (or at least the terra firma of it) early the previous afternoon. And went straight back to work the following morning, which in hindsight was not my brightest ever idea. Severely jetlagged, I had to call in sick this morning, and have spent the day mainly catching up on some much-needed sleep.

Sleep has been a problem for me throughout this trip; I think I managed about 25 minutes a night on average throughout the whole of the first week, and about 2-3 hours during the second - and by the time I came back, I still hadn't managed to sleep through the night. So I'm not surprised that this morning, I just couldn't find the energy to get up. I only hope that from today, things will get better, and I'll be sleeping like a baby again before too long.

Anyway, you all know work was the reason for my visit to Sta. Barbara, but it wasn't all that and no play. I did have some leisure time (more than expected, too, thanks to Martin Luther King Day) and took full advantage of those hours to indulge in touristy things: on my first weekend, I went to Sta. Monica's Third Street Promenade -but saw no buskers I recognised-, then spent the rest of the day on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Sta. Monica, Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Hollywood -- cheesy in the extreme, but enjoyable nonetheless; and an excellent way to get around and catch your bearings in a city you've never been before. I stopped off and had lunch at the Farmer's Market, and had my first and probably last ever, taste of gator at the Gumbo House there. I found it a rather tough kind of meat, which surprisingly didn't taste of chicken at all (it has more of a fishy flavour, I'd say).

My second weekend, I went up to Hearst Castle -- the place itself didn't appeal to me at all, but the drive up there I enjoyed immensely, even if the landscape all around me seemed blighted by the current drought (although people have assured me it's brown and dusty all year round). I also visited Sta. Barbara Zoo, and took full advantage of my unexpected day off on Jan 20th to go on a whale watching trip off the coast of Ventura...and I saw whales! Seven of them! I also saw lots of sea lions, seals and tumbler dolphins on that trip, but seeing the grey whales was an experience I'll never forget.


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self-explanatory, really...

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The beach at Sta. Barbara

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Passing by the Channel Islands

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Californian sea lions, basking on a buoy outside Ventura harbour

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If you look closely, you'll see the tail of a whale. I was too busy marvelling at these beautiful animals to remember to get my camera out, so this is the only proof I have that I really did see them


More to follow.

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Comments

( 8 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
enigmaticblues
Jan. 29th, 2014 03:59 pm (UTC)
Very cool! I'm glad you got a chance to enjoy your time in California.

And much sympathy on the lack of sleep. Been there, done that.
gamiila
Feb. 2nd, 2014 12:50 pm (UTC)
Six days after coming home, and I finally managed to sleep through the night!

Still, if they should ever require me to go back, I'll gladly take the insomnia. It's a small price to pay.
curiouswombat
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:51 pm (UTC)
Good to see you home - enjoy the sleep! And good to see that, apart from sleep deprivation, you had a good trip - lovely pictures, and how fantastic to see the grey whales.
gamiila
Feb. 2nd, 2014 12:57 pm (UTC)
Seeing the grey whales was undoubtedly the single most memorable activity of this trip, but to be honest, I would have enjoyed my stay in California if it hadn't happened, too. It's an amazing place - the feeling of space, even in such a densely populated area as LA, is unbelievable and at times, overwhelming even.
fenchurche
Feb. 2nd, 2014 06:18 am (UTC)
Very cool!! And so glad you got to do the whale watching tour... we've done one up here in the Seattle area and it was so worth it (it was the "tourist thing" we did a few years ago, since we try to do at least one a year... if you don't do that, you end up with tourists seeing parts of your home area that you never would).

It definitely sounds like you made the most of your time in California! BTW, I don't remember if you said earlier, but was this your first visit to the US?
gamiila
Feb. 2nd, 2014 01:02 pm (UTC)
was this your first visit to the US?.

Hardly. But it was my first visit to the West Coast, as all my previous visits have been to New York and New England. I'm glad I got the chance to sample life on the other side of the continent this time, and find it so agreeable ;-).
suze2000
Feb. 2nd, 2014 09:31 am (UTC)
I love your whale tail! :)
gamiila
Feb. 2nd, 2014 01:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you -- and now that I'm sleeping again, I'm seeing lots of them in my dreams ;-)!
( 8 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )

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