Travel Diaries #4: Sun, Sushi and Santa Barbara

group sushi

This weekend the other interns and I decided to hit the road
and go on our first all-American road trip, leaving behind our cushy apartment
in San Diego (more on that later) to make our way up the Californian coast to
San Carlos for a barbecue with a few stops, and a motel stay, along the way. Despite
our excellent combined planning skills we somehow failed to anticipate the
ridiculous traffic heading into LA, even at our bright and early time of twelve
in the afternoon. Another thing we failed to anticipate was the dramatic
increase in temperature between San Diego and LA and as a result of our poor
judgement Jose and I divided the majority of the ride between melting into our
seats and trying to nap away the pain.  A
few hours into the journey we decided to get some relief and headed to a sushi
place just off the freeway for lunch.

Something I’ve quickly learned from my time in America so
far is never judge a book by it’s cover, or rather never judge a restaurant
from it’s questionable exterior. Like hungry vultures we headed into the
mysterious sushi cavern and seated ourselves at a table, quickly pouring over
the mostly pictorial menu and making an order. While we waited Thea, Jose and I
attempted to teach Niall the art of chopsticks, but he won’t be breaking any
world records just yet.

Our food came just in time (I’m no fun when I’m hungry) and we
all tucked in to some of the best Japanese food I’ve had in a long time.
Edamame beans, hand rolls, salad, tempura and sashimi – that afternoon we
feasted like kings. Just remembering it makes me warm and fuzzy inside, or
perhaps that’s just me still recovering from the exotic car temperature.

sushi starter

sushi starter

garlic prawn rolls sushitempura shrimp sushiedamame beans

After lunch we made our way up to San Luis Obispo, taking a well deserved rest stop (I say this like I actually did anything other than sit in the car for a few hours) in the beautiful costal city of Santa Barbara. It really was quite spectacular and surprisingly warm for so late in the day. Walking along the pier I was reminded firstly of how beautiful America can be, and secondly about the growing number of characters I’ve met on my travels. Within our first ten minutes someone tried to offload an old surfboard on us, and shortly after I saw a homeless man crafting a naked mermaid out of sand.

Another thing I’ve learnt on this trip is how repetitive American radio stations are, bashing out tired tune after tune so if anyone can recommend any worthy radio stations or even good road trip songs (think Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles) to add to a playlist I will send some virtual brownie points your way. We’ve got six hours to go tomorrow so I’m off to sleep in my luxurious cough motel bed. If you don’t hear from me again recall all the motel horror scenes you’ve watched, pick one or two at random and that will probably be what happened to me. 

santa barbara pier 

santa barbara pier 

santa barbara overlooking sea

What about you guys? Have you done any road trips recently? Are you planning any? Let me know!

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