Santa Cruz, CA

Hello from Santa Cruz, home to redwoods, banana slugs, and fresh air!!

I arrived at the University of California Santa Cruz campus on Friday night on the 15th of August (Cat was so lovely as to pick me up from the airport!) and the first thing I noticed was how fresh and delicious the air smelled! You could SMELL the trees! And there were so many of them! The fog was rolling in and the campus was unbelievably quiet.. I fell in love immediately. It was everything that I missed about home, plus fresh air! The campus is just jaw dropping gorgeous, full of surprise valleys, meadows, towering redwoods, spindly bridges, and little paths.

The campus is on a hill above the town, so it is not right on the water, but I think the location is pretty awesome! There are buses that connect the different areas of campus together, and they are city buses that students get access to (they pay for them in their tuition automatically).  If you don’t have a bus pass, it’s $2, which I prefer over San Diego’s $2.25, because I always had to plan to have 25 cents with me.

Anyway, so my first night in Santa Cruz I got stung by some bug in the middle of the night and woke up to a burning, itching, stinging feeling on my neck, which was swollen in this little crescent shape. I also found bites on my heal and my arm. I took little ice-cubes from the freezer, wrapped them in paper towels, and applied to get some relief… Wait till you hear what happens in San Francisco…

Anyway! My first day in Santa Cruz we went out to explore the town! We first walked up and down Pacific Ave (the main street in Santa Cruz) and popped in and out of stores. We then went to have lunch at Pono Hawaiian Grill, which was delicious! I have never had Hawaiian before this trip to California, and I am in love! We then walked around some more, got icecream from the Penny Ice Creamery, and went thifting. Cat is like a thrifting savant, it’s crazy. She can spot a deal from miles away – it was inspirational to watch!

 

Hawaiian food! I think they called it a salmon poke plate, with avocado, sweet rice, edamame, and kimchi.
These deer were waiting for us when we got home. :)

We then came home, had dinner, and spent the rest of Saturday relaxing, until we went out with Cat’s friend Monica on Saturday night to do some dancing. The next morning, we geared up for hiking and breakfast at this awesome place called Cafe Brazil. So delicious! We then went hiking in the Garden of Eden, which is this watering hole that people hang out at. We took an uber to the side of a highway in the forest, and asked around for how to get off the highway and to the Garden of Eden. We were told to go down a crazy steep path and then walk alongside train tracks for a while, which we did, until we found the watering hole! We then hiked up a little farther away from the people and went swimming, or wading since the water was pretty cold. But it was very cool!

Posters at the bus stop!
The busses in SC are powered by natural gas!?
Acai Bowl at Cafe Brazil!

 

 

 

 

 

On our way back, we met some friends who were kind enough to drive us home and save us the what may have been a 1-2 hr walk back to campus! Thanks Kai, Elliot, and Lucas! :) Sorry we couldn’t see PB&Jack haha!
The next day I went out hiking on my own as Cat went to work. I went up to Upper Campus, which has a lot of little hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails for people to explore. I walked up through campus to the edge, chose a trail, and began to explore. The trees absolutely blew me away, and the amount of cool little places that I found while exploring was amazing!
Colleges Nine and Ten have a lot of really cool murals, many of which are a way to express the student voice. I love the creativity, and I love the freedom, the ability of these students to do this!

 

 

 

 

I even found a little wishing tree that these high school Japanese exchange students taking English classes at UCSC put their wishes on. :) Some of them were really cute!

 

 

 

After that, I found a little hangout created by what I think are students. It was full of little clothes, pictures, strings, wind chimes, and other fun knick-knacks. It had a really unsettling sign saying “RUN” in front of it, but after taking a peek, I tried to meet aggression with peace and left my own message. :)

 

 

 

 

And the rest of the day just ended with me finishing exploring, and then Cat and I catching up at night! It’s so nice to be spending some time with a friend. :) I hadn’t spoken with Cat for real for a long time, so it is really great to be able to catch up like this and spend our last few days in California together!!

A

 

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