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Spanglish sign, CA
31st May 2008
Do you know the way to San Jose?

San Jose is a million-person city just south of San Francisco.  I drove there on Saturday from Merced, and had a bit of a nose around.  It's a standard American city, employing such wonderful techniques as naming streets with numbers of letters ("I'm on the corner of ninth and G".  It's nothing special.  I went to the famous West San Carlos street to look at the antique shops, and was amazed at the prices some people will charge - and pay - for such junk.  My favourite part of the town was Caesar Chavez plaza, a nice square in the very centre with fountains and which is overshadowed by the Knight Ridder building.  Yes, Ridder, not Rider, but everyone calls it the latter.

Of course I wondered around the University of San Jose, and then read for a while in a riverside park.

There being no cheap place to stay in SJ, I drove to Santa Cruz on the coast, where I stayed in a delightful little cottage hostel just 2 blocks from the beach.  It has an 11pm curfew, not just quiet time, but a proper lock-out.  Thus when I was out at the pub I had to come home at 10:45 on a Saturday night, rather a let-down.

The main strip in Santa Cruz is Pacific Ave, where all the weirdos come.  And there are a lot of weirdos, even for California:  lots of down-and-outs, druggies, and young krusties.  I was offered pot and, amazingly, Xanax (an antidepressant) as I walked down the road.  I had been recommended a curry house for dinner, but after looking at their menu, making my enquiries, and asking where were all the meat dishes, I learned it was a vegan place.  Bah.  That's what happens when a hippie makes a recommendation for dinner.

After I ate I went to one of the pubs listed in the hostel welcome page, where a discount is offered.  I asked the barman whether he would honour my coupon, and handed him my twenty.  A moment later it was returned to me with the explanation that my beer was courtesy of the dude by the juke box.  He had overheard I was a traveler and very kindly bought me some beers and we chatted.  I'd only ever seen such a concept in the movies before so was very impressed by his generosity.


Next: Santa Cruz
Previous: Yosemite National Park

Diary Photos

Spanglish sign, CA

Cathedral, San Jose, CA

Knight Rid(d)er tower, San Jose, CA

Caesar Chavez Plaza, San Jose, CA

Uni of San Jose, CA

Guadalupe gardens, San Jose, CA

Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA

Drinking friend Will, Santa Cruz, CA

Diary Movies

Thoughts on a road trip


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