🇺🇸The Golden State I

Head to Part II, what to do in Cali-Cali-California!

San Francisco, Malibu, City of Angeles, San Diego, … songs are written about all places in California. Understandably, considering it is the Golden State, the Sunshine State, the State of Pacific Heights, and so on – the list goes on forever. Imagine yourself walking down the sandy beaches with your flip-flops in your hand, watching the golden sun set and just feeling untroubled. Yes, that’s the magic California has.

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Calming sunsets in Santa Cruz

The US may not have as much history as Europe because indigenous tribes only lived there and it was discovered in 1492, but since then a lot of things have happened. This is no history class, but you should know that the ‘Gold Rush’ formed Cali. Lots of colonists then moved there and California grew steadily.

This state is now seen as one of the fanciest and most successful, both regarding fame and fortune due to Hollywood, and technology because of Silicon Valley. Everybody seems to be able to fulfill their life goal, open up businesses etc. Sadly, the state has a problem with immigrants. San Francisco is basically flooded by Asians whilst Spanish could be the main language in suburbs of San Diego. But everybody there is super friendly. I got to know the inhabitants of California as open-minded and interesting, as well as interested people. Everybody with a decent personality is welcomed with open arms. In addition, most of them are also very generous when it comes to hospitality: “You need a place to sleep? Funny, my guest room in my house is vacant. What do you want for dinner?” But be sure to bring a hostel gift when being invited to someone’s house.

Los Angeles – truly the Golden State

Nevertheless, safety is also an important aspect when talking about California. I must say that I did not experience such good things over there. You need to know that I was in Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz County (a beautiful place). I went by bus to Santa Cruz (15 min) and quite a lot of drug addicts sat in that bus as well. Some spoke to themselves, others gave me looks which were pretty gamy while drool ran down some other men’s beards – not kidding. When I was in a bookshop just looking through some travel books, an elderly man came up to me bothered me very much, asking if I wanted to have lunch with him or go to his house nearby because it has a beautiful sea view. He wouldn’t leave me alone until I told him to. I did not experience any burglary or similar, but you should just always double-check if somebody is behind you wherever you go and definitely avoid going to Downtown when it’s dark. Frankly, I did experience the listed incidents in Downtown, but always at daytime.

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Santa Cruz Downtown

Furthermore, the best way to get around is by bus. It’s quite cheap. It doesn’t matter if you only take the bus for 10 or for 40 minutes, they always charge you the same fare. In my case $2. Not every city has a train station, but if you plan going by train, inform yourself first if there is a stop from and to where you want to go and the costs.

The food there is really good. From Mexican and Italian to steak and even fresh fruit, California has lots to offer. But be careful where you buy the food. Whenever I wanted a fruit salad or something similar I went to the local supermarket and got myself a fruit bowl “to go” basically. I always had to pay about 9$ for that. You’re better (and cheaper!) off if you just go to the market or even fruit farms and buy your desired food there. ‘The Golden State’ is famous for its variety of fruit, such as strawberries and even artichokes! Take-away of e.g. Quesadilla and a taco cost me about 6$. Tipping is a lot! Scroll down to the bottom to see how much. Oh oh oh, and do not forget to have an ‘American breakfast’ at least once. Pancakes, maple syrup, butter, berries and fish orange juice or coffee is just one of so many delicious filling breakfast combinations! And I completely fell in love with Dippin’ Dots! It is an ice cream made out of thousands tiny ice cream balls with different flavours – cookies ‘n’ cream is my favourite. When you are in Cali, eat an ice cream for me as well, okay? Thanks 🙂

I absolutely loved just hopping on the bike, riding to a restaurant and getting myself a nice meal. I then always rode to a park, sat down at one of the many benches and watched the sunset, the warm breeze messing with my long hair. I always had so many positive thoughts and feelings when I was just sitting there, enjoying my own company. You should try it out as well.

Tipping:

  • Restaurants: 20%
  • Taxi: 15%
  • Guides/Staff: $3 – $5

Do’s:

  • It is greatly appreciated if you just start small-talk and have a conversation with someone you meet, don’t die of awkward silence…..
  • Stay polite, however unpleasant a situation may be. 🙂
  • Punctuality always adds to your sympathy.

Don’ts:

  • Be careful about any politic-related topics: the political situation was never as tense as it is now!
  • Native Americans ≠ Indians!! Native Americans are the indigenous tribes in the US.
  • Please don’t use any American slang if you are not an American . Movies just give us a completely wrong picture of it.
  • Somehow, it is seen as impolite to say hello whenever entering a store. Wait until the cashier/shop assistant etc. is finished with talking and then greet.

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