Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yes protests also happen in California - lots of them

I thought I left all the rolling strike and protest action behind when I left South Africa in September, but I arrived in California to protests almost every few weeks on campus about a whopping 30% increase in student fees. Basically the state budget is in a serious crisis and UC which is a public school has to pass the buck on to the students. The only difference in South Africa is that people actually dance when they strike and protest - here they just stand around with boards and listen to speeches. I listened to one speech by a woman professor who was organizing a teach-in and she mentioned that she had done this in the 80's to protest against Apartheid. Remember the US and Great Britain were the last to impose sanctions on South Africa becuase Thatcher and Reagon liked the fact that we were fighting communism.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hot springs and nudists

Sticking with the mountain exploration theme over the past 2 weeks - we went hot spring hunting today. Our neighbours across from us in family housing decided to join us. About 20 miles from our house near Gaviota beach that we visited a few weeks ago we found a spring called Gaviota peak hot spring. The trailhead was easy to get to and it starts through an amazing meadow of Oak trees. After a short 1 mile uphill climb you get to a narrow path which leads to the spring - you can smell the Sulfur long before you get to the spring. There was a nudist bathing in the spring and at first there was this awkward pause where we think what now - but we just decided to join him in our costumes - the water was really warm and the nudist turned out to be an very interesting environmental engineer from Berkeley who had been to South Africa - so I ended up having a long chat with him about SA.

Gaviota hot springs 8 November

Sunday, November 1, 2009

We found some crazy neighbours on halloween that also like dancing

Our neighbors across from us in Family housing decided to join us on a halloween walk with our kids . They also have two small boys who were eager to "trick or treat" at all the houses. On the way back from amassing a full bag of cavity producing things wrapped in foil we heard some African music at our community hall so we decided to dance - here's a video. (Luke and their boy were dressed as vampires)

A hiking trail that starts in the backyards of the mansions of Montecito

We went walking today on McMenemy trail on the mountain slopes facing Santa Barbara where all the wealthy people live - its really weird because the trail starts by walking through the back gardens of all these mansions - I was also amazed to see an armed response sign - the first time I've seen this in Santa Barbara. Pictures are all a bit out of focus because I had Benjamin in a pouch and the light was bad and he was moving around while I was taking the pictures. You will also see the clavicle splint that Luke is wearing - looks like back back straps without wearing a back pack

McMenemy Trail Santa Barbara 1 November 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Carpinteria beach - the best beach in Santa Barbara country

I think this rates as the best beach we've seen so far. The water was a perfect 18 degrees celcius, the beach sand was white and not the oily grey that you see on many other beaches from the oil seeps.

Carpinteria state beach 25 October 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fascinating rock formation on Gaviota Beach

We did our usual Sunday drive of discovery and found an unusual beach 20 miles out of Santa Barbara which have rocks which expose very clear perfectly angled rock strata. It also had a wonderful collection of star fish which entertained Samuel and Luke for hours. We wanted to continue our journey on this coastal road all the way to Lompoc but discovered that a large section of this coast consists of privately owned roads - really sad. What you will also find about 20 miles north of the beach we were on is Vanderberg Air Force Base which is the official West coast launch site for Space shuttles. No space shuttles that we know about have been launched from there but I have been told by somebody who went by train past the AFB that he saw a camouflaged full size military space shuttle on the launch pad which is completely off the record.

Gaviota state park October 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Passed my Californian drive test

Hooray - just passed my Californian drivers license - the only errors I made were using South African hand turn signals. I'm still getting used to the concept of pedestrians and skateboarders having complete right of way on the road - if they just step into the road you have to screech to a halt. In South Africa, you have to assume every car is out to kill you when you are a pedestrian.