December 1998, Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz, when thought of at all, is known for its major tourist trap, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk amusement park and roller coaster.
But there's much less to the area, including an aggressive car-ticketing policy, terrible tourist food (with a few notable exceptions), and a town that rolls up the carpet too damned early. It's not a pretty story, but so it goes.
It was the winter of 1998, a week or two before my son Isaac was due. I was unexpectedly in the area; at the behest of a client, Thuridion, located in nearby Scotts Valley. Because I worked the end of one week and the beginning of another I spent the weekend in-between in "SC", as it's known to the locals. It was a sunny, pleasantly mild winter.
You may be asking what turned my normally enthusiastic demeanor into that of a spurned lover? It was having the bastards ticket my car on a Sunday in the middle of winter at the boardwalk. Sunday, a day where metering requirements are usually not in force throughout the United States. Winter, a time when the tourists are rare and the businesses are hurting for cash. I stroll away from the car for a few minutes and the meter maids swoop down and penalize me for visiting. Coming to Santa Cruz is a mistake I won't be making in the near future.
There are pretty vistas to be seen. Here's the amusement park as seen from the end of the boardwalk.
Here's the pier as seen from just up the coast.
I mean, it's not as though the town was a wet blanket or anything...
...or that visitors are forced to search for buried treasure to pay for their parking tickets...
...it's just that I found it to be a two-bit rinky-dink tourist trap, with terribly little to offer. It's the worst of several worlds, tiny, expensive, and inconvenient. I mean, I've been to tourist traps all over the world, some of which I even searched out, but this one can safely be missed.
There are a few places in Santa Cruz that are worth visiting if you're ever in the area. Pink Godzilla Sushi was a pleasant spot to eat good food and relax. There's an Indian restaurant near downtown, the only Indian place in town, that was a breath of fresh air.
If you really want to decompress from the haughty screw-the-tourists attitude you'll find in Santa Cruz, consider driving ten minutes to Capitola.
Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!
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