California break

hi all 🙂

just coming back from holidays…A few weeks ago I was in California, and it was a wonderful road trip and I already feel a bit of nostalgia writing these lines.

Discoveries, good surprises, disappointments , unexpected events/endeavors, never felt that French (although I feel more like a mix of influences).

~ Got struck by~

– food portions. (sorry, couldn’t help noticing). however, got delighted by the great diversity of eateries in cities (which somehow reminded me of London)

Delicious fried avocado breakfast in Sacramento

– LA traffic: well….what to say about it…how come the city doesn’t have a broader network of public transport?

– poverty (especially in LA) – what is the city hall doing? I realise how economically vulnerable you can be in such a country. No safety net. the downside of the American Dream.

– Sizes of houses: I could say “obscene”. especially if you consider the fact that there people don’t live with their elder (2 generations under 1 roof). Look at Japan where people live in simply decorated small flats and have a high disposable income too. Hopefully there were also perfect counter examples – like in Sacramento:

Tiny houses in Sacramento

– Education costs (although this was not a discovery, but became a reality through discussion we had): $20,000 student fees each year…it’s insane! check by yourself, and you’ll see that in France student fees for public universities are ca. $400-600. Of course, our education system is far from perfect and it is still a challenge to make studies accessible to everyone – but at least you don’t need to borrow a ridiculous amount of money to go to university. Even with a great degree, how can you cope with such a big loan to payback?

– cops: well, although I got stopped due to “moment of confusion on the road”, I realized how nice policemen are in Europe (particularly here in the UK)

– didn’t like much of LA. didn’t want to go to Vegas (although a lot of people advised me to). skipped the Death valley despite having booked a night in a room weeks before (which convinces me that planning is only useful to some extend)

~ the unexpected gifts of our journey~

– Met incredible people (partly thanks to Airbnb) who shared with me very insightful talks about their fears, hopes for their country. people shared food with us, lent us kayaks for a ride, beach chairs, gave us free tickets to Yosemite.

we might have a distorted vision of the US – through mainstream media (thank you Fox News) – but it’s great to see that some people still have free spirit, and work for a better country (and better people).

– the drives: I hate driving (at least in the few places I had practised in France)…but driving on those mountains roads, surrounded by gorgeous landscapes….this was a real treat I didn’t expect. After couple of miles to adjust to automatic gear, I really enjoyed myself.

DSC_1106

– California is expensive – I cannot say you can “live on the cheap”.But looking closely, it is quite reasonable compared to the cost of enjoying our free time in London (specially for eating out and transports).Travelling is as expensive as you make.Most our meals (we ate once in a burger joint) cost less $15. we also cooked simple meals, bought fresh foods from deli, snacked on fruits. we roughly spent $50-60 for 2 each day on food (incl. snacks, coffees in the morning), and a couple of beers.

Planning to details a bit more of our trip in separate articles:

~ Coming soon ~

 Los Angeles

– Sequoia Forest

– King’s Canyon & Yosemite

– Lake Tahoe

– Sacramento

– Monterey & the Big Sur

– San Francisco

– Santa Barbara

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