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The Boardwalk Of Santa Cruz Essay

1066 words - 4 pages

The Boardwalk of Santa Cruz

"Keifer Sutherland blockbuster Lost Boys filmed on this spot," proclaimed
the self-important plaque. It was mounted on a wall along a long flight of
log stairs. As I looked back, miles of beach stretched out before me and,
across the bay, I could see red, blue, orange lights whirling high above the
crowds upon a huge wheel. We made our way back to where the steps met back up
with the sidewalk alongside the highway. We were hit by the smell of the
city, of the freeways, re-invading our senses. I took one final look back
and studied once more the long progression of wooden planks stretching off
into the distance. It had been like no place I'd ever experienced. The
Boardwalk. Santa Cruz.

It was the summer of 2000 and I had moved in with my sister Jana in Santa
Cruz, California for the summer. I had taken a 32-hour bus ride to get
there and was completely exhausted from it, but Jana wanted to show off her
city, so the next day she gave me a tour. She had an apartment right on the
beach, and we could go swimming anytime. We went downtown and I took in
this unfamiliar environment. The people were so much more diverse than I
was used to. Growing up in a town of 280 people in western Colorado does
not exactly allow one to experience many types of people. In one glimpse
down a street in Santa Cruz, I could see a sampling of the world. People of
all colors and creeds wearing turbans, sarongs, and other exotic clothes
mixed right in with the type of people I had grown up with. California
does not have mental institutions, so most mental patients end up homeless
in the streets--another wrinkle to the cloak of humanity of this particular
street. I witnessed one man do a handstand, walk on his hands over to a
tree, and proceed to climb up it backwards. The streets were full of
vendors and street performers--magicians twirling flaming swords and
producing pigeons from thin air, musicians filling our ears with the sounds
of guitars, trumpets, flutes, and drums, puppetmasters orchestrating
marionettes to the delight of shrieking and giggling children.

Seeing how dazed I was by the abundance of new sights, Jana suggested we
get something to eat. We spotted a sushi place nearby. We entered and were
greeted by a bubbly hostess, soft music, and the smell of incense. As we
were led to a table, I took a cursory look around the restaurant. Vines and
overflowing plants and Oriental tapestries bedecked the walls and ceilings,
and red, yellow, and green stained glass windows let in a soft glow. We
were seated and as we went over my plans to work with Jana for a
housepainting company, I looked over the strange menu. After wading my
confused way through the Japanese translations for salmon, eel, tuna, and
vegetarian sushi and for a myriad of other Japanese foods, I let my sister
order for me.

The sushi was another completely foreign element. The aromatic...

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