The California Riviera

The Wife and I took yesterday off work and drove up to Santa Barbara. It’s paradise here. Even back in the high desert, it’s cool and windy — sweater weather. In Santa Barbara, in the middle of January, it was in the high seventies and people were wearing shorts and tank tops. Palm trees, upscale shops and boutiques, and beautiful buildings were everywhere and it felt like early summer. There was no fog and all of the Channel Islands were in sharp relief, and seemed close enough to get to with a long swim. The ocean looked brilliant and calm; a hundred different shades of blue with the sun glittering off of its surface like gold filigree. The air smells of the offshore salt breeze, eucalyptus leaves, and Mexican food. We met up with friends and had a nice dinner and today we’re going to have a wine exploration adventure.

A few minor complaints — the water here seems not quite right, somehow a little more sour. They must purify it a little bit differently here as opposed to water from the state water project. The hotel has TV in the rooms, of course — and judging by what’s on this morning, The Wife and I aren’t missing much by not having any at home. But, the king-sized bed is pretty awesome. And we’ve had some good food and are enjoying the good company of our friends.

Tomorrow, it’s back to reality with stops to pick up the new flooring for our spare bedroom and exchange a holiday present that apparently can only be exchanged at one particular store in Camarillo. Since I doubt we’re going to take a prolonged vacation this year, weekend getaways like this are really what it’s all about for us. We’re planning on being back up the central coast in March and having a long weekend to visit my parents’ new home in Houston in May. But I see no whole weeks off for the foreseeable future.

But seriously, I could learn to deal with the water. It’s paradise here.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. I always thought the California Riviera was Hermosa-Torrance coast line. Maybe it’s the LA Riviera. So did you bump into JOhn Robie?

  2. Hermosa-Torrance is called the “Hollywood Riviera” for no good reason that I can think of. Especially back when it got that name, it wasn’t considered a particularly glamorous part of the Los Angeles area.But the similarity in character and feel between Santa Barbara and the Italian Rivieria is profound.

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