Sunday, April 1, 2007

the naked truth

Day 4: I like people-watching; and today was the perfect day to do so. I got in my morning run around the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve; the gravel trail made it a bit of a challenging run. Along the trail, families, couples, people on bikes, and with their pets were getting in their daily exercise.

Our trip being pretty packed thus far, we decided for an easy, relaxing day so we headed down south towards Santa Cruz to check out the beaches. Today was the first day the rides and attractions opened on the boardwalk so it was bustling with people: teenagers on spring break and families with their children among tourists like us. Gyros from a wrap stand took care of lunch as we headed out onto the beach. We just sat there soaking up the sun, the warm sand between our toes. A family in front of us was setting up a tent and a guy behind us was being buried neck deep in sand by his girlfriend and some random kids. But this was nothing compared to what I was to encounter later on.

I wanted to drive along California Hwy 1, so we instructed Ms. GPS to take us to Half Moon Bay. Along the drive we stopped twice on the side of the road to marvel at the breath-taking panorama of the Pacific Ocean. Out on the horizon, waves of clouds seemed to tumble their way towards the shore.The beaches and cliffs reminded me much of Ireland and I had thought the same when driving up Napa Valley through the rolling green hills. On the tiny, secluded beaches, the wind was so strong, it would blow the pebbled sand against my legs that felt like hundreds of needles prickling my skin.

Unfortunately, amidst the beauty, came the beast. I made it down to a small beach cove; as I was taking in the view, a man popped out from the other side of the cliff wearing nothing but a tee-shirt. The same thing happened in Ireland but I was lucky enough to be without my glasses or contacts so everything was one big blur. I wasn't so lucky today. I quickly turn around and start walking the other way. I head up over some rocks to take a few more pictures and as soon as I turn around, the man, now completely naked is making his way towards my direction. I didn't know this was a nude beach; is there a hotline I can call to report this kind of behavior? All I'm thinking is getting the heck out of there. When I get to the path that leads back up the hill, Esther, who was waiting for me at the top, decides to make her way down. As I wait for her, I see from my peripheral, the naked man is coming back this way. You've got to be kidding me! At this point, I just laugh it off and tell Esther that there is a naked man down here so as not to be alarmed. I know what I said earlier, but I'd prefer not to people-watch in such circumstances.

We finally reached our destination; the small town of Half Moon Bay. The sun was beginning to set and the temperature was dropping but I made Esther walk the whole five blocks of the town. After getting some hot chocolate and the self-titled album by Amos Lee, which I bought from a cute little music shop on Main Street, we came home for an early night. It's back into the city tomorrow for our last full day in the Bay area. I just hope nudists aren't roaming around San Francisco.

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