Friday, July 18, 2014

What's so different about California?

Just when you thought I was finally done with California posts :)

This is my last one! I just couldn't resist writing about some of the things that were so different from my everyday life on the East Coast.

Weather. We stayed close to the coast for our entire trip so we woke up to fog every morning. It burned off by about 10 or 11am, followed by clear blue skies for the afternoon, but I didn't like it. I'm a morning person, and being greeted by overcast skies when I woke up was a bummer. But I guess that's the trade off for having pleasant temperatures year round. :)

Driving/traffic. Traffic where I live is minimal because it's a rural area (the population just broke 2,000 in 2010). But we've experienced big city traffic in our travels. California traffic was different. We weren't in any dense city traffic, more like lots of stop-and-go highway driving. The carpool lane was new to us and thankfully saved us many times. Also surprising was the fact that motorcycles frequently drove between the lanes of traffic. Those drivers definitely made good time compared to the rest of us, but I wouldn't have the stomach for it!

Restaurants. Sometimes eating out can be difficult because not many restaurants around my hometown offer vegetarian options other than a side salad. In California, we were able to find vegan and vegetarian restaurants without a problem, and even traditional restaurants offered at least one vegetarian dish. We were also given a glass of water with almost every meal (without asking for one). This used to be commonplace here too, but it was outlawed when we had a terrible drought about ten years ago . . I wonder if that law continues to be in effect?

Bugs. We encountered bugs exactly ONCE during our entire 9 days in California. It was marvelous. Many shops and restaurants propped their doors open, or had entire rows of French doors along one side. Even with all that good food around, there were no flies, wasps, bees - everything that would be attracted immediately to outdoor dining around here. The one time we saw bugs was while hiking in the redwood forest. Once we got sweaty, some little black bugs were very happy to hang out with us. 

I'd love to hear if anything surprised you about my trip or somewhere you've visited. :)


  1. No bugs?!? That's a winner for me. In summer we have mozzies and flies galore. I can't sit on our back verandah when the sun is setting or at night as the mozzies have a field day on me. Flies aren't too bad where I live but are a little annoying. When I went to Central Australia. OMG! The flies during the day send everyone mental. I had to wear fly nets over my head. But then after dark, they had fewer mosquitoes there.

    In NZ, there wee no bugs! No ants crawling all over you the moment you sat down. No flies dive bombing you. Hardly any mozzies. There a few very slow mozzies who gave a half-hearted attempt to bite but they wee easy to dispatch with a slap.

    I couldn't do hat lane sharing thing either. Crazy!

    1. What a pleasant surprise bug-free California was! Bugs are just one of those things I assumed were everywhere - no escape unless it's freezing cold. We also have a ton of mosquitoes in the summer. Central Australia sounds like some of the swamps around here with all their bugs. I can only stand to visit on days with a strong breeze!

      NZ just sounds better and better :)

  2. I remember the daily fog in Northern California, and the highway driving! I didn't get anywhere near Southern California/LA when I was there. I was surprised by the extremes in geography and climate, from the northern rain forest and sequoias, to the blazing hot scrubby desert with its ice plant-covered hills, just a couple of hours apart.

    1. We really enjoyed the changing landscapes too. No mountains around here, and certainly no cactus or succulents (not outside, anyway). Plus a lot of the beaches were rocky mixed with sand, which I've read about but never experienced.

  3. It's amazing when travelling all those little things that you would never expect, like the no bugs. Everywhere we went in France, England and Ireland they had no 'fly-screens' on the windows, which amazed us. Here in Australia fly-wire on the windows is almost universal, thanks to all the bugs! I bet it was lovely to have many more vegan and vegetarian restaurants available. Did you get new meal ideas from eating out?

    1. Yes, where I live all windows have screens - it's a must if you want to open your windows. I'm surprised to hear there were no fly screens in England, Ireland, and France!

      The best thing about the vegan restaurants was being able to order anything on the menu - I didn't realize I missed that! New to me, we had some delicious mushroom gravy, hearts of palm "crab cakes", and potato tacos. I found some recipes online that sound similar and can't wait to try them at home :)


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