A cynical New York bus driver (living in San Diego!) reckons that Californians are only interested in two things when they wake up. Whether they look good, and is the sun shining. Strictly speaking, this is not true. Surf conditions, fast cars, and dog grooming all rate a mention. Beach fashion too.
Despite that playful contribution from our East Coast friend, we found the short stay in California to be full of great people, always willing to help out, chat, or discover more about the land down under. Politeness, good manners, and outstanding service were an all-industry standard, and the animals at San Diego Zoo were ridiculously compliant when it came to being photographed. We loved the place.
With Mexico consuming most of our holiday time, the USA was something of a conduit to a bigger adventure, but not before squeezing in an awesome Surf City Half Marathon. With stunning Huntington Beach as a backdrop, 15 000 gorgeous runners on the start line, and a big blue sky overhead, it wasn't hard to enjoy this first day off the plane. Our home amongst friends was a cosy bungalow retreat too, with hot tub and cold beer both on hand. Yogi the super dog too.
And if you think jet lag and a couple of glasses of United Airlines wine might hurt your chances of a good run, think again. A pretty cruisey 1:21 half marathon owes much to comfortable and spacious seats, excellent in-flight service, and aeroplanes running right on schedule. Well done United.
A fast and flat course is there for the taking, so if you happen to be on the West Coast around mid-February, give this well-oiled race some careful consideration. The event organisers even dropped the race kit to our residence, as we arrived too late for registration. Californians are cool. As is the surfboard finishers medal.
Away from the race track, you can run and play as hard as you like from San Diego to San Francisco. The sporting calendar is full of run, ride, swim action. And when you get bored with all the sport and adventure, jump over the border into Mexico for more fun than you can handle. The zoo is brilliant. And so are the beaches, the weather, and all the good looking people. We had a ball.