Sun and summer are synonymous. It’s not really summer without sun, and sun is just a giant light source when it’s not summer. In San Clemente and much of Southern California, this is not the case. After some miserable bike issues the day before (nothing like female issues, but still they seem to always happen at the “not right now” times in life), I spent my first day with my now really good friend Claire. San Clemente is a beach culture, so that’s where we headed. I have lived next to it my whole life, but I always feel the ocean is a stranger that I have to reintroduce myself to and listen to it for hours on end to get to know it again. It’s so eloquent and has endless stories that like the breeze and waves, have no start or end.
Claire was a hooper, so she hooped, one, two, three hoolas and I filmed. It would be the last bit of footage I would film on my way down the coast. My camera jammed with sand, grit and adventure took a much deserved break. We walked the white wooden pier. Seagulls yelled at from the skies above at the diners at the pier’s high falooten food establishment with the constant sun etching expressions of contentment on their faces. A random cute couple, arm in arm, stared out towards the twinkling dusk coastline. I asked to take their picture, I didn’t know them, but I think those are the best pictures anyways. People being themselves, happy in a moment on a pier, regardless of the scraggly bearded traveller snapping their evening bliss on digital memory sticks.
Out of rock face canyons and sledable dunes, appears suddenly the over abundant houses and prim and proper gardens of Malibu. Gated communities “greet” me, where I peak over barbed wire to catch a glimpse of olympic sized pools lined with geometrically finite stone masonry the ancient Egyptians would be proud of. Painted ceramic tiles, a multicolored brick road leading me passed houses of so called geniuses, heavily sagging foolishly on stilts above the unpredicting foaming surface of sea below. A university with a funny name like Pepperdew or Perriwinkle with old school razor blade cut lawns lead me down a deep hill to something I had become accustomed to in California, a pier. But this pier was different. Rather than tipped with a mooring station for boats, or a fine dining establishment, I rode my bicycle to it’s edge only to interupt a school of fishermen, dressed in faded blues and yellows and fishy smells and baseball hats. To my immediate right, a big, bright, red door.
Guacamole Burger at Ruby's Diner
Ruby’s Diner, with it’s one metal legged laminated tables, topped by old school color coded condiment squeeze bottles, with walls covered in posters of well proportioned 50s vixens modelling burgers and malts that they had obviously never tasted, was a much needed sit down in a time where daddyo meant cool, not your pimp. As always, I was hungry and as always I looked for the most filling thing on the menu. Looking out the window I caught a glimpse of one fisherman’s hat, it’s brim, a few shreds of orange cotton and revealed cardboard. I felt me and that hat hard a lot in common at that moment. Indecisive as ever, close my eyes, point and the Gauc Burger and shake were placed in front of me, much to my surprise and my abyss of a stomach’s delight.
The morning started off with no coffee and a light drizzle of ocean spray and rain. The road, a cracked skin old person with many stories to tell if you just ride along at a good pace and listen. Farms with half deconstructed, salt washed fences, greet me every twenty kilometres or so. The beautiful flowers of yellow and deep purple grow naturally beside the flat highway that extends down the coast for hours and days. I don’t remember their smell, but I do remember how even in fog, they acted as the only obvious difference and border, between sea, sand and concrete. I also remember, that while at home, I never thought twice about stepping on living grass or dandelions, that I was cautious around this flora. I guess it was the unique drama they presented, the flamboyant contrast, the centre stage diva florified.