Hi. I’m The Beach, Huntington Beach

The first time I saw Huntington Beach was on that teen TV Series The 0.C. which I was temporarily, perhaps prophetically, addicted to, a year ago. The writers always set the slightly interesting near-sex scenes involving coke addicts at Huntington. And there are some strange places – an old age trailer park, and a seaside long lease that skips the holiday months, that lays bare the truth behind the healthy, rich, facade of the USA that South African advertisers and most TV tends to sell Africa. Not that I’d complain about living in that trailer park. It may not be a house with a pool-house, but it’s pretty close to the ocean. Then again, so is Khaylitsha (P.S. in this link how obvious is it that the main pic was taken out of the window of a speeding car? Gotta love the tourists).

The sign, which you’ll have to use your imagination to see thanks to the woesiness of my cell phone camera, is helpsavemywife.com – not sure how he can afford to hire a plane if he’s broke. Perhaps the law firm fronted the cash. Or he’s a pilot.

One of the first things I loved about Huntington was the kites, and the planes and helicopters dragging signs across the sky – that weird Californian sky that’s so dirty at the edges, making light like no other – blindingly bright, but filtered. Hot, but unreal.

Some of the lekker local talent.

Huntingtone has a big fall-off shelf and fun dumpers as you get in. The Pacific is a bit rough, like Durban (but not as rough), clean and clear like Fishhoek (I saw a massive fish glassed in a wave as I waded in) and about the same temperature now as Muizenberg was when I left. So, cold enough for a wetsuit if you plan to hang around for hours. I kept having to shake that late 80s / early 90s one night stand track “popsicle toes”  by Michael Franks from my head… it was just so classically Californian. That light. The people. The insanely hot girls juxtaposed with the insanely not-hot (both in tiny bikinis).

huntington beach jeanbarker.wordpress.com
The cliche is true. In the distance, the world-famous pier, which is not the equal of Durbs’ but still cool enough that I tried to walk there on the sloping sands, and now have lower back ache… glam, ne.

My South African friends, who may or may not admit to having watched The O.C. at some point, will be interested to know that

1. You can braai on the beach. It’s legal. But you can’t drink, and ha ha – here they enforce the rules. (Nevertheless, I did see some empty 100ml vodka bottles in the bins near where I went to change under my towel – old habits die not.)

2. Parking costs $15 a day – and you gotta be out by 10pm. Imagine if they tried THAT at home.

3. There are girls as hot as the chicks in US movies to be seen in bikinis on the beach. But there are fewer of them than you’ll see on Clifton. Mostly, it’s just regular people having fun. You know, lots of kids, and crowds of teenagers and 20somethings posing and preening for each other like mating pigeons, and parents, being parents (never completely at ease outside the nest really).

I’ll have you know that getting there required me to drive about 40km, mostly on highways. It shouldn’t have been that far but I missed a few turns. You know, having a few issues with my GPS lady. She’s argumentative, and confused, but if I pull over at a gas station and toss her in the cubby hole for a while without her power cable she does shut up and learn her place. And we may not be a fit, but hey, she’s the only person I know here.

If you liked this, you might enjoy my previous posts about my first few days in the USA.

– Day 1: Kaffa coffee, Tom Cruise, Cats and Dogs. It’s all unfamiliar.
– Day 2: Mexico – Just down the road from the Roach Motel
– Day 3: Buena Park – California’s Benoni?

3 Responses to “Hi. I’m The Beach, Huntington Beach”

  1. dorothy black Says:

    that’s fabulous — it looks so nice and warm and lovely… huntington beach has always been at the back of my head NOT BECAUSE OF OC (which i NEVER watched. EVER. for really realz. seriously…) (seriously though)… but because the son of the owner of the kindergarten i taught at in taiwan never let any of us forget that he was actually american and grew up on huntington beach. or near it one would hope…

  2. biobot Says:

    Parents are never completely at ease inside the nest either.

  3. jeanbarker Says:

    I can only imagine, thank god @biobot. And @dorothyblack You’d love it. I’d love it much more if you were here to share it.

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