Sunday, August 2, 2009

83 Days In - Beauty By-The-Sea

An old family-friend offered Chris and me the use of her house while she was off in San Francisco. Her thinking was that when we do move into our own place, we want to know where we are going - not to be held up by making decisions at the last minute - allowing us to bolt.

This little trip also had the added bonus of giving us some much-needed alone time for a couple of days.

Her sweet little one-level house is down an airy, green, wide suburban street, just off the main hub of Belmont Shore. Belmont Shore is part of Long Beach, an area much closer to LA city’s work and parties.

But this is a trade off; the closer you get to Los Angeles (driving north from Orange County) the less beautiful the surroundings become.

Here in South OC, the small beaches of orangey-golden sand are turned over by crashing waves and held in by dramatic cliffs. Inland, the mountains and valleys hold a multitude of walks and views. By the time you get to Belmont, the land and sea are both flat. The beach, not cleaned by the tide, is deep and wide, covered in small pieces of debris that attack your bare feet. I try to paddle in the sea but the water seems intent on poisoning me. Out to sea the view is of oil rigs, cheaply “disguised” with fake palm trees; over to the right the cranes of the Long Beach dock loom in the haze.

Our first experience of Belmont Shore is a walk down the beach, and a decision is promptly made never to move there. But wandering back up the main drag, we pass cute coffee houses, Italian delis, boutique clothes shops, lively bars, family run restaurants…And we begin to get attached.

The area next to Belmont Shore is called Naples Island. For the most part this is made up of through-the-roof housing with attached docking for plush boat. But there are a couple of stretches of inland-bay beach, where families build sand-castles and splash about in the water. There may be no waves, but kayaks and peddle-os look just as fun, and the view is pretty and water clean.

So we decide that Belmont Shore can go on our “where we might live if we ever make enough money list”.

Lucky Belmont Shore.

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