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Southern California is a blend of the authentic and the artificial. The natural landscape has continuously shifted between green hills, rugged cliffs, sandy shapes and flat terrain. One reoccurring standard landscape has however been the golf courses. I imagine that the golf players live in the ritzy and rich neighbourhoods that I have passed on the way. Like Monterey with all the grand villas protected by high walls and Malibu with all the fancy houses that occupied entire beaches with its fences. I did not reach behind those glamorous facades, but outside of them I met several genuine, generous and gorgeous people.

Beyond the high walls and private beaches, the coastal area of Big Sur appeared in all its simple beauty. The luxury life sometimes drove by, in the shape of fast cars that looked like bat-mobiles and SUVs the length of limousines. Me and my bike gained speed with the wind. It pushed me up the high hills and treated me with splendid views from the top before blowing me down the road back to sea level. The scenery was spectacular, with waterfalls splurging into the ocean, waves that invited me in for a salty bath and camping grounds on a plateau with the star lit sky as the only light source.

In the evenings cute and clever racoons ran their nightly raids in search of food around my tent. In the daytime frisky squirrels jumped along the fields and lazy elephant seals took naps on the beach. In the cities most of the animals seemed to have gone through a make-over to match the designer handbags that they occasionally were sitting in. Spoiled pets could get pampered in cat-spas in glitzy Los Angeles or eat glazed dog biscuits from the bakeries in wealthy Carmel. In the beach town of Solana pet owners could even book a consultation for reducing the climate change impact, for animals that had a high carbon lifestyle.

All of the pets and people who peeked out from a fashionable handbag, gazed over a protective wall, watched through a car window of their bat-mobiles or looked beyond the artificial landscape of a the golf course could enjoy the true beauty of California, the coast. For me it has been amazing to get reappearing views of the Pacific Sea. It has been there next to the college beach house I stayed at in Santa Barbara. It has been there as I stretched my calves and thighs after climbing those hills in the Big Sur. It has been there as I hanged out by the skateboard park at Venice Beach. It has been there as I dried in the sun after a swim in San Diego. And it will continue to be by my side as I soon will be cycling through the beauty in Mexico. 




  1. Angelica Saturday, November 28, 2009, at 1:41 PM

    I LOVE reading your blog hanna. Just posted a link to it from my COP-15 blog, so hopefully some peace and development students will find there way here also.
    keep it up.

  2. Jan Kupcake Zeboski Wednesday, December 9, 2009, at 2:37 PM

    Where is our Hanna now????

  3. hanna Monday, December 14, 2009, at 4:25 PM

    Thank you Angelica and all the best of luck in Copenhagen, or Hopenhagen.

    I am having a shower between deserts before continuing to enjoy the splendid Mexican nature of mountains and sand.

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