They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
-James Earl Jones "Field of Dreams"
and don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road
-Bob Dylan "Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"
Saturday, July 14, 2007
We were on the corner of 14th Street and Oceanfront. Across 14th Street is the elementary school, and facing it is a playground. This makes it a fairly busy area, but no obnoxiously so. A block west (conceptually north, towards LA) is 15th Street, where there is a public bath house, the Stuffed Surfer Cafe, the 15th Street Surf Shop and a small convenience store called Fry's Market. Another 6 blocks down, at the 21st St. alignment, is the Newport Pier. 5 of our previous 9 stays had been spent in the range of 28th Street to 35th Street. That area is much busier, but one advantage is easy access to what was formerly a Lucky Store, now an Albertson's, is about two blocks off the beach at 31st Street. Going east from our rental, about 16 blocks, is the Balboa Pier.
We were able to see all of the places in which we previously stayed, with one exception. 1614 W. Oceanfront, just up the street a couple of blocks, had been torn down, along with its neighbor to the east, and replaced by a glass and chrome monstrosity that looked like it might be the mothership for an alien invasion. The others, including the apartment from 1989, which was on the corner by the Surf Shop and the site of the Mark McGwire encounter, were intact, although the '89 apartment and the '87 Balboa shack were no both now longer term rentals and the 95-97 place at 3310 W. Oceanfront was no longer a rental at all.
Many things were the same, most of the businesses like Blackie's, Charlie's Chili, the donut shop, the seashell shop, etc. were still in place. The Burger King was now some off brand equivalent. Surfside Sports, where we used to pump our bicycle tires, had lost their lease (it now cost a dollar at on the other bike rentals).
This was the first time since the early apartments that we could cook and eat on the patio, which was very cool. I rode my bike a lot. The surf was disappointing, though. The area by our rental is prone to rip-tides, it turns out, and the only time I attempted boogie boarding (with John on Thursday) was interrupted by the lifeguard on a bullhorn telling us not to. The plan was to go up to the other side of the pier on Friday but I got a sunburn that more or less killed that idea.
John and Agnieszka came in around 11:30 on Wednesday and stayed the rest of the week. Pat and Suzanne came later in the day, as did Jeff. Wednesday was the 4th of July, which turns the boardwalk into a zoo, populated by drunken 20somethings on bicycles that they should not have been operating. Other than the company, this was my least favorite day at the beach.
It was a good stay, too short as usual, and the sunburn at the end was a bummer, but this was probably the nicest place we have rented (and a little cheaper than the last two). If I have it to do over again I will figure out how to take a smaller vehicle and do something about getting a bike, then just plan a couple of walks up the boardwalk for boogieboarding.