SoCal Struggles: Beaches, Buses, and Birds, oh my!

Beach sunset silhouette
Sunset at Hermosa Beach, CA. Posing on the left: my friend, Emily.

While Pomona is only about 50 miles from the coast, getting to the beach is quite a struggle. I had never realized just how difficult it is to get around without a car in some areas. Being from urban Jersey, living right next to New York City, I’ve spent so much of my life commuting, taking trains and buses, that having a car never seemed necessary. While I have my license, I’ve only driven a handful of times. Coming to Pomona, I figured I still wouldn’t need to drive, since Claremont isn’t in the middle of nowhere, but after Fall Break, I’ve learned a few things: public transit is better back home, California sunsets are beautiful, and birds are evil creatures.

For Fall Break, while some visited home and others stayed to take advantage of the opportunity to see the beaches of LA or Santa Monica, I’d like to think I did a little of both. It didn’t make too much sense to fly home seeing as our break is only two days longer than your average weekend, so I invited my high school friend, Emily, to visit, seeing as her fall break lasts the whole week (I guess we’re more studious than Vassar). It was so nice to be with my friend again, because it was like visiting a little part of home. Even though I don’t have a car, I told her we could definitely get to the beach. (Pomona offers a Zipcar service in addition to hosting ocassional 47 Things trips to Santa Monica, but this trip we decided to plan on our own.) After asking around for specific beach recommendations, I decided we should go to Hermosa Beach, despite the fact that Google said the commute would take about 2 hours. We took a Metrolink ride to LA, two bus rides, both completely packed with people, and somehow, 3 hours later, we wound up on a beautiful beach. Finally, we could relax.

The soft, warm sand, the refreshing ocean spray; it was exactly what we wanted. We had packed some snacks, and after just laying around reading for a while, we decided to take a break and eat the pita bread, hummus, and blueberries we’d bought at the Farmer’s Market a couple days before. The blueberries were so sweet, not tart at all, the pita bread still felt fresh, even though it had been 2 days since we bought it, and the hummus was still cold and creamy: everything was perfect. And because it wouldn’t be a beach day without going into the water, my friend and I made our way toward the waves. I was a little anxious for a second about leaving our bags unattended, but we could easily see them from where we were going. A wave had just crashed and the water was rapidly approaching my feet. I always jump a little when the cold water finally hits me, but it was refreshing. After a little while, I turned around as my friend pointed to our bags, shouting: “There are birds all around our stuff!” Oh no…

We knew that the leftover food might attract birds, so before we left our things unattended, I had put the leftover pieces of pita bread inside their bag, putting that, along with other food, inside another plastic bag. That should be good, I thought. Well, I clearly underestimated the cleverness of these annoying birds. My friend was a little scared of the large flock that had gathered near our stuff, but I ran back to make sure everything was ok. As I got closer to where we had set down our bags and towels, I saw that the plastic bag inside which I had left our food was completely open, all the stuff inside it sprawled across the sand. Just a little to side of our stuff, there were at least 6 or 7 seagulls going crazy about something. I ran at them, they moved aside, and I saw that the pita bread bag was ripped open and there were barely any crumbs left. These birds had opened the plastic bag I had tied up (because the big plastic bag was still intact) and managed to rip through the smaller bag to get to the pita, which somehow they knew was in there. At this point, I had no other reacting but to start laughing.

Even though the birds might have finished our pita, and commuting to and from the beach took so much time, it was really an enjoyable experience overall. This was the first time I’d gone to the beach since arriving in California on Move-In Day and the first time I’d seen my friend since I left home; it was a really great day.