With Palm Springs being a bit too high-brow to have a Greyhound Station, I had to get the bus to the other end of the Coachella Valley to the coach station in Indio. En route I inadvertently managed to cause a road traffic collision. A friendly lady must have noticed me carrying my luggage and pulled over to offer me a lift. I was always brought up to decline rides off seemingly well-meaning strangers so I politely declined the invitation. She must have stopped quite abruptly though because a cyclist ended up ploughing into the rear of her car! Fortunately no harm done and everyone was happy.

I only just ended up making the coach to San Diego. The Greyhound Station was almost a mile from where Google Maps reckoned it was. At one point it was touch and go when I was struggling to find pedestrians to ask directions. It was a good job I set out early as I only made it with about ten minutes to spare.

To be honest, San Diego wasn’t my first choice to spend Christmas. Ideally I wanted to be somewhere snowy (which San Diego obviously isn’t) and preferably with a good sociable hostel to stay. I was thinking Alaska but struggled to find a suitable hostel.  Sitting alone in a hotel room on Christmas Day would have been a bit depressing. I’d stayed at an excellent hostel in the Rocky Mountains during the summer. This would have been ideal as Breckenridge was a lovely town and probably would have looked all nice and Christmassy. However the hostel had put the prices up to a point where they seemed to be having a laugh. They wanted the best part of £300 to stay in a shared room bunk bed for three nights over Christmas. Throw in another £150 for flights to and from Denver and the total cost was hard to justify for a three-day trip. You can live for a month off that sort of money in Asia. Therefore San Diego it was. The hostel I was planning upon staying seemed nice enough. It was also easy to get to from Palm Springs.

The hostel was indeed in the thick of the Ocean Beach action, bang in the middle of the main street. Or OB as most people in the know seem to call it. The beach itself was a couple of minutes walk away and there were plenty of bars, restaurants and shops around. I enjoyed a couple of beers around the OB hostelries. The Christmas songs were in full swing, albeit slightly tunes to those churned out back home. I didn’t hear any Slade, there was certainly no Shakin’ Stevens played and I also didn’t notice the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl classic either.

I’ve always thought that there’s a gap in the market for Chinese takeaway restaurants in the US. There’s loads of sit-down Chinese restaurants and also plenty of those eat all you can places. Prior to tonight in Ocean Beach, I’ve never seen a UK-style chippy. I went in and ordered the number off the menu on the wall, only to be told that they were really busy and there was a half-hour wait. It wasn’t worth the wait. Disappointingly the chicken curry and special fried rice were average at best. I’m still waiting to find see a decent Chinese takeaway in the US.

Ocean Beach
View from the hostel porch