Last summer was amazing. As a nation we are generally crap at organising stuff. We barely managed to get out of the Kelvingrove wedding celebrations alive. Wimbledon, unbelievably, only got a roof in the last few years. Before that, everyone was forced to listen to Cliff Richard sing for two days straight while it rained. But last year we finally got our act together. People were happy. For the first time in years we didn’t look like a nation that got pissed the night before a big job interview. The sun shone, the women’s volleyball team “glistened like wet otter” (thanks Boris), we won gold, silver and bronze. And the Spice Girls got back together. But this year, once again, things were looking fairly bleak. The rain was relentless and the odds on the London Mayor getting stuck on zip slide were dramatically reduced (thanks again Boris).
So I decided to hedge my bests and head over to America’s west coast. You’ve all read the stories – ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’, ‘You haven’t seen views until you’ve been to Yosemite’ and ‘You haven’t felt more like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank than until you’ve visited Alcatraz’. So what happens when you take the road trip of a lifetime, add your mum, dad and teenage brother and call it a 21st birthday celebration? Obviously madness ensues. Credit cards are lost before we board the plan, people faint inside helicopters over the Grand Canyon and 4 hour journey past Big Sur turns into 10 hours with only an Egg Mcmuffin for comfort. I could go into more detail but I promised my family I’d obey the golden Vegas rule. But what else did I find? Well, the American west coast is a plethora for pitch perfect postcard views. Once I ventured out of the soulless and sequinned Sin City I found miles of golden beaches scattered with locals in tie die tops, dirty tattoos and up beat grins. The lifestyle here is extremely active, gyms on the beaches and cyclists, skateboarders and surfers dominate the stretches on Santa Monica sand. Not that any of them need to work out- the only food here is fresh from the sea and most of the cafes and restaurants are tiny tea lit dens selling organic meals and delicious fruit and veg. The only vice seems to be tequila, served on the rocks with salt, just like the beaches.
The sights only get better. We visited the Santa Barbara court house heavily influenced by Hispanic architecture, climbed the rocks of Yosemite’s waterfalls for breath-taking views and cycled all over San Francisco, crossing the famous Golden Gate Bridge. By the end of the trip my heart was set on never touching British soil again. To be fair when I arrived back, things at home had perked up. We had a heat wave, a royal baby and a British Wimbledon champion! We’ve come a long way from the time we were forced to pretend that Greg Rusedski was from the UK in order to get a vague taste of glory. Maybe us Brits really are getting the hang of summer after all. But American, with its sun, sandy beaches and tequila on tap, they really know how it’s done.
By Kirsty McKenzie