The Boardwalk of Santa Cruz Essay -- Observation Essay, Descriptive Ess

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The Boardwalk of Santa Cruz

"Keifer Sutherland blockbuster Lost Boys filmed on this spot," proclaimed
the self-important plaque. It was mounted on a wall along a long flight of
log stairs. As I looked back, miles of beach stretched out before me and,
across the bay, I could see red, blue, orange lights whirling high above the
crowds upon a huge wheel. We made our way back to where the steps met back up
with the sidewalk alongside the highway. We were hit by the smell of the
city, of the freeways, re-invading our senses. I took one final look back
and studied once more the long progression of wooden planks stretching off
into the distance. It had been like no place I'd ever experienced. The
Boardwalk. Santa Cruz.

It was the summer of 2000 and I had moved in with my sister Jana in Santa
Cruz, California for the summer. I had taken a 32-hour bus ride to get
there and was completely exhausted from it, but Jana wanted to show off her
city, so the next day she gave me a tour. She had an apartment right on the
beach, and we could go swimming anytime. We went downtown and I took in
this unfamiliar environment. The people were so much more diverse than I
was used to. Growing up in a town of 280 people in western Colorado does
not exactly allow one to experience many types of people. In one glimpse
down a street in Santa Cruz, I could see a sampling of the world. People of
all colors and creeds wearing turbans, sarongs, and other exotic clothes
mixed right in with the type of people I had grown up with. California
does not have mental institutions, so most mental patients end up homeless
in the streets--another wrinkle to the cloak of humanity of this particular
street. I witnessed one man...

...s and blocks of shops, restaurants,
bowling alleys, bars and emergency medical stations for those who needed
assistance, such as having their stomachs pumped, after a night on the
Boardwalk. The people milling about were just as varied as those downtown,
if decidedly younger. The beach was filled with rides and volleyball nets
all along the coast. We started out in a bowling alley and progressed on to
numerous other establishments, including a Falafel place where none of the
employees spoke anything but Farsi. As the night wore on and the bars
became less and less selective, the night became hazier and hazier. One of
the memories that remained in my addled brain the next morning was riding
the Ferris wheel high above the crowds and feeling the wondrous ocean breeze
coming in. It was one of the most fun nights I had while I was in