Where else to go on a hot day other than the beach? At the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, there are amusement park rides, carnival games, an arcade, andthe beach!
Santa Cruz is about an hour's drive from the Bay Area and can get pretty crowded on a summer day.
Santa Cruz is home to one of the oldest wooden rollercoasters in the world, the Giant Dipper. Built in 1924, it's the 12th oldest rollercoaster in the world, and the 7th oldest still in operation in the US. No wonder it's a National Historic Landmark! Even though it was built so long ago, it's definitely an exhilarating ride. Since the space isn't huge, the cart winds in and out of the wooden structures several times, and the whole ride is populated with ups and downs. I would consider it to be one of the best wooden rollercoasters I've ridden.
I also loved the drop tower because of the great views at the top. The ride shot up, then went up and down twice. Since we were facing the ocean, there were sprawling views of the surrounding beach and ocean.
After lunch, we got airbrushed tattoos, which last anywhere from a few days to a week. I got a phoenix on my side and a feather on my ankle. Along the Boardwalk, there are also caricatures, face painting, and lots of snacks to buy including fried oreos and crepes.
Watching our friends who didn't want to go on the drop tower ride the pirate ship :P
Alice getting an airbrushed tattoo.
The arcade had laser tag, fruit ninja, and flappy bird in addition to more classic games like skee-ball. It also had Asteroids, which is a newly discovered favorite of mine! I played it at the Neon Retro Arcade in Pasadena, which is about 15 minutes away from Caltech, and I was really excited to see it in this arcade. Apparently it's too old or just not popular though, since I was immediately in the top 10 the first time I played it -- and I did not get a great score.
I was also extremely lucky here. First, I won the regular jackpot at one machine, and then I won the monster jackpot at another machine! The first jackpot was about 200+ tickets, and the second jackpot was 1700+ tickets. With my winnings, I got myself a stuffed animal otter, and then pooled earnings with two friends to help them get a nemo and a tsum tsum.
In this game, you press a button to drop a ball down a tube in the back, which is aligned to one of the outer holes. The regular jackpot is in this outer ring. To get the monster jackpot, the ball has to bounce into the elevated center hole.
Me and my prize otter!
The Boardwalk was really fun and I would definitely go again! One last recommendation is riding the carousel. It's pretty unique in that each time you go around, you can grab a small brass ring and try to throw it into a giant clown's mouth. If you succeed, a horn sounds and the clown's eyes light up. It's a very fun twist on a childhood ride :)
Starting college can be a big transition. You’re moving to a new place, starting a new school and classes, and faced with making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. And, of course, there’s that whole “becoming an adult” thing. But, you’re also leaving a lot behind. Every new beginning means that an old chapter must come to an end. Leaving behind our friends at home may seem difficult, especially if they’re going to be a long distance away from you during the school year. Something I made sure to do was to spend a lot of time with them during the summer after high school. Of course, going to college doesn’t mean you’ll never see your friends again, or that you will no longer be friends with them. Good friendships will last if you put effort into them. It may seem hard initially. Coming into Caltech, it’s a sharp adjustment and many are caught up in the excitement of Orientation, Rotation, and starting classes. It may be hard to remember to check your phone frequently and to make time for phone calls and such. Rest assured that if you have other friends going to college, they’re probably going to go through similar things you will. In this transition period, it can feel like you’re going to immediately lose touch with people that mean a lot to you.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.
After a year spent in “soft-lockdown” at home in Atlanta, and as Caltech students prepared to finally return to campus, I was aboard an eight hour flight towards Edinburgh, Scotland. Since my junior year plans were interrupted by the virus who shall not be named, I’m spending my first term of senior year studying abroad through the Caltech - Edinburgh University International Exchange program. I’ve only been here just over a week yet have been exposed to so many new people, perspectives, foods, and classes.
When the announcement was first made that fall term was going to be online, I started talking to friends and looking for places to live. We were debating locations around the country: California, Florida, New York, etc.. there were plenty of options. Then it suddenly hit me, what is stopping us from going to Hawaii, covid numbers were better and a two week quarentine would ensure that numbers stayed down… I proposed this to my friend and we agreed it would be an amazing experience, but we didn’t want to get out hopes up. A month or so later we still haven’t decided where to live, Hawaii seemed too far and too difficult to plan. But we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads. We spent some time looking into plane tickets, places to stay, etc… and it actually didn’t seem so impossible after all. A couple weeks later and we were arriving here on the big island!