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Santa Cruz, CA
There's Good and Bad
Posted On: 10/3/2013 8:02:34 AM
I think my experience may be a little bit different than most people's. got lucky in that I already had a solid friend base when I moved to Santa Cruz, as well as an affordable room near the beach at my friend's apartment. While I certainly enjoyed aspects of Santa Cruz, I was very ready to leave after my 9 month temporary stay in the city.

So let's start with the cons: Very rude and intolerant people: For a place that is supposedly liberal, I have never been called a "f*cking f*ggot" more times in my life than when I was walking downtown. It was appalling and there reached a point where I just didn't want to go outside anymore. The tourists: I'm not one of those anti-tourism people and perhaps it's my own fault for living on Beach Hill, but come Friday my neighborhood became a hotbed of litter, stumbling drunks, cat-callers, and just plain disrespect. If you are going to visit Santa Cruz, that's fine (I did as a teen all the time) but have some respect for the people who live there! Jobs: I got lucky in that I found a decent paying job fairly easily, though I was required to commute to our San Jose office twice a week. A lot of people commute to San Jose and it can get tiresome since there are few jobs in Santa Cruz outside of the University or healthcare. Traffic: worst traffic I have ever experienced. I think people are rude in Santa Cruz because the traffic stresses them out. Whoever planned this city most not have been entirely sober because the streets make absolutely no sense. It's hard to just get one mile in the city and don't even think about driving on a Saturday in July or during rush hour.

Ok, now the pros. There are still a lot of sweet old hippie people, and I love hippies, who bring a spark to Santa Cruz. This one is just my preference and I know that not everyone likes hippies. The redwoods and the beach are right there if you want them. There are a multitude of health-food stores. There are some amazing restaurants. Gay volleyball on Wednesday evenings is wonderful. Once again, I already had a friend base when I moved there and I only lived there for a temporary job, so my experience is different than most peoples. If you do move to Santa Cruz, you must go to trivia nights and 99 Bottles, ride your bike up to Wilder Ranch State Park, go on the Giant Dipper regularly, try one of the hundreds of great coffee shops, and attend some of the fun events downtown.

Santa Cruz if far from perfect and in many ways I think it is getting worse instead of better. But it's not terrible. It still has a small town feel with an interesting culture. Just prepare for the summer rush of trashy tourists. But when that happens, walk on down to the Penny Ice Creamery and have some amazing homemade ice cream.

Portland, OR
re: uninteresting and unpleasant - 3/3/2013
Posted On: 4/23/2013 9:56:46 AM
Wow, you just said exactly what I was thinking, except you managed to put it into words. I found Portland to be incredibly *closed-minded* to anyone who wasn't a Subaru driving graphic designing coffee snob. It's not respectful of diversity like it smugly proclaims. You have to fit in with the trends if you want people to even give you the time of day.

Arcata, CA
re: Would love some feedback - 5/25/2012
Posted On: 9/17/2012 5:11:45 PM
Hi Lisa, not sure if it's too late and you've already made your decision but I like to think I have a pretty good grasp in Arcata. First off, it's possibly the best place in California to be close to the ocean AND mountains and be able to afford it. It's so beautiful and, while it does rain, it's a little over-hyped. The worst of the rain is usually in March and that's really the only time it "gets" to me. Otherwise, I love the weather. In terms of coffeehouses and restaurants, the places to eat here are decent but there are only a handful of "amazing restaurants." Being a college town though there are wonderful coffeehouses. Cafe Mocka, Brio, Mosgos, and Couple Cups to name a few. I used to love huddling in a corner and writing. Walking is a breeze since the town is so compact. In fact, most people choose to walk over any other form of transportation. As for a writing community, I know that one exists but I'm not sure how many people are part of it or how strong it is. I had some professors who were part of an active writing community and they loved it. If you have any other questions, feel free to hit me up!

San Francisco, CA
Sadly Disappointed
Posted On: 9/17/2012 5:00:05 PM
I, like so many other naive college grads, thought it would be a good idea to leave my quaint little college town and tackle the excitement of San Francisco. And, like so many other naive college grads, I didn't last long, lost most of my money, and left feeling bitter and let down by the City by the Bay...

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about places and everyone has different experiences about cities, but my experience of San Francisco was so negative and so painful that I will gladly never set foot in that city again. To start with, unless you are in high tech or any other booming, high paying field, making ends meet is difficult. Even with the high minimum wage I was barely breaking even. And I was living in squalor. For so many (hipsters) living in squalor is cool, but for me it was just difficult and unpleasant. I paid $800 a month to live in the Sunset with loud neighbors and terrible fog. The buses were always late and almost always packed to the brim. I could barely breathe during my 40 minute commute to work. The kind of customers I served at my restaurant made me lose faith in humanity. When I worked up Arcata I got nothing but smiles, hellos and good tips. In San Francisco, supposedly a friendly liberal city, I was lucky if one in five people would tip (and I'm a friendly and good waiter). People were openly rude and would call me derogatory names to my face. Nowhere else have I encountered such snobbery, such self-righteousness than from the patrons at my cafe. But nothing compares to the sheer self-absorption, narcissism of my fellow 20 somethings. So often people were more interested in being hip and cool than being friendly or nice. It's all about being up with the latest trends, the latest bands, the latest iThing. I never had a genuine conversation with anyone. They were more interested in showing off how cultured and unique they were. To put it bluntly, San Francisco is a city for the privileged. There are other cities that are for the privileged, but San Francisco's privileged aren't aware that they are privileged. They assume that they are somehow saving the world or at the forefront of some movement.

The only pro I can think of is the gay-friendly attitude. As a gay man, I genuinely felt I could be myself and be open about my sexuality. But that wasn't enough to make me stay. Words cannot express how happy I am to be gone from this place. Anyone else has the right to disagree with me and that's fine. If you love San Francisco, all the more for you. But for me I needed a more down-to-earth, less stuck-up vibe.

Current Location
St. Louis, MO

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