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The International Writers Magazine
Catalina Island Mini-Vacation:

Paul Dale Roberts

I love traveling overseas and I have a big vacation planned for this November, in which I will be traveling to Madrid, Spain.  Wouldn't it have been nice for me to spend my vacation in Spain on my 50th birthday?  There was one problem, my birthday is on January 17....sigh. 
Paul and Dee-Kee on deck
© P Roberts

Wait a minute, I once took a small cruise to Encenada, Mexico and the cruise ship didn't stop at Catalina Island for some reason or another.  My curiosity about what was on Catalina Island always had me going.  Hmmm...let's put two and two together.  I have a 50th birthday coming up.  I have never been to Catalina Island.  It's not that far and really not that expensive.  I thought to myself...'why not go to Catalina Island on my 50th birthday?' 

That's exactly what I did!  I brought along a good dear friend of mine named Debra Lynn Scott, but she goes by the nickname of Dee Kee.  We took Southwest Airlines from Sacramento to Los Angeles, got a rent-a-car and stayed at the Best Western Bayshore Inn in Newport Beach, a very cute and quaint hotel.  One night we walked from our hotel to the beach.  It was 80 degrees in the month of January and people were sunbathing. 

In the evening we got all dandied up and checked out the bar scene.  Some of the bars had unusual names like Blackees by the Sea, Beachball, Mutt Lynches, The Stag Bar and Sharkeez.  Sharkeez was the most fun with lively dance music playing.  We had to leave Mutt Lynches within 5 minutes because they blasted us out with super loud heavy metal music.  Sharkeez, the atmosphere was festive and we saw people enjoying the music and practically dancing around the bar room with their drinks in their hands.  On the 17th, the day of my birthday we took the Catalina Express ferry boat to Catalina Island. 

We explored the beauty of this island which had a calming affect on us.  This is a great romantic place for newlyweds and it's only a few miles from the mainland.  Catalina Island has a lot of history.  Various groups of Indians inhabited the island for over 7000 years until Don Sebastian Viscaino of Spain stopped off at the island in 1542 and things were going to change quickly.

By 1790, American, Russian and Aleut Indians hunted the sea otter in defiance of Spain.  When Americans took over, squatters brought over sheep and cattle to the island.  At one point of time Union soldiers stayed on the island.  Many, many movies were made on this beautiful island and you can even see buffalo grazing on the grass.  These buffalo were brought over in 1924 for the making of a film.  When you first see Catalina Island and it's beautiful harbor, the first thing you see is the gorgeous Catalina Casino.  William Wrigley Jr. had the casino constructed and inside is a ballroom over a movie theatre in the Moorish Alhambra style with Art Deco fixtures. The casino was constructed in 1928 and took 14 months to complete.

It was so enjoyable walking around the various shops and sitting and looking out towards the ocean and watching the soothing sunset.  El Tarasco Mexican Restaurant in Newport Beach was my favorite place to have dinner.  For reasonable prices you can get huge beef enchiladas or a nice chicken tossed salad.  The food is scrumptious and worth every penny!  All I can say if you want an enjoyable fun-filled adventure and have the feeling of being in another country, you have to check out Catalina Island, especially if you live in California, this is one island paradise that should not be missed! 
Dee Kee now has a new nickname, she calls herself Lady D. Avalon! 

© Paul Dale Roberts Feb 2005

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