In November 1996 when I was still living in Hong Kong I was called into an important meeting in Orange County and upon arrival was checked into a hotel in Irvine. Having arrived there early on a Sunday I got into a cab to explore the area with the intent to go to Newport Beach as my limited knowledge of the area told me that was the place to go after ruling out a longer drive to the Nixon Library. The taxi driver, a friendly Greek guy, insisted I forget about that plan and made it clear I was going to Laguna Beach and if I did not like it he would not charge the fare. Fair enough, so I strolled around Laguna for a few hours until he picked me up and drove me back to my hotel after a brief shopping interlude in Newport. For some reason I have the warmest memories of that afternoon on my own in Laguna and the place left an indelible impression on me. It added to my long love affair with Southern California.
So when we visited San Diego for a long weekend in October 2014, I resolved to go back to Laguna which I knew was a relatively short drive up in the direction of LA along highway 5. Now in the company of Irene and daughters, we did exactly what I did 18 years earlier. We strolled through the village, enjoyed a pizza on the beach nestled between a few homeless people on the one side and a Mercedes owning crowd on the other, braved the powerful waves and just let the calmer side of SoCal embrace us. There is something inherently good and soothing about the place. I just love Laguna Beach.
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Just a random selection of some of my favourite photos.