There is only one thing I can say about the people in O.B. ..cool. It's like a neat little hippie town where peace and harmony are a way of life. Immediately upon arrival I was welcomed with high spirits and the trademark V-sign which they use as their official greeting. Unfortunately, through a very unexpected turn of events, I was left stranded there for a couple of days with a dead cell phone, no money or food, and not really knowing where I was. There was a small crew of "OBceans" that took me in and called family. They took care of me, helped me with food and even money, and showed me what true kindness is all about. It's a time I will never forget..
It almost seems strange how a tragic turn of events can somehow translate to good fortune. Had I not been stranded I probably would not have gotten the full experience. This cool little hippie town is a paradise for someone that just wants to get away from it all. Walking through town you won't see a whole lot of gentrification. Your only reminder of the outside world would probably be the one Starbucks wedged somewhere in the middle. All of the rest are surf-shops, restaurants, etc that are self-owned. It's clear to see that this town was built upon the working class. Pretentious attitudes don't really find their way into the hearts of these lovable creatures. They just like to drink beer, smoke weed, and have fun.
When I first got there the first thing that I noticed is that there was some sort of volleyball festival going on and there was a great many people attending. There was also a stage set up with bands playing. The cover was only five bucks but I skipped it anyway because to be honest I was enjoying it just fine from the rail. Volleyball is pretty big on this beach. So is skateboarding, partying, and fishing is a really big one, too. I met someone that caught a shark and even a stingray! He was even going to share it with me, but when he planned to cook it that night he got a little wasted so that plan fell through. In general the crowd is pretty receptive, but by far my favorites were the locals. I had never really hung out with beach bums until then and I wasn't disappointed because to me they seemed the most real. They live life free and easy. Whenever I would ask them "what's up" their favorite answer.."a whole lotta nuthin'". When they are not out panhandling they gather at a little corner behind the pier called 'The Wall'. The Wall is like the little hood section of the beach and for the most part you can get way with having yourself a little beer or a joint all the while maintaining your distance from the cops. In this little corner you'll find them clowning around, poking fun at each other and just overall having fun. I had definitely found my little hang out spot. Wherever I go I always head straight for the locals. They always know where all the cool little spots are to hang out and duck the cops. I was content to remain there, but they showed me an even more secluded spot to hang and chill with brew in hand a show of
good times. Travel a little farther down the steps and end up on "The Cliffs". I am particularly fond of this
spot. It's a little more versatile being that its great place to hang out with friends, but its also a good place to go maverick and be alone with your thoughts while watching the waves crash into the rocks. The ground there holds the engraved names of countless individuals devoting an untold number of man hours carving their presence into these massive stones. We socialized about many things there, clowned around a bit some more, and even shared philosophies. I was educated to something called Squatter's Rights. It's kinda like being a nomad except if they "squat" in a particular place long enough they can actually use the law to claim it as their own. The one who introduced me to the concept was a guy named "Monster" (probably the coolest of all of them). He had a tattoo of the Squatter Symbol on his arm and was the main one to educate me about their cause. The more I hung out with these cool cats the more I liked them, and the more they excepted me into their family.
For sure, the only thing better than hanging out at the beach during the day is camping on the sand at night. Even though the only reason I did this was because I was stranded, it wasn't all bad because what makes sleeping on the beach worthwhile are their famous fire pits. At these pits, you can shield yourself from the brisk cold air by gathering firewood and setting them ablaze. It's also another place to meet even more people from all different walks of life. It would seem that these fire pits are a social gathering for mutual squatters. We shared stories of our travels while sharing a beer or two during the process. Different people would set the tone by supplying a little background music on the guitar. It was a welcome and refreshing experience that I had never done before. I'm mainly a kid from the bricks so digging a small hole beside the campfire and wedging my body between the cement and the sand to provide warmth (a trick that Monster taught me) is an idea completely foreign to me. Amazingly enough, it worked pretty well and really helped to keep me from freezing .
Even though the situation turned out to be somewhat adverse, I can think of a whole lot worse places to be stranded than in OB. It isn't that difficult to be accepted by this crew of lovable characters. All you have to do is have respect for your fellow man, be drama-free, and make it a way of life. You'll fit-in in no time.
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