It's all good
Wear some USC Trojan paraphernalia, walk up to almost anyone and say, “dude”. Lifelong friends, I swear.
Upon first arriving, I highly recommend getting a Mystic Tan. It will only cost you about $15 and will serve like camouflage among the locals. But better than that, you really can’t take yourself seriously once you have posed nude in a little booth to have your body spray-painted a tannish orange. And once that self-seriousness is snuffed, the OC will surely enchant.
Take a run on the Balboa peninsula. There is no comparable feeling to having a grown man on a beach cruiser chiming his little bell for you.
Avoid a leisurely afternoon kayaking. This is a general traveling tip. Just don’t do it unless you already hate your travel companion and don’t mind sunburns, oar burns, and resentment.
The highlights: Alta coffeehouse is cool. Habana is a bar/restaurant with the best sangria I’ve ever had. Gulfstream, Bandera, and the Cannery are great to witness the local mating habits—think older crowd in “resort wear casual”. If you have real bucks stay at the Montage in Laguna (it’s all very Robb Report).
Not exactly "The OC"
Note: The following was written on Aug 22, 2003 during the first season of "The OC." I stopped watching the show midway through second season.
Newport Beach is where The OC is set. I thought I'd use this page to dispel a few myths in a humorous light.
Fact: Lest you go to visit the city and leave disappointed, Newport Beach is not quite that rich. Granted, it's more upscale than, say, Hollywood. But the house that family lives in? As one of my friends who grew up in Orange County put it, that's more Laguna Nagel than Newport Beach. And there are even parts of Newport Beach that you *gasp* may want to avoid!
Fact: There are people of color in Orange County, and not all them reside in an Orange County prison. Someone needs to let the makers of The OC in on that little secret. It's been noted, for instance, that the show needs *far* more Asians to appear realistic. It's 2003, not the 1970s.
Fact: Chino is referred to as the "wrong side of the tracks" in the promos for the show. Actually, Chino is not part of Orange County at all. It's part of the area Angelenos refer to as the Inland Empire or, less affectionately, "the 909," after the area code, which includes San Bernadino and Riverside Counties (if you're confused, these are the counties you pass by on the way to Las Vegas).
I don't know if Chino deserves the reputation, but If you listen to the Kevin and Bean's morning show on 106.7 FM, you'll occasionally hear them speak of the 909 as "the land of the Dirt People," home of the mullet," and "the Meth Lab capital." It's also where the smog gently drifts from Los Angeles and settles like a lead bomb. Often the 909 has "hazadous" smog alerts.
So Chino is sort of on the wrong side of the tracks, but it's not like Newport Beach is sitting right on the other side blowing raspberries at it. For more about this much-maligned area code, visit the wikipedia link below.
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