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i saw a starfish
At the El Matador Beach, part of the California State Parks' Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, and wanted to take it, as decoration for my office desk but wasn't sure if it was dead, so I just put it back into the clear cold water I'd plucked it out from. Besides offering spectacular views of the metallic blue water of the Pacific El Matador boasts of breathtaking rock formations all along the waterline, like sentinels on watchful duty expecting an armada to rise over the horizon any moment. I discerned a kneeling elephant, the head of a mournful feline, a shark fin and the sails of a yacht majestically frozen in rock as I walked down the beach, eventually wandering into the adjoining Li Piedera and El Pescador. El Matador is also known to have nude sunbathers because of its relative obscurity and the rather amazing fact that it does not seem to attract the kind of crowds you'd think it merits, perhaps because of the much more popular Zuma which is right next door. The drive to the PCH for me takes me through the Malibu Canyon road which is entirely enchanting on its own but is made all the more magical by the views of the Pacific it offers at intervals.

For those living in LA County and looking for a quiet day at the beach I cannot sufficiently recommend this jewel along Southern California's stunning coastline, here's directions,

Getting There - El Matador is at 32215 Pacific Coast Highway/CA-1, Malibu 90265. As you proceed northwards on PCH, look out for signs saying El Matador, La Piedra and El Pescador
Parking - is $2.00 for the day
Swimming - should be fun though I did not try it, the beach is rather rocky and there are no lifeguards on duty so venture with some caution
Walking - is what I indulged in and were it possible I'd go there every morning for a long, quiet, peaceful walk
Wildlife - Besides the usual suspects, the herons and the sea gulls, I saw little white birds which in the dimming light looked like strips of styrofoam being blown around by the wind and which magically transformed into little busy bodies pecking in the sand as I got a closer look. It was particularly funny watching them follow the receding water, snapping up at tidbits in the short reprieve and then quickly scampering back before the next wave came in to engulf their petite selves. Oh yes, I also happened to come across a seemingly recently deceased, rather stinky sea lion and an attractive stranger trying to get her bulldog puppy, Bruno, leashed as the little mutt was busy making me jump out of my skin in sheer terror. Now you know why I'm so single.

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