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Laguna Beach tourists make the most of stormy weather

December 22, 2010 |  3:10 pm

The Singh family of Dallas substituted museums for the amusement parks and other outdoor activities they had planned during their nine-day Southern California vacation swing.

But with only two days to go, the kids insisted on a day at the beach "no matter what,"said their mother, Neelam Singh, 40, a physician.

"We came for the weather," her husband, Raj Singh, 40, said ruefully as the family shared a large pizza before heading down to the shore in Laguna Beach. "Such a continuous rain for five to six days was really unexpected.... But it's been good family time."

Said Gary Decker, 49, owner of Pizza Lounge on Coast Highway in Laguna: "Between the economy and this California weather, it's crazy times." But there was an upside: Disaster gawkers made Wednesday his best day for business this month, Decker said.

Santa's Beach House, a festooned holiday photo shack parked on a muddy street in the middle of downtown, was closed, its door handle wrapped in yellow police tape.

Hotel Laguna on Coast Highway had not a single tourist registered, said the clerk, who declined to give his name as a matter of policy.

A holiday window display -- a reindeer-drawn sleigh and other Victoriana on a glistening fake snow backdrop -- looked forlorn at Rock Martin Jewelers, whose entrance was blocked by towels and a stool.

"We wait all year long for a nice busy season," said store co-owner Michael McFadden, 46. "This rain has killed it.... I've been doing a sun dance for the last 10 days, but it's not working."

-- Gale Holland in Laguna Beach