Stolen Kiss

Stolen Kiss

October 15, 2009

Lodestar Los Angeles

Most people we had spoken to regarded Los Angeles in a similar fashion to the guide books…the only reason you would go there would be to use it as a stepping stone to other destinations.

As with most advice…. check it out for yourself!!

Our two short stays there on the way to and from Mexico were fantastic! Indeed we saw a few stars, or would be stars!

Being averse to standing in queues, we decided to forgo the obvious tourist destinations, although whilst under the influence of jet lag, we did go on a city tour to some of the hot spots. An enjoyable alternative as there were no crowds and an entertaining evening unfolded.

Our stop at Universal City was amusing .......................................

and a walk down THE shopping strip in THE world just had to be had. At this point, Bruce Willis and family drove past us in their Mercedes! Our tour guide heard me encouraging Peter to stand in the middle of THE road to take a pic and immediately advised us that if caught, we would be arrested. It was almost like waving the red flag………

An invaluable tip from a Dunbar who resides in USA was to use Hotwire to book the hotels. This was a great piece of advice as we managed to score a semi-luxurious hotel on the beach at Redondo for 1/3 of the price, with ocean views to boot! Over the road from a marina were many restaurants and a pearl of a find was the wonderful café, Poppy’s on the Pier, that served all day breakfast and lunch! It became our favourite hang out.

As we were a little sore from sitting on the airplane, we thought we might as well go the full distance and hire a bicycle for a day to ride up to Marina Del Ray, some 14 miles round trip. The end result…..very soreasses!

There is a cycle path that goes right along the beach for most of Los Angeles….apparently the longest cycle track in the world, although it was far beyond our capability to see how true this was.

There was much entertainment along the track and many interesting houses that people must like to be seen in. The bicycles had large upright handlebars and were made for us cruisers who like to go at a leisurely pace and take in the stunning views. We shared our track with those who were walking, rollerblading, skateboarding and the occasional serious cyclist in full lycra.

Redondo Beach seemed to be the fitness center of LA or maybe it is just that the vista enthuses people to be part of the landscape. The infamous ‘Golds Gym’ was next to our hotel and we had free membership. We will have to take some appropriate clothing next time!

High on Peter’s ‘must do’ list was a visit to Marina Del Ray, so he was quite excited! On our arrival at our destination we went to see a broker, as you do, who then drove us around to look at a Baltic 49. (Free tour of the marina!) Amazing yacht, but as it drew 8’8”, it was out of the question.

Of course the marina has a West Marine Store which was like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coup. We feel that we will become well acquainted by the time we finish fitting out the new Stolen Kiss, but that is another story!

Being close to Pacific Highway we caught the public busses down to Long Beach and up to Santa Monica. I had to almost restrain Peter from jumping out the bus as we went passed the car yards as the price of luxury cars is very cheap! We ventured through some not so salubrious suburbs which we were happy it was not night.

So many clichéd songs came to mind. Hotel California is just south of Santa Monica Pier and will be savored for the next visit. Unfortunately, I did not have any Beach Boys songs on the ipod. The pier was entertaining with buskers and interesting people doing different things. Long Beach, as per usual for a port area, was a little tacky but worth a look to stroll around the marinas.

The most single aspect of life in LA that amazed us was the people who were so friendly and kind, with manners you would only dream of most of us in Australia having. Every where and everyone we came across. Certainly, the idea of customer service in America would have to be a shinning example to Australia.

In a unique way that can only be American, a lady stopped us as we were crossing the road, leant out of her car and asked if we would like to buy her house! She assured us it was a great house, on the beach and she was offering  a really cheap price.  Perhaps a bargain was to be had there, but not by us!

 Some restaurants we found were just not for us...

In a little shopping centre near our hotel was a gourmet, organic supermarket with an enormous range of ready to eat food. There was also a microwave and a small eating area for those who were eating on the run, which took customer service to a higher level. In every restaurant we ate at, there was no problem at ordering one meal between us. We just were not up to eating the huge portions they dished up. One favourite was American pancakes, which reminded us of what Bill used to make for us at Chagos.

Los Angeles was also very colourful, with many murals and quirky houses. The Whale Walls were all along the coast, decorating otherwise huge bland cement walls. An amazing feat!

So now it is back to work in Perth until my contract expires at the end of November. Peter scored a frequent flyer seat back to LA in November via Tokyo and I will follow a week later. We plan to meet the Blue Bananas in LA (in the snow!) for the festive season. A little collection of some snow gear will have to be had!

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