Tuesday, 8 March 2016


Sometimes events just seem to unfold in a manner that works out beautifully for everyone. Isn't that lovely? I was lucky enough to benefit from a nice little moment of serendipity just a couple of weeks ago. 

One of my bigger goals for 2016 is to visit two new places.  This is because I am a territourist, a creature of habit that tends to go back to the same place, marking my metaphorical territory over and over again. As a result, after my May 2016 holiday, I will have been to Ibiza five times in the last two years. Territorial? I may as well cock my leg and piss up the wall at Pacha and be done with it.  And there's a whole world out there. A whole great big beautiful world, most of which I haven't visited.  

So it was a very good thing when, as a result of a proposal that my boss and I had submitted, my company was shortlisted to pitch our services to a potential new client.

In Los Angeles.

It was also quite fortunate that, when I looked at flights, it was quite significantly cheaper to fly home on the Sunday evening, rather than straight after the Friday morning pitch.

So I found myself in a situation where it was beneficial, both to me and the company that I work for, to spend the weekend by myself in LA. Hoorah!

I will be totally honest. LA was not on my shortlist of places to visit.  I'm not a movie buff and LA has always struck me as a place that is so film-centric that there is probably very little else going on.  Which could make it a little..... superficial?

Well, I was right, but I was also wrong.  It all very much depends on where you go.

I stayed in Venice, in a lovely little Airbnb place [side note, one of my other big goals for 2016 is to TRY NEW THINGS and staying in an Airbnb is a big tick in that box] that was located down a little walk street.

A photo posted by @readyamefire on

As you can see this is a lovely little path to walk down..... unless you're doing it for the first time in the dark, having got off the bus manhandling a gigantic suitcase, thinking "Is this safe?  I have no idea if this area is safe" while pondering the fact that if I were watching someone go down this poorly lit alley on TV, I'd be shouting "Don't go down there! Oh for heaven's sake, she's just asking to be murdered, the idiot".  As it turned out, it was all fine and I soon found myself installed in a cute little guesthouse that sat at the end of my host's garden.  I was pretty tired by this point and so with a brief chomp on some Cheetos for dinner, I crashed to sleep on the very comfortable and snuggly bed.

Thankfully, I had a pretty good night's sleep and woke up feeling pretty bright, which was good as it was time to go and pitch!  I put my professional face on and headed out.  I had assumed that the public transport would be like London, with a bus every couple of minutes.  Not the case.  So I ended up walking about two miles to the office in Santa Monica, as my connecting bus just didn't come along.  Thankfully I had allowed plenty of time and was still early for the pitch, which went very well.  And then at about 11am, I was free as a bird in Los Angeles!

After heading back to my Airbnb to get the heck out of my suit, I hit the streets of Venice, CA.  My first port of call was Abbot Kinney Blvd, which is an super hipster street of cute little independent shops.  I wasn't really in the mood for shopping, but I enjoyed strolling along in the warm sunshine.  Very welcome after the cold February weather that we were having in the UK.  I hit the end of the boulevard and found my way to Venice Beach, which was every bit as lively as I thought it would be, with stalls, buskers, and a great group of street dancers.

A video posted by @readyamefire on

By the end of the street dance show, I was pretty hungry, as I hadn't eaten anything yet that day. Thankfully the Sidewalk CafĂ© was able to provide me with an enormous lunch before I headed on up the boardwalk.  After walking northwards up the beach for a while, Venice starts to fade away and becomes Santa Monica, which is like the classy older sister to Venice's raucous young boy.  The beach here is lovely, just like walking onto the set of Baywatch.

A photo posted by @readyamefire on

After a wander around the shops of Santa Monica, I was tired and decided to catch the bus back to Venice, collapsing in bed almost as soon as I got back there early evening. Looking at the health app on my phone, it looks like I walked about 10 miles that day, so no wonder the jetlag caught up with me!

The next day it was time to head to Hollywood.  I got the bus again, which took longer than I thought again.  That's the thing about LA, it's huge and sprawling and nothing is very close to anything else.  I wandered up and down the Walk of Fame until I found Angela Lansbury, then stopped for some lunch.

A photo posted by @readyamefire on

After more public transport related fun, I arrived at the Griffith Observatory, a beautiful art deco style building pearched on top of a hill, where you get the best views of the Hollywood sign.

A photo posted by @readyamefire on

The observatory is sat at the edge of a park that has a load of trails just begging to be walked.  I walked up quite a way, but there was much more I could've walked, if I'd had the energy.  But this point, tiredness was setting in again (DAMN YOU JETLAG!!!) and I grabbed the bus back to my guesthouse for the evening.

On my last day, I spent the morning wandering up and down the Venice Canals, such a beautiful and peaceful place.  Don't go there unless you want to spend quite a bit of time wondering how your life has managed to unfold in a way that has not led to you living there. After the canals, I had just enough time for a wander about (including an extended walk up Main Street to Santa Monica in search of stamps to send out postcards, which I then couldn't find a postbox for GAH!).  It was then time to head back to my Airbnb, grab my suitcase and head back to the airport for the long flight home.

Looking back on this trip, I can definitely say that I enjoyed my time in LA, but don't really feel like there is a lot more there that I would like to see.  I preferred Venice and Santa Monica to Hollywood, as there is a much more relaxed atmosphere in those places, although one point to note about everywhere I went is that there are huge numbers of homeless people, more than I've ever seen anywhere else, which is a really sad thing, with no simple solution. 

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