In LA part 2

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August 10th 2015
Published: August 10th 2015
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It's 15.58 on the 9th of August. I have just finished packing for the last time, and now have an hour or so before we head up Hollywood Hills to watch the sunset over the city.
So, picking up where I left off - we got up Thursday at a reasonable time, somewhere between 8.30 and 9, and headed out for breakfast. It was warm but a little overcast that morning. Regardless, we decided to make for the beach that day and have a bit of a lazy day. Matt, who told us he wasn't much of a beach person, decided not to come and Kieran was that day heading to Universal Studios. So, the three of us headed off to train station, with the heat beginning to build in earnest, and rode the line down to Culver City. From there, we caught the bus down the long, long Venice blvd to Venuce itself.
We walked for a while along the promenade, which was a little quieter today on account of the clouds presumably. Finding a good spot on the sand, we set up our showers and sun creamed up, then lay reading and snoozing for most of the afternoon. We took occasional dips in the ocean to cool off, and turned regularly to ensure we cooked evenly, but apart from that we basked in the sun for at least 3 hours. By 4pm I could tell that my skin had had enough of the sun, and so did the others, so we had a final dip, dressed, and walked back up to the promenade. From there, we headed towards Santa Monica on the island road, wandering up the tree lined avenue where the sea salt was still in the air.
Before long we came to a little restaurant/bar with a beautiful courtyard with swing chairs and fairy lights around the trunks and in the beaches of the trees that shaded it. We took a seat, and were pleasantly surprised to see it was currently the happy hour - meaning the drinks and the food was very cheap. So, we spent a couple of hours trying a few of the $3-$4 appetisers and drinking Coke with a lime twist, and generally making the most of the gorgeous evening.
We did however, realise by this point that we'd perhaps overdone it a little with the sunbathing, and our skin began feeling rather hot. As it got towards 8pm we left the little restaurant and headed down to the beach where the sun was setting. The clouds had, by this point, moved north West to the horizon where the sun was setting behind the hills. This, therefore, created the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen, the sun painting the entire cloud bank a vivid red, then a blush pink. The pictures, I'm sure, do it no justice.
Once the colour finally faded from the sky, we headed back up to the bus stop and took bus up to the station, and rode the bus from station to home, feeling the sunburn begin to become more and more sore. We were home gone 10, and I think everyone was in, or getting ready for, bed by this point - so before long we did the same.
It was clear blue skies the next morning, and it was hot even as we had breakfast by the pool. We decided that day to ride the train all the way down to Long Beach to have a little look around, and then back up to the other side of the city to see a little more of Beverly Hills and the famous Rodeo Drive. Matt again decided he would rather art back for this one, so it was just the three of us again. We headed out at 12, walking down the station as usual, and catching the train nearly all the way to downtown. From there we changed lines and rode the blue line its full length South, to Long Beach.
The journey took the best part of an hour and, of course, there are always some characters on the metro. It seems, for instance, to be a thing here in LA to play music through speakers rather than headphones, or to talk loudly and aggressively to yourself. We arrived at Long Beach, and spent a little time wandering around the downtown, which was quiet but pleasant, then ate our lunches sitting on the pier - which was very pretty. The stubby little pier was surrounded by colourful boathouses and marinas, and bathed in sunshine. It was probably 2 by this point, so we decided that we'd better make a move back up the at we came, then take a bus to Rodeo drive up in the north of the city.
Rodeo drive, the shopping street of the very, very rich, was certainly impressive, if not a little sick in comparison to, say, the area we live in. There was all of the classics - Chanel, Tiffany's, Gucci - and still more shops that I think I'm not wealthy enough to have heard of. After walking the road up and down, checking out the Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bugattis parked along the road, we headed north into Beverly Hills. We stopped briefly to buy ice cream which was made fresh in front of you - and was, without a doubt, the best ice cream I've ever tasted.
We weren't there for that long, but long enough to reach the truly huge houses we hadn't seen the first time around. These houses were incredible. Mansions, In fact - their sweeping drives leading onto the wide, palm lined avenues. We followed one of the avenues back down to the shopping district and, finding a little Greek restaurant with a deck onto the street, shared a pitta and dip platter and rested our feet.
As evening set in, we made our way back the way we came. It was a long journey, but the transport was a little quieter as it was pushing 9pm by this point. Getting home, we had a little chat with Henry and Matt, who were sitting around the kitchen table, and made our way to bed.
Saturday dawned, and we were up at the usual time. Today was another beach day for myself and the girls, while Matt and Kieran headed up to Beverly Hills to have a look around. We took the now familiar train then bus down to Venice, coming on to a much busier promenade - it was now the weekend and another clear sky day. A large crowd gathered around a group of street performers, so we stood for quite a while and watched too. They were a group of dancers/gymnasts, and had an excellent way of hyping the crowd up and keeping them interested. It was so good, in fact, that some members of the audience tipped $45 for the performance. The rest of the day, to be honest, was much the same as our previous beach day. We sunbathed, a little more cautiously this time, swam - Rosie and I spending half an hour throwing some ball on the sand too. Once we'd had enough we headed back to the little restaurant and tried the appetisers that we'd missed the first time, then walked down to the seafront as the sun set.
There were no clouds this time, so the sunset was a more mellow purple-red haze over the northern hills. We walked further towards Santa Monica, pausing to climb the ropes at muscle beach, and bathing in the evenings warmth while buskers played along the prom. It was fully dark before we tore ourselves away from the idyllic scene and up into Santa Monica to catch the bus home.
Unfortunately we missed our bus by a minute or so, and had to wait a good 45 minutes for the next - the traffic out of Santa Monica holding it up. Once on, we were brought safely back to the reality of the grittier side of Los Angeles by a loud, lengthy and vaguely incoherent argument caused by one guy accusing another (I don't know whether this was falsely or not) of smoking meth on the bus. The argument at least provided a little entertainment for the journey, and before we knew it we were at the culver city stop, then on the train home.
We arrived back to Matt and Kevin sitting around and chatting, and few minutes later Kieran then Henry (who had been on a beer run) came in, it was probably 10pm by this point, and we sat in the kitchen, drinking a selection of Mexican beers, listening to music and chatting about everything and anything until gone 2am. By this point we were all exhausted, so called it a day (or a night) and went to our beds.
And that pretty much concludes LA, which concludes our trip. I will write one more blog, but when I publish it I will be at home.

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