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Our Baywatch impression in Santa Monica

Well, we saw the jeep!

sunny 22 °C
View 2011 - Samoa, NZ, Hawaii, USA on neilthelr's travel map.

The last location on our trip (excluding the airport) was Santa Monica. Sadly, we write this with nothing more to look forward to on this trip other than the flight home, which, if the outbound with Air New Zealand is anything to go by, should be good. Anyway, we took a convoluted route to Santa Monica going via the Santa Ynez mountains and down to Malibu and along. It yielded some lovely views though (see the photo already posted) and a lot of bikers. We had a small scare on the way though. The target was to return our rental car running on fumes so that we gave the rental company no free petrol. Well, we slightly mis-calculated how far we’d get on what we had so part way through the mountains, and with no idea where the next petrol station was, the fuel light came on, which caused a great deal of heart palpitations as we didn’t know how far we could get. After getting directions we drove (with a very light right foot) to the fuel station praying that we’d get there. Thankfully we did and that amount of petrol proved to be about perfect when we dumped the car back with Dollar. Anyway, the stretch of beach from Malibu all the way to Santa Monica is wide, clean and just about perfect. We were there Sunday to Wednesday so the traffic leaving the beach on Sunday was heavy but the beach was deserted for the other days. Monday we hired bikes and cycled part of the 27 mile route linking Malibu all the way to Venice Beach and beyond. We went a bit beyond Marina Del Rey and then headed back with our final total being 16 miles of cycling. And very pleasant they were too. It meant we felt better about sitting in the deck chairs in the sunshine, enjoying a frappe and watching the beach volleyball players when we got back to Santa Monica. Venice Beach canals were rather pretty but we expected more of Venice Beach itself. If you want to buy some stuff you don’t need or want / a crack pipe / marijuana or hang out with hippies then go there! The middle day was a bit cloudy so we weren’t disappointed that we needed to stay in and pack before squeezing in a bit of shopping (in order to ensure we were over our weight allowance coming home) but the day ended pretty well with us (along with David Beckham and Amy Adams – whom we’d seen dancing in the Hollywood streets whilst filming the Muppet Show nearly 3 months ago) watching the LA Lakers play Utah Jazz at the Staples Center (sic.). It was a great atmosphere, especially in the last couple of minutes when Kobe Bryant woke up and landed a 3-pointer, making them all square with about 30 seconds left to play. The Jazz got one free-throw at the other end taking them a point ahead with 6 seconds to play but, unfortunately Kobe fluffed his lines and dropped the ball (literally) when driving for the basket in the final play of the game. The final result was Utah 86-85 Lakers. We got a little lost heading out of downtown due to America’s habit of telling you that you needed the right turn you’ve just gone past because they don’t put the sign up in advance of the turn. Still, once we’d located the Freeway it was 15 mins home compared with the 1hr 10 on the way there. And then, to cap it all, we saw on the news this morning that there had been a drive-by shooting on the same Freeway shortly after we passed along it, which caused the Freeway to be closed for much of the night! Today we managed to fit in a good hearty American-style breakfast of pancakes (with syrup), some eggs, bacon and fruit before heading to the airport. Next stop home 

Posted by neilthelr 15:31 Archived in USA Tagged sightseeing

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