Woke up yesterday with every intention of heading to Venice Beach and taking some photos of the kooks and oddballs – it’s a bit of a must when in LA – and then finding the bridged waterways after which the area is named but my ass, to use a colloquialism, seemed reluctant to part company with the chair. So not wanting to feel useless I spent the time glued to my tablet, looking on the airbnb site, finding the next place to stay when I leave here on Monday.
Now, at the time of writing, the US Govt is effectively not working for reasons too tedious to mention. The effect of that on me is that the National Parks are closed. You know, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, all the places I, and many others, came here specifically to visit. Joshua Tree is the real kicker, as that was to be my first port of call on my trip out of LA towards Vegas. So my route had been reversed and rather than finish with a trip down Pacific Coast Highway 1 – the Coast Road or PCH1 as it’s called here – I now find myself starting with it. My next stop after LA will be Santa Barbara, a beautiful town by the sea which has a distinct advantage over the LA lifestyle. Namely, you can walk everywhere.
Now, I drive hundreds of miles in my job, so driving per se doesn’t bother me at all but driving to get anywhere useful does. Want to go to a restaurant? Drive. A supermarket? Drive. A coffee shop? You get the point. Not that walking here is unpleasant or dangerous but the distances involved are mostly too much. We all know LA is bigger than massive. What becomes apparant when you arrive is that everything you’ve heard about is spread out with nothing of any consequence in between. It’s almost as if the place is too big for the sum of it’s parts, at least for this pasty-faced Brit.
So, Santa Barbara has appeal. I looked at three properties there, one of which made me feel as if I were bordering on the unhygenic just reading about it. Those of you that know me can vouch for the fact that I’m a very well-scrubbed chap but this property mentioned how clean it was seven times in it’s brief description. The owner described herself as ‘being very particular about being clean and organized in (her) private and business life’.
Sheets were ‘changed and sanitized’ between visits. Sanitized? Is that different to washing? The furniture was polished. All wood, then? Knobs and handles were wiped and linens bleached. Bleached? I began to suspect her of being employed by the mob to clean up crime scenes. I began to question my own cleanliness. I certainly can’t remember the last time I polished my own knobs…
So I’m not staying there. I’m staying with a young lady named Jessica and her dog who, when asking what I did – Jessica that is, not the dog – and finding out I am a photographer, told me her home ‘is two blocks from the Santa Barbara Courthouse, the second most photographed building in the US’. Along with that useful information, I concluded that I can honestly claim to be at least cleaner than a dog – though he did look rather smart, come to think of it – and the fact that the house is two blocks from the seafront is another bonus.
So did I then leap up and head for Venice Beach? No, despite the fact it was a beautiful day I stayed inside, still not feeling 100%. I had a late lunch, concluded I still had a few bits to buy so took a 20 minute walk to the nearest supermarket (see what I mean about those distances?) and returned. At 8pm I walked into my bedroom and lay down for a minute. I woke at 3.30am the following morning, brushed my teeth, took off my clothes and climbed into bed where I remained until 8am the this morning. I feel in sync now and had a good day today, more of which later.
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