Los Angeles – Santa Monica
Most of you would not describe California as a culture shock, but coming from deepest Nicaragua it certainly felt like it.  America, the land of the free, full of beautiful people achieving their dreams.  A land of bottomless coffee, toilets that handle toilet paper, smooth roads and signs for everything.  
And quiet….towns here hum with silent engines and polite voices.  Quite a contrast to raucous crazy towns in Nicaragua or Guatemala, where honking the horn is king and the shouting is essential to be heard. 
Carl and Studebaker
We were met at the airport in LA by Carl Roberts, an old friend of Cathals from primary school days.  They hadn’t seen each other for 20 years!  Carl sped us through Los Angeles traffic in his red and white Studebaker car, fantastic wheels, to the home in Santa Monica that he shares with his wife Lauri.  The beers were opened, and the boys spent a long night reminiscing about their days breakdancing in Dun Laoghaire, while listening to tunes from Carl’s band and also Lauri’s dulcid tones!  Totally rock and roll.
Carl’s artwork on display in downtown Santa Monica
We got straight into the Californian lifestyle, and made the most of what Santa Monica has to offer.  Diner breakfasts (with abovementioned endless coffee!), checking out the shops and street entertainers on 3rd St Boulevard, and hanging out at the beach.  We rented beach cruisers for a day to cycle along the boardwalk, which runs for miles past places such as Venice Beach, Muscle Beach and Marina del Rey.  
Venice Beach, LA
Sort of like Clontarf on steroids in the sun!  If you lived here, you couldn’t but be fit and tanned all year round – we saw so many people on different forms of wheels – bikes, rollerblades, skateboards and motorscooters.  Half of them had surfboards tucked under one arm too! 
Scenes from Santa Monica Beach
Lauri & Carl kindly put up with us sleeping in their sitting room for a week while we enjoyed LA and sorted ourselves out for our road trip.  Our recharger count doubled with the purchase of a Macbook, GPS, new camera for Jane and an ITrip for tunes on the road.  And wheels –  our first option had been to buy a car for our roadtrip, but organising insurance proved impossible.  The other issue was bringing the car into Canada.  Finally we got a deal with Avis.  In budget style we booked the lowest grade of car, but on the day we got bumped up 4 levels!  Nice.  
We visited Keith Roberts, Carl’s brother, in “The Valley” – they live in San Fernando valley, north of LA.  Another Californian experience – dinner on the deck and beers in the jacuzzi!  Keith also plays with a band, the Young Dubliners.  Barry family singsongs have not a patch on this gang –   Cathal and I were afraid to open our mouths once the guitars came out! 
 Lauri & Carl
Carl, Jane & Cathal – Main St Santa Monica for breakfast
So, once sorted out and readjusted to the developed world, we were ready to get on the road.   
Los Angeles – Malibu and Hollywood
Before we left, we were hijacked for an extra night by Muireann’s friend Steph Green.  Steph is a film director, who splits her time between LA and Dublin.  We met her and her friend Bridget on a lovely small beach for the afternoon on Monday 9th June.  The day was overcast, but we enjoyed a picnic from Trader Joe’s, and witnessed a wedding on the beach. The bride arrived down in here jeans, and changed into her wedding dress behind a sheet!  Classic.  Steph brought us back to her new pad in Los Feliz, a stone’s throw from Hollywood.  This gave us a chance to spend a bit more time with her, and experience Hollywood!  This we did in a minor way – a stroll on Sunset Boulevard with breakfast at Mel’s diner, and a drive by on Hollywood Boulevard, past the pavement of Stars (crowded with millions of tourists) and past the Hollywood Hills.  And yes we saw the sign. 

2 Responses to “California 1 Los Angeles”

  1. 1 Emilie Farrell June 19, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Wow it looks amazing. Love the commentary. I see CDB is loving his wifebeaters. The stetson is a bit YMCA don’t you think hee hee. Miss you lots. The website is brilliant.
    Em xx

  2. 2 Emilie Farrell June 19, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Wow US looks amazing! Glad to see CDB is getting great wear out of the wife beater. He would want to be careful wearing that stetson it’s a bit YMCA hee hee! The website is brilliant.
    Em x

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