We’re here in California now and I feel it’s imperative to write a blog about our first few days in Venice Beach right now as our next chapter is about to kick off. I need to channel the chilled vibe of hanging out with my uncle Mark and his wonderful partner Stacy in Venice before we get swept up in the amazing madness of Newport and Adventures With Kosta and Mary.
Mark and Stacy picked us up from LAX where we’d queued for over an hour to get through Immigration only to have the loveliest immigration officer on the planet process us through. No joke, this guy was so friendly and welcoming to America. This was a theme that we continually laughed at over the next few days- Americans are ridiculously nice.
Anywho, Mark and Stacy’s was the best introduction to long term travel; the perfect decompression. We chilled. Their house is so beautiful and welcoming, we were so at home. We had three days there which all started the way that I know Days With Uncle Mark to start- with a surf. When I say ‘surf’ I mean he surfs and we walk along the beach. Then we go for breakfast. That’s how it goes. And I can’t think of a better way to start the day. We ate delicious dinners; Stacy took us out to Topanga Canyon (part of LA which is still not very built up. Filled with hippies and artists and pretty much every big artist in the 60s and 70s from Jim Hendrix to Janis Joplin to The Eagles hung out there); we walked along Venice Boardwalk (why the fuck that place exists baffles me- it’s Nimbin meets Camden, California style. And that’s not good); we researched our future travels through South America (Stacy works for National Geographic in artisan development with a particular focus in Ecuador and Peru so she’s been absolutely invaluable in planning); worshipped at the hipster altar of Abbot Kinney Blvd (a street in Venice which was voted The Most Hipster Street in America and is full of shops and bars and cafes and is pretty rad); and generally just enjoyed spending time with Mark and Stacy.
I won’t ramble much longer but I really feel the need to paint a picture of how hilariously friendly the yanks have been. In Aus or the UK you can share a footpath with someone without acknowledging them, in fact it’s encouraged. Here you say ‘Hello!’ at the very least. The surfers in Santa Monica have a bit of a community where they all know each other and park at the same spot each morning. Yesterday someone asked Mark how the surf was and he said it was ok but not great. This American who reminded me of Guy Smiley from Sesame Street answered with ‘but the sun is out and everything else is GREAT so what more could we want?!’. How optimistic?! And Stacy was out the front of the house and a couple driving past wound down the window to tell her the house was beautiful! You wouldn’t get that in Australia…
We’ve been so well looked after by Mark and Stacy we couldnt have asked for a better start the trip. They were lovely enough today to drive us down to Newport to Mary and Kosta’s to start the nect chapter… We’ve had a fab evening catching up with them and the whole Newport Crew I met at Mary and
Kosta’s wedding last year. We’re off to Vegas tomorrow and I’m so knackered, I have to get to sleep. Probably a good thing or I could’ve gone on a lot longer!
It’s the opening line from LA Woman by The Doors- one of the LA based songs I’ve had in my head.