So we are back in sunny California and this time it should be even sunnier than in November last year. Great thought to live through a true Californian summer at the end of our trip. We are already well tanned beach bombs after the Cook Islands so what should hinder us to have the time of our lives! Yes, we are going on another road trip. All starts with a proper immigration process that as always takes a while. This time we were really lucky and almost entirely jumped the queue. With experience comes speed I guess.
I do not know if you already enjoyed the fun of an officer asking you all these intriguing questions about why you were coming to the US, what your second name was and when you were born. Once you made a confident impression and could remember the right answers, you should have demonstrated that your intentions are good and entering the land of the free is all yours. Almost – only jump the hurdle of customs and you are all set. Customs is for Europeans more of a nerve game on the way back, when the newly bought additional suitcase looks just that bit too big and flashy.
Getting your rental car is really the first adventure. We had to find out how EUROPECAR in the US was actually called and dragged our bags along a long pavement after Dollar was not the right bet and Advantage claimed to be the right one. The laid back atmosphere as you enter the rental station of your choice is always staggering. Likewise are the people standing at the counter trying to fulfil the procedure of getting a car. There is always this awkward lady blocking a counter for hours without saying very much while franticly looking at the phone as if she was finding there the clue to her problems. Eventually she will be leaving swiftly taking her credit card and drivers license back and storming out mumbling to herself. As she marches off even the handling agent is looking puzzled. Then you have the latino, who is on his third credit card trying to pay for the car and swearing that he has a drivers license which he just cannot find at the moment. Last but not least you have the friendly Japanese family understanding really nothing of the slangy American English. Having to initial pages of documentation takes forever and I am sure the agent sells them any possible addition from an extremely useful insurance package, a car upgrade, while probably forgetting they really wanted a GPS. They will come back for that later. Anyway all good entertainment, if that would not mean that the queue in front of you will be handled effectively by the one remaining guy at counter four. You start to look suspiciously at the people waiting and to breathe normal, if no brother or sister of this three seems to be in line in front of you. Typically 3/4 of an hour later you should have a key in your hand and when you turn it freedom is in your foot. So put the pedal to the metal and get on your ride.
Santa Monica was our first stop. I could not wait to see this golden sundowner again and standing on the pier after having biked the sheer endless beach. Somehow it always brings up childhood memories in me of watching Baywatch and I truly feel like one of them. Probably, I was not looking as fit as Mitch Buchanan, but in the right light I should be quite presentable. While pushing our bikes along we had passed the Barbie beach house and other hidden gems along the way.
When you cycle south it is only half an hour and you can see the more esoteric side of the coast line – Venice Beach. Arnie had built his body to this phenomenal size here, which should see him becoming Conan and the Terminator. It would not be California, if a man like him could not become the Governator of this state as well and so he did. We all know Hollywood rules and hopefully not Trump this time as well. Venice beach, with its colourful lifestyle offers you true hippie feelings and the walk in green doctors are happy to prescribe you your legal dose of Weed, while the flower power era ebbs and flows on the walkway.
Staying in Santa Monica comes at a price and only the moments you live there are priceless. The more worldly pleasures of staying somewhere, having a drink or eat out will cost you quite a bit. So pick for your stay one of the major hotel brands or a local grand hotel or a boutique hotel or try somewhere else when you look for reasonable prices. You will find that not all of them are the freshest and some have seen quite a few people come and go. But a good patina shows a real woman, who has lived and has experience. We loved Santa Monica’s vibrant street life with its great mix of musicians and street artists. Thanks for the offer to join in for a dance with the Tango or Salsa dancers, who share their parquet with anyone who has the courage to step up and get this hips moving.
Your flavours darling are great and offer a journey around the world in a few square miles. Yummy and with savouring one of these cocktails before, during and after the best way to dwell on these lovely memories of a busy day.
Some good memories of a road trip…