Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Heading to Santa Monica
On the Pier
Friday, 25 January to Sunday, 27 January 2013 – Our last day in America!  Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!  It was an early start for us as Justyn and I were driving mum and dad to LAX for their flight to Hawaii and the aim was to be there around 8.30am.  After stripping beds, emptying bins and having a cup of tea, we farewelled W Laster, loaded up the Red Baron (left the others sleeping as they too were flying to Hawaii that day but not until the afternoon) and hit the various highways and freeways at 7.00am as we were not sure what the notorious Los Angeles peak hour traffic might throw our way.  Easily making our drop off time, we said goodbye to mum and dad who were looking forward to a week of rest and relaxation by the beach and drove across the LAX Embassy Suites Hotel.  I had booked a day room here as our flight didn’t depart until 8.30pm and we wanted to have a place to check our packing and shower before the long flight.  Breakfast was included in our accommodation so after checking in, parking and taking our bags to our room, we headed down to the buffet.  Fuelled up, we took Red Baron back out on the road to fuel him up too and headed to Santa Monica Pier which is where we thought we’d spend most of the day.  
Santa Monica Pier - Pacific Park Amusement park
Located only 20 minutes from LAX, we found the pier and parked, and jumped out to explore.  Most of the attractions and stores were closed for the winter but up the end we watched a pod of dolphins enjoying the weather a lot more than us!  Did you know that Santa Monica is the end (or start) of the original Route 66? 
It is also the home of the original Baywatch but we didn’t see Pammy or the Hoff strutting their stuff along the beach.  Halfway back down the pier, the rain decided that it would stick around and we were rather drenched!  Purchasing the obligatory magnet souvenir, we thought perhaps a movie and a spot of shopping might be a better waste of time than any outdoor activities! 
Can you spot Pammy & The Hoff on the beach?
Our first port of call was t
he Promenade at Howard Hughes Center.  There was a cinema but the times of the movies didn’t suit.  I was a bit grumpy as my shoes were completely drenched and I had been planning to wear them on the plane so we did find a department store and found not only new shoes for me, but jeans, shirts and a backpack for Justyn!  On to the next centre!  Villa Marina Marketplace Mall was located in Marina del Ray so we thought that sounded nice so off we went – only to find a mall in major construction…  We could use the gym if we felt so inclined…  Oh well, we stopped into the Starbucks and I almost had to slap Justyn to stop him staring at the lady who was waiting for her coffee who had soooooooooo obviously been through plastic surgery as she was botoxed and pulled and sucked to within an inch of her life – you know that platypus type face!  Hilarious!  Onto the next shopping centre!  Completing our circle, we headed around to Manhattan Beach to the Village centre which turned out to be the same one Kelly and I had wasted time at on our visit in 2004!  With a Macy’s, Sephora, CVS, sporting goods, cinema, food and many other options, we had found the right place to while away the rest of the day.  Again the cinema times worked against us, but we stocked up on items we’d forgotten and decided to have a very late lunch at Islands Burgers. 
With a very kitsch Hawaiian theme, we thought with everyone else flying there today, we would eat there too as our tribute!  After out late lunch, we took Red Baron back to the hotel, repacked our bags, showered and readied ourselves for the trek home. 
The Red Baron!
We farewelled the car, shuttled to the airport, checked in and had a very boring 2 hour wait in the very small terminal for Virgin Australia!  With bulkhead exit rows, we were able to stretch out, I took a head cold pill and promptly slept for most of the flight home!  A special mention to the stewardess in our row who was a delight and looked after us (from what I remember) the whole way.  Due to the time difference, we left the US on the Friday night, completely missed Saturday (Australia Day) and arrived bright and early Sunday morning!
A wonderful, wonderful holiday with great people (thank you again to Kay and Dave, Patty and Keegan, mum and dad, Peter and the kids) who are as just a part of the fabric of our holiday as the places and experiences we relished.
Home!  Bags exploded!

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