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Posts Tagged ‘Venice Beach’

Love Knows Not Its Own Depth

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Who would have thought that arriving from Bangkok to Los Angeles would have been culture shock? Being that I’ve lived in the US for the better part of my 40 years, landing on US soil should have been like arriving home, but instead, it was a jolt to my senses, a reminder of why I decided to travel on the other side of the world.  Don’t get me wrong, LA was amazing.  It is a great city, at least the small area that I saw, and it is one that I feel drawn to, actually feel kindred with, yet after spending the last 8 months as a backpacker in Asia, it was…well…different.

[Let me just bring in an aside here, since the whole reason for this hiatus was to be reunited with my boyfriend, even if only for a few days.  I am incredibly blessed.  Most men wouldn’t wait for a woman who was traveling the world for a year, but mine is.  When I left, we had no idea what would happen and no solid commitment, but after a short while the realization of what we do have hit us both.  Matt had shared this Kahlil Gibran quote with me, “And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation,” and it rang true.  Matt Hughes is without question my best friend, my soul mate, and my true love.  It may have taken some time and life lessons to find him, but everything is in the timing, and this timing is just right.  He totally spoiled me, made sure I was in the lap of luxury for five days, and we had an absolutely fantastic time.  Staying just a few blocks from the beach, we spent our days walking and bike riding, and eating lots of amazing food.  Thank you, my love, for being so supportive, so patient, and for being downright awesome.  You fill me with great pride.]

It is interesting that only eight months ago I landed in Mumbai, feeling the shock of being in a foreign land where everything was completely different.  The myriad of languages, the style of dress, the tradition and culture, the public transport, the squat toilets, and that India is dirty, so dirty.  On the other hand, eight months later, Los Angeles felt foreign because everyone did speak my language, because it is really clean, because there is the culture of NFL and Thanksgiving, because I didn’t need to carry toilet paper with me everywhere I went, and because the taxi driver from the airport became very upset when he learned we didn’t know exactly where we were going.   This last point is especially distinct because if it had been anywhere in Asia the driver would have been thrilled with the prospect of an extremely high fare.  I mean, come on guy, how big can Playa del Rey be?  As we learned, it is not very big.

Playa del Rey is located right at the center of The Strand, 22 miles of bike trail right on the beach from Torrance to Santa Monica.  The commercial part of Playa del Rey is basically one road with several restaurants, bars, groceries, and a small strip mall.  We had two fun nights of drinking at Prince O’ Wales and The Harbor Room, and two great dinners at Tower 42.    Two days we headed north, rode through Marina del Rey with all its tall masts, Venice Beach with its funky vibe and street art, and Santa Monica well known for its old time pier.  We spent Thanksgiving on Venice beach, having dinner at The Fig Tree, and another afternoon of microbrews and gourmet burgers.  Another two days we headed south, through Manhattan Beach which is home to beach volleyball, Hermosa Beach and all its surfers, and Redondo Beach with its gaudier pier.  We liked the feel of Hermosa Beach, and spent two afternoons there.  It seemed a bit more down to earth then the pretentious Manhattan Beach right next door, boasting that it is home to many pro athletes.  In Hermosa we enjoyed an authentic Mexican dinner, and an afternoon of NFL and pizza.

All of these beaches have prime coastal real estate, crazy beautiful homes featuring floor to ceiling glass windows, and who can blame them, the view is amazing.  The beaches are wide and roomy, and the dunes are covered in succulents (these are a type of plant, for those who don’t know or have dirty minds), which we hope help to protect the dunes from erosion.  And on a beautiful day, which I think most of them are, there are hundreds of people of all ages out walking the beach, riding bicycles, playing Frisbee or volleyball, surfing, doing yoga, sunning, picnicking, etc…  It was great to see that Angelinos are such active people; that is a part of their culture that I could really resonate with since I love being outdoors, and the climate is so temperate there, that seems possible more days than not.

Los Angeles, I enjoyed my time with you.  I loved the foggy mornings and the cool nights; the long stretch of coast with mountain ranges in every direction; and the way one could be who they are.  Expect to see us again in the future.  For pictures of LA, click here.

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Posted in Food, nature, travel | 6 Comments »