So I save the tour bus and Venice Beach for the last day.
Venice beach in Santa Monica is our normal hang out when we come to LA, just really like the laid-back vibe, kind of reminds me of Brighton. I left it till last because I know my way around pretty well and I wasn’t actually sure how much stuff there be to look at that’s relevant to work, nevertheless it has a really awesome, very LA typical vibe that will be great for photography and videos that I can use in my work.
The bus takes me around lots of other tourist points, some I hadn’t been to before. Then I hit the Viper Rooms & some of our other old haunts on sunset; It’s funny – Whiskey a Gogo still looks the same. I jump off at Rodeo Drive, it’s pretty nice being able to jump on and off, but I don’t anticipate the rules; yes I am back in the real world now, where there are rules and regulations, where you wouldn’t even consider overloading your scooter full of shopping, then riding it the wrong way into the course of oncoming traffic, in fact I don’t even think you could try to do that if you wanted to – sorry I digress – RULES. You can only get on this coloured bus to do this loop, and it doesn’t just go round this loop indefinitely, it finishes, then you have to wait for another bus to start it again – yep annoying!
Anyway you do the loop, I’m looking at the people, the shops, the environment etc. then you’re finished in Venice Beach which is a great way to end the trip, to get lots of shots especially in the skate park and to my surprise a really huge sneakers and stuff store which was not there before and where I get a bunch of great shots of sneakers.
Even though the odds were stacked against me I managed to get the last bus back, I think every bus except for 1 had NO air con, so we’re all melting onto our pleather seats and fanning ourselves aggressively with our tour maps – my god. I am so fucking relieved to get to my stop I levitate out of the doors where I have just enough time to go back to those vintage shops I was so desperate to have a look in.
My favourite was Flamingos, not only were the staff exceptionally lovely, friendly, helpful and just down right adorable, but all sales are done by weight I can’t remember exactly how it was split but I managed to get myself another two vintage Mexican dresses that need some minor sewing fixes (I’ve got a few of these, they’re staples, I wear them all the time and they’re kind of disintegrating because it’s a long time since I’ve been to Mexico) and and it was also stuffed so full of Kimonos, it was absolutely stunning, more than I’ve ever seen in Japan. Honestly the shop – it was just bomb, I recommend it highly, if you like vintage or second hand – this is well worth a rummage. Anyway so as I said I managed to get myself my couple of bits for 12 bucks, 12 bucks for 2 dresses!!
My suitcases were very full I’d already had to buy another, god only knows how much over my luggage was about to be, but hey, it’ll probably be another 8 years before I get to come back!
I finish the night and by getting vegan tacos in this adorable little charity taco place which is only two minutes walk from my house. Then I stomp up to Whole Foods to stock up on as much vegan stuff I could shove into my (already overfull) suitcases to bring back to Vietnam; you can’t buy any of this stuff here. (I should tell you about the uber stoned guys in wholefoods trying to act normal whilst they very badly do their shopping, but that’s a whole other post) Yeah I also found alcoholic Kombucha which made my day, and which is lethal by the way, I don’t recommend it because I had barely been drinking and as this tasted like Kombucha, like a child I drank it like Kombucha and it got me hammered. So anyway, there I am drunk on alcoholic Kombucha trying to stuff everything into my suitcases before getting myself ready for the next day – departure day aghhh..
My Uber driver to the airport, who is fucking awesome by the way, he served in the forces, has travelled all over the world, fought in the Middle East and speaks a billion languages. Well he wants to talk politics, and I’m always a bit concerned about talking about Donald Trump and peoples opinions, plus I am pretty ignorant about politics, but the past week or so I have done a lot of catching up on Trump, and although I feel reasonably ignorant, this guy wanted to talk, and I could just about catch up and he was absolutely fascinating, hilarious in fact, and so had a great banter with him all the way to the airport and I finish my trip on a high before the horrific journey back to Vietnam.
As I dump my suitcases onto the scales at the check in, I gaze into the distance waiting for the outrageous cost of the overweight luggage and instead I am handed my tickets and off I go.
My takeaways for LA are health and fitness – this is huge; and this is physical and metal, the side hustle is really the only way that normal people are able to make a significant amount of money and to survive in such an expensive city. Los Angeles is a lot more forgiving the New York, it’s definitely less expensive, the weather is better, it’s just a lot more laid back, well – Californian I guess. I found the people to be a lot friendlier than I remember them being, and in all honesty this is the best place I have been shopping for work outside of Tokyo and I do not give compliments like that away freely.
Los Angeles – yes! I’ll be back 🙂