Santa Monica Pier

The pier is boarded out with generously wide pine boards, nailed with large steel brads. Over the years the softer wood has worn away leaving a rich pattern of exaggerated grain and shiny, raised nail heads. At night the boards gleam as though polished by the thousands of footfalls passing over for many decades.
The pier is always busy but on this evening, despite the unnaturally chilly wind, there was to be a free outdoor film screening of 500 Days of Summer on a large inflatable screen. Hundreds of keen film-goers were arriving laden with blankets, folding chairs and snacks. The air was thick with the scents of hot food being prepared at various temporary stalls, no cheap burgers and hot dogs but artisan foods from an array of world cuisines. Wandering further along the pier I was surprised to see a trapeze school taking place, only $60 per hour, I was tempted for perhaps 30 seconds before remembering that at my age it was probably not the best use of my time or money. A student was flying, twisting, spinning and finally diving toward the net where she performed a perfect balletic pose, triumphantly bowing in response to her round of applause. All this was taking place in a half darkness, the pier lit only by feeble white lights somehow lending a timelessness to the scene. There was none of the glitzy brashness of modern America that I was expecting and I was not at all disappointed.

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Santa Monica – Los Angeles

Before this visit, I had only passed through LA in transit 20 years ago, couriering a consignment of historical objects and paintings. We had landed at LAX and then transferred the consignment to an enormous truck and set off by road to San Diego. My colleague rode in the truck, whilst I rode in the police escort with two fully armed LAPD officers.

This visit was purely for pleasure, so we took the hop on hop off bus tours to make the most of our short visit to the city and hired a Ford Mustang Convertible to drive up the PCH to Malibu and beyond.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier at night looked more sophisticated than the slightly tawdry funfair atmosphere during the day. The pier’s wooden planks and steps are witness to the millions of footfalls each year, wearing into rich textures and shiny raised nail heads.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Wiltshire boulevard from the top of an old London double-decker bus, with its roof removed, complete with the textured cigarette stubbing out plates on the back of each seat.

Wiltshire Boulevard

LA Eyeworks took pity on the patient punters queuing for their sunglasses sale and lent them all colourful Chinese parasols – what a delightful scene.

LA Eyeworks

LA Architecture

A unique grouping of elements, sunshine, high-powered business, Hollywood glamour and more in LA makes for a rich and energetic architectural style. The former May Department Stores built in 1939, the facade is tiled with gold leaf mosaic, is now part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The birds just love resting on the ledges. (taken from the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour, Red Route.)May Dept Store, LA

Los Angeles Street-scape

A cut through between streets near Rodeo Drive, interesting street-scape of varying levels, railings, steps a water feature and planting, made particularly memorable by the pungent scent of dope.LA Railings

LA street-scape

LA street scene

LA Water feature