Sunday, 19th and Monday 20th June
Summer is upon us and what a wonderful day it was. However I must go back to Boston and our leisurely breakfast at the Hampton Inn followed by our shuttle to Logan Airport. All went smoothly until our departure time changed from 1.15pm to 2.30pm. We were a little concerned but then it changed to 2.45pm. If it kept getting later we would miss our connecting flight from New York to Los Angeles! Finally we took off and we were looking out the window at the amazing coastline south of Boston.
Fortunately we made it to JFK but then had to change from terminal 8 to 7. Would you believe that no one mentioned we had to take the air train when we asked for directions. It took a while to discover that important information. The five hour flight to LA was just about right. I watched Jaws just to see if Martha’s Vineyard looked the same. It was great to see it again with the new knowledge of where it was set.
People complain about airline food but I can tell you I really enjoyed the salmon with mashed potato and beans, accompanied by a sparkling white. We had two seats on their own three rows from the back of the plane but it was actually quite roomy and we had good views of America down below. The mountains below us as we approached Los Angeles were spectacular and we could also see the canyons in the Grand Canyon vicinity.
We were instructed to use a guide at the airport to find our luggage. Only thirty of us were staying in LA as the rest were flying on to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. As we were the last of the plane the guide had gone but good old Qantas found us another one who escorted us an incredibly long distance to a lift where we joined the flight crew. We had a chat with the pilot about the flight and we all agreed a five hours was perfect. Time for a meal, a drink and a movie and you were there.
It was after 9.00 pm by now. We found a taxi and set off in LA traffic. $53 later we arrived at the Channel Road Inn, a 1910 grand house with sea glimpses on the edge of Santa Monica. Our room (the economy one) was on the third floor and though small it had a large bathroom and was nicely decorated.
Next morning we had a scrumptious breakfast. There was not a huge variety but it was all fresh and tasty. We were asked by Heather what we wanted to do for the day so I enquired about the bikes. They are beach bikes with wide handlebars, no gears and back pedal brakes. However they were fine for the flat bike path which runs along the Palisades, Santa Monica And Venice Beach. Getting out early was a good idea as there were few people on the track and it was cooler. We passed the Santa Monica Pier but were content to look from afar. As expected there were a number of homeless people camped in makeshift tents between Santa Monica and Venice. We locked the bikes and walked out on the Venice Pier which gave us good views back along the beach. People were fishing but there were warning signs that certain fish were contaminated and not to eat them.
It was midday when we finally returned the bikes. The Inn is a long walk from downtown so we caught a Big Blue Bus. A mall runs through several blocks so I took pictures for Wollongong Council to give them ideas.
We returned around 5 o’clock, just in time for Happy Hour. There was Chardonnay, cheesecake, meat, dips, biscuits, vegetables. If you really wanted to you could make it dinner!!!! We decided on a nearby Mexican where we tried their margaritas and genuine Mexican food. We thought it should be the real thing in Santa Monica. It was fine until I bit into some hidden chilli and consumed two glasses of iced water afterwards.
Tomorrow we are being picked up by friends of Bob and Nancy around 10 o’clock and dropped off at the airport in the evening. When I post the next blog we will probably be home.