Friday, August 17, 2012

Day A in LA

I spent the pre-dawn frantically trying to decipher LA's effective but complex public transport system (and succumbing to jet lag) before I headed out the door of the hostel, which I managed to see for the first time in the light of day (below). It is sited next to Santa Monica's oldest building, dating back to the 1800s!! Not particularly old, considering we drove past Stonehenge to get to the airport the day before. Thanks Dad by the way for the lift.

Now, of course, this trip is not purely for pleasure-seeking and I am combining tourism with visiting companies. I therefore spent the morning travelling across greater LA in order to visit a UAS company of particular interest to me. I had no idea how long it would take to travel 16 miles in the rush hour, so allocated 2.5 hours and unsurprisingly arrived over an hour early! Luckily this gave me a chance to call Dad and also buy a smoothie from a gas station which, amusingly, seemed only to play British music. Madness and then Coldplay were on the radio when I was in the shop.

In fact, I have noticed a number of signs that the people of LA (and Santa Monica) take more than a passing interest in our fair isles (they're full of noise, you know), bolstered no doubt by the recent Olympics. Our hostel seems to be in the centre of 'Englishtown' and there are many shops, pubs and restaurants within walking distance with a British theme. This one below (Ye Olde Kings Head Shoppe!) was stocked full of British merchandise including Marmite, Patak's curry sauces, Robinson's fruit juice and some very un-authentic cornish pasties. It was run by Brits who clearly have a lot of pride in it but have also maanged to persuade the residents and tourists that we do, in fact, shop with wicker baskets...

On my way back from the company, where I had a fascinating morning's presentation with two senior engineers, one of whom drove up from San Diego to participate (though I think he was grateful for the excuse to drive), I came back to the Hostel, changed, and explored the local area. Santa Monica s a bustling neighbourhood with lots and lots of shops and, of course, a beach:

The shop in which I spent the most time was...

Apparently Tesla's most active shop in the country, this store seemed exclusively built to promote the ground-breaking electric car and answer the excited questions of its many fans, and I count myself in that number. For under $100k, you can now purchase a fully electric vehicle with over 300 miles range and 7 seats - it's starting to look like a genuinely appealing prospect! They are launching in Europe in 6 months and hopefully the right-hand drive countries 6 months after that.

LA is clearly a good place to launch an electric car, there are lots of Government subsidies available to cut the price down and the residents here have already embraced the 'alternative propulsion' concept. I have never seen so many Prii*  in one place, and virtually every taxi company seems to have a fleet of them. Many of these are the plug-in versions as well.

After getting my watch fixed, I went to Vons (supermarket) to stock up on dinner and shower gel, among other things. In a rush I managed to buy conditioner by accident - it'll still clean me and make me smell OK, right?! I also forgot my Safeway card, and would have missed out on about $5 of savings, but the cashier kindly swiped one for me and I got away with that mistake!

In the evening I met some guys from Guernsey who had just flown in from Australia and are planning to drive to New York over the course of the next month. We decided to go down to the Pier...

...where live music was playing...

...which was great fun and very busy. I stayed there for about an hour before heading back to the hostel to write a blog update and hit the hay.

Today, I'm planning to go up to Beverley Hills and Hollywood, will find a studio tour if I can, then I'm attending an independent film festival later this evening.
*Priuses (shudder)
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1 comment:

  1. Its great to be back in the swing of reading daily "Colin Blogs" - just like Sunshine Village Days.

    They are amusing, well written and the pics provide a good idea of your adventures. Well done and thanks for the effort. Sounds like you've started off really well - and good luck with putting jet lag in it's place.