Santa Monica-by-the-Sea - Part 3 of 10

Our first 'tourist trip' was out to Santa Monica with its famous beach ...and when you get there it looks very familiar (as indeed does a lot of the Los Angeles area). There is no doubt that this is the result of watching too many movies over the years, but it is easy to see how much the camera can edit out, or nowadays how CGI can change a scene. Caught sight during our journey across the LA basin of the 'Hollywood' sign, something which heightened the unreality of our whole experience thus far. This is a whole nother country, dude!

Nowhere have I seen photographs of romantic sun-soaked Santa Monica where it shows the gigantic parking lot on the beach maybe I just mis-saw it. But it was a thrill nonetheless to be on the Pacific coast gazing on that vast expanse of water for the first time ...and the other unusual sights:
- The near-naked painted man who climbed up a ladder while brandishing a snake in each hand.
- The pier stretching out into the Pacific, just like one of the three at Blackpool. Arguably the one at Santa Monica has been filmed more often though.
- The fashion van on the promenade which contrasted sharply with all the Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Versace, etc, etc stores in the town (sorry, City) centre. 
Here in LA land, every small corner is called 'The City of Wherever'. I suppose it is fair enough when LA itself boasts six and a half million residents; there is room for cities within the city.

Santa Monica - like all of Los Angeles (and I suspect like all America) - is a temple to commerce and commercialism; following the American dream, and Los Angeles has making dreams a cinematic reality woven into every sinew of its vastness. But living alongside the fantasy - maybe even a byproduct of it is an astonishing degree of poverty seen and encountered on the streets of the richest nation on Earth.
I do not want to be critical or holier-than-thou, but I find it difficult to understand why this happens. Maybe at home we are better at keeping this sort of thing out of plain sight. I know that the amount of importuning we experienced on the streets of Santa Monica is not allowed in the UK. It is said that some of these 'beggars' have a better take-home pay than many of the gainfully employed. And they are bold too. The Brother-in-law gave a dollar or two to a 'Vietnam veteran' in spotless fatigues (in fact very well turned out altogether) because of his sharp humour - what in Glasgow would be called 'The Patter'. Most mendicants are just rude, some offensive and belligerent.

Not exactly sure what this was about - but it was so eccentric a thing I had to collect the image.

However, it was in Santa Monica that I discovered a strange effect of a stay in the US of A. It is some sort of tractor beam (as it is named in 'Star Trek'), that is placed at each entrance of every shopping mall which drags you inexorably, or inex-horribly into its gaping maw. One can only look on in despair as the dollars are clinically and smilingly removed from your person. Maybe the place should be called Santa Money, Ca. Never mind, we shall be able to compare California with Nevada. We are off to Las Vegas next.

More 'L.A. Story' soon ...


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