After our little adventure at L.A. Airport the following day we took it easy and pootled over to the famous Venice Beach for a bit of down time. What a place! Filled with diversity and alternative cultures, everywhere you look there were interesting things to watch and investigate. We walked along the colourful boardwalk packed with cool shops, bars, restaurants and awesome graffiti art. It was great watching the skaters do their tricks in the skate park surrounded by palm trees decorated with graffiti. There were basket ball courts being utilised by a large group of young lads who were really good at getting the ball through the hoop from what seemed like some distance away. We even found an outside gym where Liz practiced on the beam and Oli swung around like a chimpanzee. I love to people watch and this was people watching heaven.
We sat on the beach next to a rainbow striped lifeguard hut, letting go of any remaining stress from the past few weeks. The sand went on for miles and in the far distance you could see Santa Monica Pier with its big wheel. The sounds of the city were joined by the continued crashing noise of large Pacific waves breaking onto the beach. The sea was very cold.
There seemed to be a large homeless community in Venice Beach, they were scattered along the beach front, many of them selling bits and bobs they had made. There were also some incredible artists selling their creations, everyone was intertwined and seemed to be getting along and helping each other out. This created a really nice vibe which felt relaxed and accepting. We all liked Venice Beach, it was the perfect first day.
That evening we stayed with Fourth Element’s US manager, Michele. She is an amazing lady filled with a brilliant energy, we talked work, diving, travel and pretty much everything else inbetween. The kids fell in love with her adorable pooch Kaia and they spent the evening playing. Michele introduced us to her great neighbours, they do a weekly neighbour night where everyone brings over some food and drink to share – I love this idea. Years ago we did similar when we lived in married quarters. The kids Dad was in the Navy and the sense of community was brought together by frequent gatherings around one another’s houses.
Michele made some delicious food and we introduced her to Pimms with strawberries – Californian strawberries are incredible by the way!!
It was lovely meeting Michele in person, after working for FE for a couple of years we had never met until that night. I can’t express my gratitude enough for putting us up and being the most awesome hostess. We completely invaded her beautiful, (it was very beautiful) peaceful home for the night. I also felt like we could have chatted away for eternity, I love meeting people you just get along with and everything is easy.