Saturday, 4 February 2012

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, California
The Beginning
This was one of the beach which was missing from my list of visited beaches around Los Angeles, US. But I updated the list last weekend [29-Jan-2012]. We were six (pirates) Sanjeev (I call him Burge sir), Prakash, Somesh (they are GP guys), my colleague and good friend Nirmal and our DM Sachin. Amol, my PM gave us a pleasant surprise as he reached hotel in morning and joined the wagon. We had two ships in our fleet, elegant Elantra and classic Camry. We named Sanjeev and Amol respective Captains and other pirates were ready to roll in their attire and gears.

Though we named Amol as Captain, we had to add him to official rider list. We headed to Enterprise car rental and task was accomplished. Sanjeev and his crew joined us there and thus started - The Journey.

The Journey - Lost on Freeway
Did I mention that though we had decided to visit Santa Monica, Burge sir changed the plan at eleventh hour and we were out to hit Venice beach instead. The written directions which we copied from Google maps for Santa Monica were of no use now. Camry was following Elantra through normal traffic on I405N. The crew was excited and was humming to 102.7. Then the famous O Henry twist was there. Elantra's captain misread the directions and overlooked the exit for Venice beach and headed further. Going a bit more we realised that OMG! We were lost! We took our cars to sideway of the freeway and started guessing our whereabouts. We hashed out and confirmed the route ahead. The written directions came handy and it was decided to visit Santa Monica then. The voyage resumed, Camry following Elantra again. We reached near to the beach and saw the famous gate (oh! how could I miss the snap!). Next challenge was to find a suitable - Parking.

We traversed through bunch of parking lots but in vain. The crew was looking for any empty space on either side of road but there was no success. But lady luck was riding our side and finally we found a parking lot just in front of beach (it meant that we didn't had to walk much, lazy us). The parking fee was $8 only (read that as Rs. 400/- and that will leave with your mouth open). The ships were parked and crew was prepared to hit - The Beach

The Beach
The first word from my mouth was like WOW! That was awesome man! The sun was on the pole, breeze was cooled by sea. The beach was happening place with crowd engaged in different activities like swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, sun bath, playing Frisbee, running and so on and so forth. Kids were busy with sand castles and creating their own out of world monuments. It was like everybody had something to do (except me or I can't write what I did?). How can I forget to mention about the coast guards.... (how many of you started thinking of 'Baywatch' ;), moving across the coast, whistling and warning people not to go too far for their own safety. We stayed on beach for some time and then headed to crowded and astounding - The Pier.

The Pier (or piers? as there are in fact two adjacent piers)
The structure was massive and it should be as it was supporting an amusement park known as Pacific Park. It had a roller coaster and jumbo Ferris wheel and bunch of easy rides for kids. We lost Burge sir was when we parted for some burger shop and he for coffee. The search mission was undertaken but none of us could reach to Burge sir. However, in the end all was well as Burge sir tracked us down. The crew members recharged themselves with burgers while Burge sir had his favourite Starbucks coffee. We strolled and passed by several interesting spots like live street performer dancing to MJ tunes, a lady doing tribal dance, man playing guitar, psychic readers and few finger artist making paintings without using brush. At the end of pier was heaven for anglers. The serious ones were having all the fishing gear with them and were having wonderful time. There were tons of different places to eat, from fancy sit down places to more family friendly fair. I was wondering how scenic the evening would look from Pier, watching sun set at the horizon would be an eternal feeling.

The End
After spending such a quality time, the pirates was tired and boarded their respective ships. The captains drove back safely to the motel leaving us with mesmerizing and unforgettable day.
So what I did really? 
Those who really wanted to know what I did, can click here and find out themselves.

Interesting Facts about Santa Monica
I have collected some facts which readers may find interesting.
- Santa Monica is also popularly known as SaMo.
- The Pier is more than 100 years of age.
- It is estimated that Pier has more than 3 million visitors a year
- The Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome (carousel) is a National Historic Landmark. It sits on the Santa   Monica Pier, which was built in 1909.
- Santa Monica hosts the annual Santa Monica Film Festival.
- Santa Monica (city and pier) is shown in many popular movies and also in video games.

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