Smoke and smog
Santa Monica Travel Blog› entry 23 of 23 › view all entries
After all the walking around San Franciso had worn me out I had the opposite on the bus to Los Angeles. It seemed to be a whole lot of sitting around and watching the world go by.
Some drama was had on the way though. The stretch between San Fran and LA was subject to huge fires and we were stopped at one point because the whole landscape was blocked by smoke. Fortunately our wait wasn't long but the driver told us he'd been unlucky a few times and couldn't get the bus through.
I also had my nice shiny new discman to play with. I'd bought one in San Fran and had a handful of discs that I was eagre to hear. Pretty pleased again with my choices - more winners I'd never heard before.
I stayed in Santa Monica Youth Hostel. It was large and noisy and everyone was constantly coming and going from the place. The Desk Jockey was up and down all the time letting guests in and out of the door between reception and the hostel.
I spent some lazy days wandering around the area. Mostly up and down the beach, and in around the town center. I also took a trip into the city for a look around some of the stores but by now my money was dwindling to below the survival line so I had to pick and choose carefully about anything I thought I might want to take home.
The highlight was the Pier for me. One of the earliest movies I recall was "The Sting" and of course the carousel on the pier was an iconic thing.
I explored the pier in the day but the best time was when I went down in the evening and had a few beers in front of a band in the pub. It was a great night.
I also wandered along the beachfront eating pizza by the slice and loving the familiarity of the scenes.
The Assassin, starring Brigit Fonda rang bells along here, and the Jazz Singer with Neil Diamond. So many scenes from so many movies, which for me as a movie fan, was great fun!
Then of course there were the ones that were being shot.
Every way I seemed to look there was a film crew shooting something. Guys running around with guns. Trolleys rolling cameras alongside them.
It all amazed me!
Naturally I had to get the obligatory gifts for the family and friends. What better thing to get for my motor cycle cop brother, who enjoyed smoking, than the Zippo Lighter emblazoned with the logo of CHiPs -Californian Highway Patrol.
For the childipuffs I picked up 1/2 dozen Disney t-shirts but I'm sure none of them ended up being the right size. Kids eh - who knows how big (or little) those things are!
By the time I had got to the final day I was out of money. I had saved enough for two meals from MacDonalds. That's one thing about that place, you can survive by bugeting to their menu because you know what you're going to get and you know how much it'll cost you.
My three months was up, my hair was in desperate need of cutting, and I was outta cash. I guess that meant it was time to go home!
I flew from LAX to Auckland and got a bus into Auckland city. I then got one that would take me to Tokoroa.
I arrived at Tokoroa about 6.30pm and started the walk up the hill to my parents shop. It was about a 3 kilometer walk which wasn't too bad but the pack on my back was full to bursting and weighed a ton!
When I entered the shop my Old Man said g'day and offered me a seat out back. Itwasn't too long to closing and I'd be able to ride home with him.
Naturally my Mother was way more excited. She asked why I hadn't requested to be collected from either the airport or the bus stop and my answer was simple, I was a seasoned traveler now. Been twice around the world, I think I could get myself home from my own bus stop right?!
2 weeks later I was living and working in Hamilton.