Los Angeles is another place that famously has next to no rainfall. There are frequent stories about how it struggles to provide water for its residents. I still managed to get back to back rainy days during my stay though. Hollywood is a long way from the beach, almost 16 miles from Santa Monica. Getting there via public transport takes over an hour, even on the express bus. The hostel offer a beach shuttle bus each morning and despite the weather it was still full, although I didn’t see any bikinis nor buckets and spades.
There’s an expat pub in Santa Monica called Ye Olde King’s Head that shows English football. Or EPL soccer as it’s better known over here. I put my head around the door when the Liverpool v Man City game was on and it was heaving. Without sounding like an old man, I couldn’t be bothered staying in such a packed place. Santa Monica doesn’t look anywhere near as nice when it’s raining. This didn’t seem to deter the hardcore exercise enthusiasts who were still running up and down the Santa Monica Stairs this morning. I walked back down the beach intending to go to Venice and see the Abbot Kinney District and the canals. However by the time I’d reached Santa Monica Pier, my coat had become completely saturated so I sought refuge inside the shops on Third Street Promenade.
With the weather seemingly set like this for the day I gave up on any seaside aspirations and headed back inland to the Farmers Market. This area is seriously trend. You’ll find all the latest eating fads with grass-fed burgers served on a roof slate and other trending things that I’m not quite aware of. Nearby is the Petersen Automotive Museum. As I’m not a huge car fan I didn’t go in but the building looked impressive from the outside. Also around there is the La Brea Tar Pits. This is a slightly unusual attraction. Tar was mined here until sometime in late 1800s. After that, the mine pit remained and has filled with water to form a small lake that is still present today. Some sort of movement in the tar cause bubbles to appear in the lake. Also on the site is a museum containing numerous fossils that have been discovered after being preserved in the tar. One of the most interesting aspects about the site is that is right in the middle of one of the busiest parts of LA, surrounded by shops, museums and housing. It’s the sort of place where you could easily walk or drive past without noticing, although the pungent tar smell does give a bit of a clue.
Walking back to the hostel involved passing Pink’s, the famous hotdog vendor. This has gained a reputation as being an almost must-visit place in LA. I’ve been there in the past and the while hotdogs are OK, they’re nothing special. Personally I prefer hotdogs with proper sausages rather than the processed variety that seem to be popular in the US. Tonight the queue was only about half of what it has been whenever I’ve been passed by before, although a fair few people seemed willing to be soaked in the rain. It would have been tempting to shout across the road to them that it’s only a hotdog!
New Year’s Eve tends to be an overrated night out. Everywhere is busy and you get the posers and part-time drinkers out in force. Being in LA is likely to inflate all of these annoyances. I noticed that Joe Rogan, the comedian, was doing a show in Downtown LA tonight so thought about going. However the $40 ticket went up to $60 with the leeching Ticketmaster fees. I don’t mind paying £35 for a ticket but over £50 is getting a bit steep for a comedian you can normally see for less than half of that. I like Joe Rogan but not that much. Quite a few other people at the hostel seemed to also be staying in and having a few beers there. After getting in from wandering around in the rain, I had a shower and a lie down on the bed for a bit. Somehow I managed to doze off. The next thing I knew it was 12.30am and 2017! I felt too groggy to get up so just rolled over and fell asleep again. Happy new year!