After a sleep to attempt to throw off the effects of a long flight, we ventured out on the shuttle to Manhattan Beach, and a taste of the LA beach environment. A visit to a local bar confirmed that there are good, and not so good, beers on offer.
Still, the local market proved a treasure trove of great choice, with the final selection coming down to a recommendation from, of all places, Warners at the Bay, where the salesguy recommended the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
We also confirmed that the proximity to Mexico meant that the local Mexican Restaurant really produced some great food, and we enjoyed the chance to sample some different wares before catching the shuttle back to the hotel and deciding to take a big deep breath and hire a car for the following day to go exploring in LA.
Now for the interesting challenge: driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, from a driving position on the ‘wrong’ side of the car.
Thrifty had a special weekend rate available which made it really affordable to hire a car for the day and, armed with the map given to us by Thrifty, we set off to explore LA.
To the South, we discovered the nice areas around Redondo and marvelled at the eucalypts and pepper trees which were so reminiscent of Australia.
We followed the coast road to the South and across Terminal Island to Long Beach, where distant glimpses of the Queen Mary and the marina greeted us.
From there, we got up close and personal with three major Freeways, some of which had up to 8 lanes in either direction. Funnily enough, it worked out well, as it’s simply a case of ensuring that you know which number route you are hoping to join and that you then keep a good watch on the signs.
We managed to cruise into downtown LA and to have fun doing a lap of Hollywood Boulevarde.
After driving by and checking out all of the buskers and the ‘Wall of Fame” one of these serendipitous road choices saw us eventually navigating lots of little narrow roads and ending up with a view of the famous ‘Hollywood’ sign.
Then, more streets, and more song lyrics: Sunset Boulevarde and ‘the strip,’ out along the Santa Monica Boulevarde and a chance to enjoy the buskers and the beach views as well as having a coffee on the verandah of the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica where we bumped into Kate Carruthers, one of the social media advocates who is behind the barcamps in Sydney.
Then, with the Beach Boys ringing in memory, we saw where surfers may have once been ‘shooting the pier‘ at Malibu, and then turned back down the coast to cruise by Venice Beach and eventually back to the hotel.
All in all, a great way to see some of the main landmarks in LA and, apart from one or two moments of forgetfulness about the appropriate side of the road, it was a great way to see a lot in a short time.
Back to the hotel, room service and packing ready for our flight to Denver and then a trip up the Rockies for the Colorado Technology in Education Conference.