Saving the best for last
We are on the way home to Australia after a five-week round-the-world trip and are stranded at Los Angeles international airport for the day.
After a brief discussion we take the shuttle bus to the transport interchange and wait for a local bus to Santa Monica with smiles on our faces. Why?
First and foremost, the beachside location reminds us of home with fresh air, sunshine and jovial locals at the shops and eateries.
This is a cleansing of the spirit after the big and not-sobig cities of the east coast of the US.
The bus takes us on a tour of the suburbs as it winds its way to the ocean and finally we arrive at the surf and sand. What a difference from the misty and mysterious Chesapeake Bay or cold and bleak Lake Michigan.
On the way to the pier from the bus stop we merge into a group of young women who are all tall and blonde. Who are these California Girls? Are they models or aspiring actors being escorted by a chaperone?
Before we can ask we have arrived at the pier and they have vanished into the crowd. It is the weekend and the pier is filled with families and couples relishing the fine weather, strolling along relaxed and happy.
After enjoying the sights it is time to sample some local food and drink. Where to go? The choices seem limitless so where do the locals eat? Everywhere, it seems, since there is limited seating wherever we look. Finally, the decision is made and we order Lebanese-style kebabs that are tasty but not overfilling.
On to the next quest, which is a tour of the shops along the Promenade. This is not a serious buying expedition as our aim is to look only. Of course, there are a few items that are too good to leave behind and so we will have to wear extra clothing on the flight home.
Our day trip is now almost at an end, but we have one last stop. At the end of the Promenade is a large Barnes and Noble bookstore spread over three floors. What a find these days!
It is the perfect place to escape the crowds and to browse, clearing the mind and energising the soul for our long flight ahead. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: travel@theaustralian. com.au. Columnists will receive a Braven 405 Bluetooth speaker with a lightweight, durable and waterproof casing, 15m wireless range and 24 hours of play time; $129.95. More: braven.com.au.