Sunday, March 18, 2012

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, a city, a pier and a beach.

Santa Monica is a city kissed by a section of the Pacific Ocean coastline. People flock there on weekends for a host of beach activities, swimming, surfing, volleyball, group exercise, and what not. There’s good vibes there all the time.

Santa Monica is also a pier with famous landmarks: a 1916 carousel and ferris wheel. Hook and line fishers line the edge of its timber platforms while tourists stroll, stopping once in a while to check on restaurants and novelty shops.

Santa Monica is also a beach. The sea beckons swimmers, but at times it’s cold, cold enough to steer you away from the water. Only surfers defy the cold by donning on thick wetsuits, and warmed by the promise of a splash of stokes.

When I entered the parking lot, I noticed two things: The cars were parked slanted in my direction, and two men looked my way with a funny look on their faces. I was in the wrong entrance! Back at home, I noticed a ticket wedged between the wiper and windshield – a ticket citation. It stated that I did not pay the attendant, but I did. I sent a contest letter right away with a very brief explanation of my visit, along with the ticket, and payment receipt enclosed.

There was nothing unusual about my brief stay to raise suspicion, much less be issued a ticket citation. But I reckon this to be a way of reminding people to be always vigilant, and to know their rights, and to exercise it when needed. In this paperless age, this practice keeps the postal office alive. To facilitate postal mails, the mailbox has a red flag on one side you can raise to alert the postman. If proper postage is placed on the envelope, the addressee will get it.

The experience has taught me three things: 1. to always reply soonest if the government says so, 2. to always observe the way cars are parked, and 3. to always keep tickets and receipts. But this is minor compared to the many thousand things Santa Monica can offer to delight visitors like you and me, so back to the wonders of Santa Monica.

I was closely watching a motley group doing yoga, squatting on the sand with eyes closed. There were other groups scattered in the vast open brown sandy shores. After the session, the trainer beckoned me to come. I approached. "Join us next time. Are you a trainer?" He asked. "No." I replied, delighted at the compliment. He summed up briefly the regular activities sanctioned by the city to rev up visitor traffic. It’s such a welcoming place and absolutely worth the visit. "Come back soon." He said. "Yes!" I replied, "Absolutely!"
guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru guru

An alternative way to travel or part of your travel itinerary is joining a workcamp from a few days to three weeks depending on the project duration and description. It’s a fun way to know a place and it’s people (anywhere in the world) and it doesn’t cost much. For workcamps in the USA contact VFP. Book a cheap flight to Los Angeles, California and remember to always travel light.

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