Day 10 of Trip to Land of Make Believe

Today we took it relatively easy in that we first watch Germany thump Argentina before going out to have breakfast. This was good news for Stephen and I as we both support Germany. We then ambled down Santa Monica Blv to find a place for breakfast. The waitress was wearing a German flag in her hair and so we knew where her allegiance lay. In LA I don’t think we have yet been served by anyone with an American accent and today was no different. The waiter seemed to be from Italy or some such closely related country. Of course we had a breakfast that could have fed the 5000 thousand from our plates. Stephen (who usually has a ferocious appetite) could even finish the scrambled eggs. Either they use 2-3 Ostrich eggs in their scramble or a whole box of chicken eggs. Helen, Michael & Chloe had French Toast – 4 extra large pieces with a cup of fruit (when you think cup think usual standard size cereal bowl and when you think slice think twice the width of a normal slice).

After breakfast we ambled back down Santa Monica Blv and passed a drug store called Rite Aid. In America they do everything big (as you should know by now) and so when you think drug store you have no idea what this place looks like. What you need to imagine is a Clicks with a pharmacy and medicine area about 3-4 times the size and then add in a liquor store and a small convenience store as well. That would give a better idea. Yes – I am not drunk – I did say liquor store. The boys were highly amused that they were selling Vodka right alongside headache tablets. You can also get a lot of medicine over the counter (or actually on the shelf) in American that you can’t get in SA unless you have a prescription. For instance, anti-histamine and allergy tablets can simply be purchased off the shelf along with drugs such as Ponstel which are scheduled in SA. Being such hypochondriacs (no wait – that’s Paul that is always sick), we did take the opportunity to stock up. Helen found a whole lot of useful travelling miniatures. The best find was liquid band-aids – you just squeeze it onto the cut and it forms a plaster supposedly. No one has cut themselves yet so we will have to wait to see how it works.

We came back to watch Spain v Paraguay and then shortly after that Helen was so exhausted from the breakfast (it is hard work to get through all that food in one sitting) and the extensive time spent in the Rite Aid store that she needed to take a nap. Mid afternoon we decided to head down to Santa Monica Pier which, not surprising, is on the Pacific Ocean. We were told it was a quaint place with a lovely Promenade and 300 stores and restaurants. What they never told us was that 1 million of the 15 million people living in LA were also there this afternoon. The Pier was built right into the Ocean so after walking all the way to the end we can now say that is the furtherest point West we have ever been as a family. Santa Monica is right at the end of the famous Route 66 and in fact the Pier is the end of it (of course someone was selling end of Route 66 memorabilia). Helen said about half way down the Pier “I don’t want to see ungrateful but this is really tacky”. Imagine Hout Bay Pier with about 200 000 people on it on a Sunday afternoon, with stalls all the way down it and a Ferris Wheel, roller coaster etc also on it and that would give you about half the picture. We walked to the end and walked back again bypassing about 400 000 people on the way.

We found the ‘Third Street Promenade’ which is a pedestrian shopping zone and wander down that. Some nice stores including a Quicksilver store which had a 50% off already marked down prices of 50% (i.e. 75% off). Michael (the brand conscious son) took full advantage of that and bought himself two pairs of boardshorts of a mere $15 each. He was delighted as he knows how expensive they are in SA (usually around R400 each). Now I just need to get him to repay me! In the middle of the pedestrian zone were numerous street performers including musicians, magicians, belly dancers and the mandatory psychics. I was disappointed to note that one of them was packing up as she should have sensed that I was coming over to have my palm read or my cards read. She obviously was a fake that she didn’t know I was coming her way.

We had dinner in the zone and then headed back to the hotel. The taxi trip cost us half of the taxi trip back – how does that work? (We do know enough to know that the guy did take us back to our hotel on a direct route.) The boys and I figured out that the fare per mile was much higher on the Santa Monica taxi meters than the one from Beverly Hills. Go figure – I thought Beverly Hills was meant to be expensive. That reminds me, on our walk back from breakfast this morning we walked past the Beverly Hills car rental company. What kind of cars do you think they rent out – why of course this is Beverly Hills – Bentley, Porsche, Ferrari’s etc. No Merc or BMW to be seen – those would only be driven by the maids here in Beverly Hills.

The rest of the evening was spent watching TV and seeing which of the latest running shows take our fancy so that we can buy the DVD series. We watched on called ‘The Forgotten’ which immediately gripped both Helen and I so I think that will be one worth getting. We also had to pack up and despite Helen doing so in St Louis she didn’t make any move to help in this regard this time so yours truly got to do the packing. We are all packed and ready to go to San Francisco tomorrow for July 4. Fireworks of the Bay should hopefully be on the cards tomorrow night!

That’s all folks; Hasta Lavista Baby!

P, C, H, M, S

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