Sunday, 13 March 2016

From Christchurch to Santa Monica - when you remember how the international date line works

Santa Monica beach 
After a lovely farewell with Becks' parents at the airport we jumped on an internal flight from Christchurch to Auckland. While we were waiting for our international flight to LA we realised we'd forgotten about the international date line when booking our hotel and we didn't have a room for the first night of our stay. Whoops.

I called the hotel, but there was no answer from reception (it was the middle of the night). I checked online and could see that they did have rooms available, but there online booking system wouldn't actually let us reserve a room. As a last resort I sent the hotel asking if we could book for another night and we both got onto plane relatively content we'd have somewhere to sleep once we go to LA.

It was another relatively painless flight on Air NZ (I rate them up their with Emirates as the best airline to fly economy) we arrived bleary eyed in LA at an ungodly hour of the morning, caught a free shuttle across to the public bus terminal and then a $1 bus across to Santa Monica. If you are going to be arriving in the world of Hollywood celebrities you might as well do it in style, right?
The cheeseburger at Pono Burger in Santa Monica
Luckily the hotel could extend our stay for an extra night. After dropping off our bags and having a quick freshen up we headed out to explore Santa Monica. The beach was just like the one I saw on Baywatch as a kid with golden sand and lifeguard huts. In fact it might have been the beach I saw as a kid as the show (I think) was filmed just north of Santa Monica.

After a stroll along the beach we had a drift round the pier. Full of cheap looking tourist attractions it was just waking up for the day.

After the pier we drifted back in land. Before going to America I'd been asking Becks how many burgers she thought she'd be able to eat in a day as I was keen to sample a few of the local offerings while we were there. As it was approaching lunchtime we drifted towards Pono Burger which has come up in my research before we'd left.
I thought it was both very Californian and very American. Californian in the sense they were placing and emphasis on local, organic and farmers market ingredients. American in the sense that the restaurant had and 'experience' and 'Chef Makhani' (who?) wanted to recommend you had your burger was cooked a certain way.

My cheeseburger was decent, if a little sloppy. The sweet potato fries were limp rather than crisp.

After lunch we headed back to the main shopping street in Santa Monica, drifting in and out of a few shops and identifying places to go back to rather than actually buying anything. Post window shopping we returned to the hotel hoping we'd be able to access our room and take a shower after the long flight.

It was tempting to crash early from the jet lag, but after a while resting in our room we decided to force ourselves out for dinner. Dinner was at a cheap and functional diner on Montana Avenue. We had frozen yoghurt on the way home and spied a ice cream shop that we made a silent pact we'd be returning to.

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