Thursday, August 23, 2012

Venice Beach and painful sunburn

Yes, I did it again. I got a pretty bad sunburn all over my shoulders, back and front. We had a lazy day on Venice Beach today. It started with breakfast with ocean view and then miles of walks along the coast. At some stage I mentioned that putting some sunscreen, that we didn't have, wouldn't be a bad idea at all. We then decided that we already have enough tan not to get burned ... bad assumption. Ziggy had a T-shirt on and only his neck is giving him some trouble.

The contrast that we've noticed everywhere is also clearly visible here. Beautiful very wide beach with palm trees and restaurants along and as soon as you turn your back towards the ocean you get this to see:

Thousands of addicted and homeless people are chilling under the palm trees all day long. It is pretty challenging to take a picture without having them on it.
We were very impressed with the skills of little kids on skateboards. You can sit there and watch them for hours. This is what many tourists do in fact.

We had enough of the beach and ocean around noon and moved inland for lunch and the rest of the day. Ziggy is now looking for places to go and visit tomorrow. We better stay out of the sun too ...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

where all the tourists go

Today we transformed to the typical tourist class and visited few of the number one typical tourist destinations in Los Angeles. Not only the places were sort of interesting but also watching other tourists and their activities. We started with Rodeo Drive.

The street itself is really nothing special just so much different from the surroundings. It is clean, well landscaped and incorporates high end fashion stores. The diversity in this city amazes us the most. You have the most fancy place in the world and just two blocks away dirty streets with all kinds of individuals under influence wandering around where you just lock your car from the inside while stopping at traffic lights.

breakfast to Tiffany's?

You can also clearly distinguish tourists from the insiders. The first group takes pictures with luxury fashion or watches displayed in the shop windows, the other one wears the fashion, watches and jewelry and has a "valued customer" card in the Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery joint or similar business. It is really amazing how hard people try to "stay young" forever.


The biggest disappointment though was the Hollywood Walk of Fame or, for me, the stars on the sidewalk. Dirty as it can be, in a class C neighborhood, filled up with individuals offering you "celebrities home rides" and people under influence of anything available. Honestly, if I was a celebrity having my own star down there I would feel kind of awkward seeing all these people virtually spitting and ...... on it. Here is the only picture we took over there (the only one worth taking):

the true Stars with capitol "S"

We drove down the Pacific Highway along the ocean and watched more luxury real estate sort of mixed up with a very simple accommodation. We will explore more of the coastline tomorrow. Venice Beach is on schedule.
Yesterday's dinner was great and we ended up in the same joint having pasta and ravioli today. Great way to chill out before a good night sleep after a long day in the big, big smoke... It makes country people really tired.

Yosemite National Park and the very big smoke LA

We left Bay Area and drove the winding roads all the way to Yosemite. It's not a long drive distance-wise but takes quite a few hours because of all the curves and speed limits. It was worth the drive though. I have been there before but it was the first time for Ziggy and he was stunned by the views.

posing at Glacier Point

more posing

the drop behind is 3000 ft!

we couldn't get enough of the views

you can stand there for hours and just stare

holding on to a tree just in case
We took the drive Tom suggested and stopped where he told us was worth to do so. He was right. The day was long enough and we checked in the hotel exactly at sunset.

how cute is that?

We also met this guy on the road. He couldn't care less about us being there and I managed to get a few shots of this beautiful coyote.


The last stop was to see the giant Sequoia's at Mariposa Grove. They are the oldest living things on the planet. Grizzly Giant is the oldest tree in this grove and estimated to be about 1900-2400 years old. The trees also belong to the largest trees on earth and are over 65m tall with a base diameter of over 9 meters!

big but not the biggest one

my friend - the tree

Ziggy and his spiritual experience with something really old ;-)

a small example in front of our hotel

We stayed over night just outside the borders of the park and headed for LA the next morning. We arrived in the big city pretty late so all there was left for the day was a dinner, nice drink and it was already bed time. But not before we checked out the massage chairs in the hotel. They are pretty brutal, I have to tell ya!

a drink, open fire and planes taking off from LAX

Deck 33 offers a great outdoor dining


he seems to be enjoying the brutal massage

OK, now it's time to explore Los Angeles!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monterey Aquarium

We are in Yosemite National Park now. We spent the whole day yesterday with Marcin, Aga and Hania. They took us for a great daily trip including the Monterey Aquarium and a drive along the coast. We finished up with a nice dinner and awesome Mojitos.

We had lunch at Bubba Gump where Ziggy posed for pictures and was trying to make some money ;-)

We just loved the idea of Valet Parking. Compact cars only though ...


tonight's dinner?

real fish on top of the picture

amazing jellyfish

more jellyfish

feeding wild life with Hania