Saturday, 17 May 2014

Smooth Sailing in LA

On my trip to LA last week I wasn't too keen on doing much until I seen that my friend from training Millie had been put onto the trip. I hoped one of the other chaps I know, Craig, would be up for doing something exciting. It's always exciting doing new things with fun people. We all accepted an invite from the flight crew to go sailing and it was amazing. At one particular moment, we sat at the front of the boat with a corona in hand and took a deep breath of salty air. It was the most satisfying breath I have ever took as we looked at each other and discussed the beauty of getting paid to do this! Here's a few pictures of sailing from Long Beach! 
The Marina
Cute little stores selling everything from candy apples to American-Indian style clothing
I'm on a boat!
Corona anyone?
Now I understand how Seal Beach gets it's name!
Millie and I sandwiched between two gents
The view from my seat on deck
Captain Samba reporting for duty
After stopping for some lunch at a nearby marina - where we ate and appreciated the new cocktail menu from a stove round-table - we decided to head back to Long Beach. The event of our return journey arose when the captain of the ship lost his hat to the winds and we followed it around the sea and salvaged it to Pharrell "Happy" playing in the background. This won't be a trip I forget about quickly!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Down in Sandbanks

Sanja this means one thing - ROAD TRIP!
A few weeks ago Jamie, Amar and I went to visit my friend Jonathon and his partner Kieran in their humble abode on the seafront at Sandbanks in Poole. It's taken me ages to get the photos from Jamie so I'm finally getting around to writing about it! Jonny moved to Bournemouth before Amar and I moved to London and this is the first time we managed to go south to see him. When we arrived we went a walk on the seafront and did a bit of exploring. I was amazed to see how many beach huts there were on the promenade. Poole is the perfect place for a good ol' fashioned English summer holiday! The weather on the day was lovely but being by the seafront, the wind sent a few goosebumps my way.

Sanja and Jonny

"And then she said #GAYSOFA!"
Mr Handsome Chops

Can you tell this wind is getting on my last nerve?
Ok, so Jamie's outta here?

Jamie and his pal Cliff
Amar wore platform trainers which rendered her incapable of walking on sand so Jonny took to his gentleman duties.
Old Friends
"She's actually a good weight to improve my squats"
We took a stroll on a nature path on the hill behind the beach and it has great views of the coastline. I think this route must be particularly popular with kids because we had an absolute rave on the wooden dolphins and later the huge wooden ants hiding in the woodland behind - so "Honey, I shrunk the kids". There were also little nature quizzes and facts on plaques along the way. Dora the Explorer's dream day out. 

No caption required

After returning to Casa de Jonno, I insisted on having a nap but fell foul to the drinking mentality of the company. We had quite a few drinks and on Keiran coming home from work, we decided to head to the local beachfront hotel for a drink. This venture wound down pretty quickly because after another wine we were all a bit too drunk to continue in public.
We elected to continue drinking back in the house (where we could fall asleep on the bathroom floor).

Kieran deciding on wine
Sanja texting SVS - LOL
Hey Y'all! Aren't we just a picture of a successful 13 year friendship!? 

Monday, 5 May 2014

LA: The Express Tour

When I found out I would be visiting LA for the first time I thought it would be great to take my friend Rebecca because she lived there for a while and would be able to give me the tour. I never thought this would actually materialise but when she told me she was joining I was over the moon.

The first night we arrived we quickly showered and met some colleagues for a drink by the pool. This resulted in us going out with a couple of the guys to search for a karaoke place that ended up being closed. We settled for a cocktail across the road and headed home.
The Long Beach Sunset

The following day (3 hours later) we were woken up by our mischievous body clocks and decided to order breakfast to the room far earlier than we planned on eating. After demolishing a breakfast fit for a king we decided to peel ourselves out of bed and leave early.
Breakfast by the window

We stopped by AVIS to rent a car and were offered a Prius - which we thought was ok value for money - so hopped in and started our tour. Rebecca showed me where she used to live in Hollywood, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive and other landmarks. We ventured up into the Hollywood Hills, weaving in and out of the narrow streets framed by the cutest houses. We made it to the best spot for pictures of the sign and after taking a few we attracted company. A group of asian tourists asked to have their picture taken with us and before we knew it, we were in their holiday photo shoot.
The Cute Rebecca
The Naughty Rebecca 
Cover Girls
Capturing a beautiful new friendship.

Next stop: Beverly Hills. We took a little drive around singing that Weezer song and stopped for our next photo op at the Beverly Hills sign.
Rebecca using her promo skills to show our top of the range Prius.

Santa Monica Pier was our next port of call. We picked up a large diet coke from MacDonalds drive-thru and listened to Rebecca’s throwback 90s playlist before arrival and parked at the pier. We decided to walk to Venice beach and passed an outdoor gym-like park. Rebecca needed a sun lotion application because she can’t expose her skin to sun at the moment so I did her back for her. At this point we were approached by a guy I can only describe as the doppelgänger of Joey from “10 Things I Hate About You” and his pal, Blake. They expressed how hot they found the lotion spreading and asked us to join them for drinks at a bar in Venice beach. We’ll totally think about it… oh god, we’re pretty speechless. Our lives felt like a teen movie for about 5 minutes, until we decided not to go.
Santa Monica Beach
It's easy to see how we attracted the attention of the teen movie Lotharios. 
Dude, we captured a picture of those guys without even knowing it!
The Gym Park
I was inspired by the "leaning on a tree" pose as demonstrated by someone's mum.

Ok, back to Venice beach. Talk about overwhelming. The strip of cool beachside shops with all the laid back clothing you could ever want was broken up with pubs and restaurants. The artists and street performers lining the promenade were interactive; probably a bit too interactive for my liking. Rebecca thought it was really funny that I was so bothered by the amount of people who tried to spark up crap conversation. At one point I actually willed a couple of charity guys to stop trying to pitch to us and go away, pleaseeeeeee. Pleaseeeeeee.

We walked all the way back to Santa Monica Pier and searched for somewhere to eat. We spotted The Albright, a crab place. We didn’t have crab; we had nachos and salad (accompanied by an ice cold beer).
The Albright
Rebecca giving the crab their last rights.
PAHAHAHA... a half shell of Fanny Bay?

Before leaving Santa Monica pier we enjoyed an hour or so on the beach as the sun began to set. We messed about with the camera as onlookers questioned our sanity. The sea was beautiful but we couldn't stay too long because we were knackered and had evening plans. 
Santa Monica Pier 
Dolphin smoochin'
Santa Monica Beach
Doing my Baywatch pose.
Rebecca went for the Hollister pose.
Hey Kylie! Hey! 

Girl, that was one fine cartwheel!
The evening winds down as this couple get down.
Gotta go potty?
Okay, let's go potty!
We slid back into the Prius and back to the hotel for a shower and a change then sped off to Hollywood to meet Rebecca’s friends who live there. We went to the cutest little Piano Bar for a quick drink before heading to a place called Kitchen24 for some mac’n’cheese. It was mouth-wateringly fantastic.
That night we ended up with roughly 3/4 hours sleep because we woke up so early once again. We had a new ride to pick up. Rebecca did some phone call research and we decided we could get something cheaper than we paid the previous day from Hertz. We ended up choosing a car we weren’t familiar with and were shocked when we pressed the unlock button on the key in the car lot. We managed to rent an actual pimp car.

We took this one to Manhattan beach first of all. We found a little place for a feed that Rebecca recommended and both ordered salad covered in lashings of dressing. We played about the beach briefly then got back into the car and drove the Pacific Coast Freeway so I could see how great that was. We stopped at Huntington Beach and got out for a peek before heading back to the hotel to get ready for our flight home. 

Manhattan Beach
Heading for a hideout in the shade.
Oooh, pretty waves!
Under the boardwalk
I'm sending this into the ad people for the Dodge Charger. 

Our trip was so short but so sweet! I now know how I want to spend my three LA trips this month. I just have to convince someone to do things with me, or kidnap Rebecca and stuff her into my case. Hmmm...