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songs about santa monica

songs about santa monica

Day 91 Annanberg Space for Photography, Sunset Boulevard, The Grove, the Freeway, Santa Monica Pier

The

Annanberg Space for Photography

has an exhibition on climate change around the world. There's photos by Magnum photographers of the effects of natural disasters on coastal cities in Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Africa, and the USA. It's a very

LA

 kind of exhibition, if I can make a sweeping generalisation. I have a better time than expected. It has all the bells and whistles; murals, helpful infographics, tv screens everywhere, a library filled with expensive coffee table photography books that they

beg

 you to look through, touch screens, and comfy booths and director chairs. 

There's a slick movie with perfectly lit photographers and curators talking about the photos. Brad Pitt is mentioned. The loss of wetlands is lamented often. I get a refresher on the Archimedes principle and learn how Dutch architects are applying it to build model floating houses in the Netherlands. Rob gets a free toy Annenberg bus and parking is free with validation. The building and landscape looks like an architect's drawings come to life; fully-realised, tidy, with mature trees. The whole thing is free and it's a slick, glossy operation through and through.

My mother saved Christmas for us by sending through some much needed emergency funds. So we treat ourselves to

In N Out

on Sunset Boulevard for lunch. Honestly, In N Out is a treat for New Zealanders. The girls sitting next to us are having a frank conversation about college acceptance letters and how crazy it is that high school's nearly over.

The last In N Out I had was in San Francisco and I had no idea that it was kinda a

thing

. All I remember is that we ate overlooking a parking lot and my mum posed for pictures with a stranger's parked red Lamborghini. What I

didn't

 remember were the Bible verses printed on the packaging...

The ice is clinking inside our giant In n Out sodas with free refills. (Free refills! Another concept, along with parking validation, that blows our minds). There are

four

 cup holders in the rental. Other than Sunset Boulevard, we're coasting through some pretty iconic streets; Hollywood Boulevard, Beverly Boulevard, Melrose Avenue. The first time we see each sign, we both shout it out aloud, like seeing a long-lost friend across the street. This is all on the way to a

Cheesecake Factory

, you understand. 

The Cheesecake Factory we're after is inside a shopping mall,

The Grove

. Figures that one of our first stop would be a mall; a classic American one too - the kind that makes you think you're in a model town, complete with a train, dancing fountains, and

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 blasting through the whole complex like a truly disturbing Christmas episode of the Truman Show. The cheesecake tho.... And the Sprinkles cupcakes... 

The freeway ride back to Venice Beach towards the Santa Monica Freeway is an experience in itself. I've never seen so many cars speeding along in my life. There are a lot of cars here. Maybe even more than people. I play spot the smog to entertain myself in traffic. It's not very hard, sadly. Rob looks inside everyone's cars to check that they aren't a famous person.

We get back in time for a bike ride along Venice Beach and Santa Monica. The sun is setting right on the horizon and the beach is tinged pinky purple. It is unspeakably beautiful. I sing a really lame

Savage Garden song called "Santa Monica"

the entire time which really

sucks

 because I should have been singing

Everclear's Santa Monica

instead. 

After sunset, we're on the Santa Monica Pier, strolling with the other giddy tourists. I think of Beaches and

Bette Midler singing Under the Boardwalk

Fishermen are at the end of the pier, lines in the water. I tell Rob about a commenter on a news article about the health of Southern California beaches who got dysentery after accidentally swallowing water while swimming at Santa Monica Beach. I hate to think about any fish these guys catch.

The eponymous ferris wheel and rollercoaster is a bright, gaudy spectacle on top of these rickety wooden boards. Remember the bit when

the pier was demolished in Sharknado

?

twisting through the hills off sunset boulevard

twisting through the hills off sunset boulevard

a fifth avenue crawl

a fifth avenue crawl