It was Saturday and my colleagues craved beach breeze. We were in Pasadena, a graceful town not too far from the Santa Monica beach.
Although I had my eyes and mind set on visiting the Griffith Observatory, my colleagues had planned to take a cab—first to the beach and then to Hollywood. Calculating the time and effort it’d otherwise take me to get to the Observatory, I caved to peer pressure, spending the afternoon with my colleagues and then taking public transportation to the Observatory. After all, it was closer from Hollywood than it was from where we were staying.
As we walked down the wooden ledge that led to the Santa Monica pier, I wondered if I made a mistake. Rows and rows of cars lined the parking lots and crowds of people swarmed every restaurant. Flashy candy floss, drippy ice creams, and crunchy pop corns jumped out at my eye. Thousands of people bathed on the water while a hundred more sniffed at the fresh seafood platters on their table. Kids of all ages and sizes ran about, liquidating their parents’ credit cards for merry-go-rounds and two-hour crash courses on the trapeze.
None of them were locals. The whole place was more touristy than I’d ever imagined possible.
While I turned my attention to the many souvenir shops along the way, I couldn’t help but nod along to the live music around. Individual string artists demonstrated their prowess as passers took to applauding and Instagramming their appreciation.
Standing inside a souvenir store, I realised Santa Monica was exclusive for visitors of California. It’s a nice ocean spot for those who don’t have beaches at home, and it’s a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon—swimming, eating, musing with live music, and a day of rest and relaxation. It’s not for everyone, however, it sure is ideal for those who can afford to spend the time and money. It’s not for me, I understood, but the experience did show me a lifestyle, which although I’d never adapt, was still interesting to watch.
To end the eventful afternoon, we spent some time overlooking the ocean from the pier. After spotting exotic birds no one knew the names of, taking selfies to preserve a lifetime of memories, and strutting along as if we knew where we were doing, we left Santa Monica for our next spot: Hollywood. But that’s another post altogether.