So part of the admin yesterday was to try and book a couple of nights down at Venice Beach if we weren´t able to get a host to offer us their couch… so finally booking a hostel we set off this morning on the bus, it leaves 2 blocks away, takes an hour and a half and costs less than a pound!
We arrive at said booked hostel mid-morning and as is usual we are way too early for check-in, it´s not till 3pm. So we arrange to leave our bags there in the meantime so we can go and enjoy the day. Trouble is we can´t help noticing how smokey the whole place is. We know UK is now spoiled as far as non-smokers are concerned with everywhere being smoke-free, but that has also been our experience in California up until now. We ask at the desk if smoking is permitted and they say “Oh not in the rooms, just in the communal areas” Hhmmm nice! Then we notice all the ashtrays around the place. We leave knowing the next few hours are not going to be a relaxing stroll along the beach and possible sunbath, but a frantic search for alternative accommodation…. Yes it´s that bad!
We send out some emergency couch requests but knowing we only really have until 3pm or there abouts, the chances are we won´t turn anything up. In the end there´s only one thing for it – return to The Stay. Afterall we can come to the beach from there reasonably hassle free for peanuts. We´ve arranged to go along to Santa Monica tomorrow and meet Melissa and hopefully some more art galleries/spaces too, but we can just as easily do that from Downtown. So we go back in and collect our bags, with no one engaging with us at all. We could be anybody off the street just walking in and making off with any body´s bag!!!
So back at The Stay, like a bad penny, we move into our 3rd different room. The girl on the desk unaware of our previous stays at Stay, asks us what our plans are for the evening… the plan is there is no plan … as we thought we´d be somewhere else! So she suggests a bar where there´s Karaoke, free pizza and happy hour. The first we are happy to skip, especially with an early rise now to get to Santa Monica from here, but the other two are most welcome :-))
As it turns out by the time we get there the free pizza is finished, but the happy hour is still pretty merry so we stick around for a beer or two, in fact we decide to test the difference between a bourbon and a rye whisky, maybe it was our choice, but we didn’t taste that much difference…we are happy to have this disputed and be educated on this point…
Obviously relying on free pizza for dinner has its flaws and eventually we realise ours and make to go for food, until that is the barmaid enlightens us to her book of menus, all of whom will deliver to the bar. Sweet!
Twenty or so minutes later we are happily enjoying the last throws of happy hour while awaiting a Thai curry to appear. We get chatting to Will, a young guy from here in the US, whose parents and kid bro and sis have dropped him off in town on their way to a ball game (baseball that is). The Thai turns up minus chopsticks and the curry! They both eventually get here but as there is loads of juice we have to improvise and make do with a straw to finish it off.
Needless to say the food, the time, the chat with Will and another guy – Rhys from Oz, we eventually get persuaded to stay around for the Karaoke. Rhys is also staying at The Stay as well and is well up for singing so we thought it only polite to stay and support him..