Santa Monica

Soccer was awesome! Federation square was long packed out so we went by the Yarra river where there were some 20-30 thousand people crowding around a huge screen! 'Ooohing' and 'ahhing' with every miss, every kick, and the strange habit of making a noise that is a cross between booing and 'GUS GUS' whenever the coach comes on. What a fantastic atmosphere! The only good thing about us losing is that we didn't have to withstand the freezing temperature any more.

I got to Santa Monica (LA) today. This is a lovely seaside town full of trendy shops and tall palm trees. I sat on the beach for a while, felt like I was just back at Cott, except maybe minus the ferris wheel and rollercoaster on the pier. I made a visit to Venice beach in the afternoon, which is just further along the coast. What a strange place, full of crazy crazy people. There are multiple outdoor basketball and tennis courts, not to mention an outdoor gym where everyone can see you. Then a crazy Jamaican guy tried to make me be his support act while he jumped on broken bottle pieces... There were plenty of interesting stalls along the beach, selling the usual clothes, jewellery, but also a large number of bong shops, some with signs saying 'these are for tobacco only, please don't ask otherwise'...

Few observations

1. Huge ugly seagulls, 3 times the size of ours with brown spots all over them.

2. Large number tiny dogs much like Paris Hilton's.

3. My first Starbucks experience left me feeling inadequate because I was the only one in the shop without a laptop. I thought I'd try the next one, it was the same.

4. The number of rich people are only outnumbered by the number of homeless people. How ironic in such a rich area. It is incredibly sad to see, but I feel powerless that there's nothing I can do.

Can't think of anymore, internet time is ticking down.

Santa Monica at night is pretty, the trendy stores live up to their reputations by being overly expensive, but very lovely clothes non the less. The streets are filled with talented and desperate musicians trying to sell a few CDs, intermixed with 13 year olds dressed way too old for their age.

Nice place really.

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What an eccentric yet fantastic city! The first leg of my journey saw my new $22 lock broken by the airline within 5 hours, don't get those TSA approved ones, the guy just pulled the lock to get the rest of it apart...

I went on what I thought would be a leisurely one or two hour walking tour advertised at the hostel, seven hours later I'm back after visiting what seems like every back alley of Melbourne, in between the usual sights such as banking districts and gardens. The amount of pubs and clubs that seem to exist in tin sheds, covered with graffiti, in dark alleyways (where people get murdered I'm sure) is incredible! Not to mention this German open air pub with hanging umbrellas and chinese lanterns, and a welcoming sign that says 'When it rains we get wet... and 2+4 doesn't equal 8... Today's special, sarcasm $40...' How does anyone ever find anywhere to go in this city? 

Shopping's great! Huge stores and so many of them!

I'm so out of my comfort zone at the moment staying in a 16 people dorm, part of the experience I guess.

Tonight I'm off to Federation square to watch the soccer match between Australia and Italy with some new found friends, apparently along with some 20,000 screaming people. Should be fun.

Stupid fact of the day: Double sided tape is sold duty free on the plane.

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