Tuesday, January 24, 2012


So I spent the weekend in LAH. 

That’s L A.
Los Angeles.

Not alone. Tom was with me.
We flew to LAX and friends picked us up. We stayed at their vacation property on the beach- the Pacific, in Newport Beach. That’s about 40 minutes south of LAH, past Huntington Beach and Seal Beach- right across the way from Balboa Island.
A beautiful spot but white… Oh, so white.
Tom and I just watched “The Help” tonight and I kept thinking about how “white” it was there on Balboa Island and Newport Beach.

How white?

In 3 days I saw exactly 4 people of colour. A man and his children and a man on a bike who was about 6 foot 7. Must have been a basketball player. I passed a few Asians too- all in a group and all on tour it seemed but that was it. 

It’s certainly an area where both “white” skin and mega bucks rule. Small “beach shanties” listed in real estate windows for more than a million bucks. Many more of the homes on the beach and just off the beach for two, three and upwards to 15 and 20 million dollars.

Who the fuck has the money for that?
Answer: Rich Americans, I guess. 

Even though it was the dead of winter for the locals, it was moderate weather for us.
It sure beats minus something! The days were sunny and good for strolling and bike riding- especially on one of the ubiquitous “Beach Cruiser” Bicycles that everyone rides along the 25 plus miles of paved pathways. The path- like the Lightfoot Trail here at home, is populated by pedestrians and roller bladers too. 

The path passes close to the front of beachfront homes and cottages barely a few feet away. It cuts across “The War Zone” an area of “lower-valued” real estate, sandwiched between affluent neighbourhoods. It flows across miles of open, sandy beach. The Pacific Coast Highway- PCH, on one side and the Pacific’s rolling waves on the other.

No hills.
No traffic for the most part.
Even where the path crosses through a neighbourhood or two, it’s well-marked for bikes and pedestrian traffic. 

Huntington Beach- the surf capital, was a busy spot on a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon.
Outdoor cafes were bustling.
Starbucks’ coffee lovers lined up out the door. I even took a break with a large café latte. Locals and tourists alike, were promenading along the main street browsing through upscale shops and stopping for refreshments in busy bars and restaurants. 

There were piers along the way jutting out into the blue-green Pacific. Each one with a restaurant plopped at the end and perhaps a souvenir shop or two- like on the Pier at Huntington Beach. A popular local diner called “Ruby’s” was plopped at the end of two of the Piers we bicycled past! Ruby’s menu is fairly vast with big burgers and fries. We had breakfast at one location.  Hotcakes, eggs, sausage and bacon- even what the Americans call “Canadian Bacon” (Peameal to us) if one were to choose.
The coffee was a bottomless cup. 

Southern California beaches are wide and would dwarf even Hawaii’s famed- Waikiki Beach. Californians make good use of the outdoors too- even though it was winter for them. I think keeping active and fit in the sunny south would be a snap. Somehow the lure of the ocean, the swaying of the palms and people-watching just couldn’t keep you inside for long. 

I can hear what you’re asking.
Did we see anyone famous?
No. We didn’t see anyone either while riding along the beach or while traversing LAX.
I thought at the airport we might see someone.
Maybe a star in a Lexus passing us by on the 405 on the way to the airport- but no. I’ll bet there were directors and movie people in our midst, it’s just that we didn’t  recognize them.

Also no, by the way…I didn’t get discovered.
I’m just as famous now as I was when we left. 

...and that’s a pity!