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La La Land But Without The Singing

A little more bloggity blog from my trip as after patting myself on the back for completing 50/50 I realised if I ever want to post again consistency is key. While I’m away I’ll stick to the ‘ol one, two, three so I don’t get caught up in epic essays and remember this is not the time to be spending all night on the ‘ol laptop. (Can’t stop with the ‘ol, ‘ol. I seem to have gone all cowboy.)

So without further ado, let’s go back to New York.

1. Last day thoughts while supping on a perfect decaf sitting on a plank of wood chained to a fence chained to a door in Upper Manhattan

New York comes in many languages, colours, sizes and cultures. It’s loud and impersonal, yet people have extremely private conversations completely within your hearing. They do everything like they’re alone and at the same time play to their ready audiences. I can tell you now, having a couple of teenagers heavily panting above your head on the subway as they push their bottom areas towards your face made me a tad uncomfortable. But only me. Nobody else blinked. There’s drama everywhere, underground, on the street, in the cafes, in neighbouring apartments. Arms flailing, emotions worn on the cusp of every sleeve.

I love it all.

People work hard and play hard. Of course, that’s one of the many cliches you hear about the city and it’s true. Although this time I left a different city than the one I ventured into almost thirty years ago, I’m different too. Not only MUCH older and wiser but not really searching anymore, content to observe.

Last time I sashayed in to see a friend of a friend who worked at the Dior office wearing my ol’ London, Channel Four uniform of men’s Levi 501’s belted in tight, white tee and Doc Martin flat shoes (not boots, no socks). I was a hot mess and everyone in the office was the epitome of cool, calm, collected and heeled up. Very New York. They were Super Polite Americans but what can they have been thinking? The confidence of youth. Even when we didn’t realise we had it…

The diversity is something I’ve missed. That’s one of the reasons I preserved with the subway system (when it so obviously needs to work on the whole East and West thing). It’s people watching nirvana featuring the classic ‘NY thin’ white women with an agitated air about them, the workers immediately closing their eyes yet knowing exactly when to jump off, the city kids, the elderly, the newborns (!), the homeless and hopelessly addicted, the abundance of gay couples, the multi-coloured families and tourists galore.

When you’ve never felt you quite fit in, in the sense of an identity growing up, it can linger. In New York I feel everyone just muddles along together, somehow finding their own space within the crazy; their identities combining to simply being a New Yorker.

I’m so happy it’s still my happy place.

2. Let’s never talk of this again

If you’ve been following along on my Insta Stories – I use that feature a lot, probably not to the advantage of The Yoga Connection but it’s so immediate and nobody can stop me. Perfectly good reasoning and very professional – you’ll have seen that the actual day of travelling to LA was a nightmare. A fifteen-hour nightmare.

One word: United Airlines, I am not impressed with your behaviour.

3. Venice, Los Angeles

As I write this I’m one day in, I’ve got the fan on and everything opened up. Helicopters almost touch the rooflines and palm trees are swooshing outside my door. I had planned to go to Whole Foods for, well, whole food but it gets dark suddenly here and after experiencing getting lost on my first night I think I’ll give it a miss. All the lamps are glowing and I’m sitting at a glossy formica table with bare, sandy feet and everything plugged into the one outlet. This is one charming ‘ol cabin along with spotty wireless, the noisiest fridge ever and no basin in the bathroom. Also I locked myself inside the gate and outside the house today which is unusual apparently.

Once I got let out I spent the afternoon ‘exploring’ and found Abbot Kinney street and Venice Muscle Beach as well as Santa Monica without realising it. There are houses upon houses of character; barred windows, alarm alerts and cottage colours. This is EXACTLY as I’d hoped it would be.

(Is it wrong that I keep thinking I’m seeing houses from Californication? Is it wrong I loved that programme?)

Here are a few pointers that I’m extremely well equiped to give you having been here exactly one day:

Nobody eats carbs. At brunch people all around me removed the bread from their salads. I ate mine in protest.

This is the town of ‘have a nice day’. Everyone is so sweet, almost a tiny bit icky but mostly just Super Polite Americans.

You can order WHATEVER type of coffee you want and nobody will smirk. That’s right NZ!

There are big, freaking dogs everywhere and some houses that quite literally have poop ‘lawns’. No grass, just stones with dog poo all over them. Very House and Garden. Had a situation last night (in the dark, to be fair) where I’d turn a corner and they’d be someone walking one of those big, freaking dogs and I screamed. Three times. I got laughed at.

Postal workers are the best. Had been carrying around the NY postcards I wrote ages ago and saw a postal guy having a break on the side of the road. I asked him where I could actually post the cards (harder than you think) and he said he’d do it for me, no problem. Was on the phone to my husband at the time and I’m afraid he’s picked up some NY cynicism. We’ll see who’s won when they arrive in the near future.

There are far too many models/actresses/servers. They stalk amongst us with legs up to here and are SO beautiful that it’s like nature poured all the good genes into this one zip code. Just what the doctor ordered for a woman on the verge of a HUGE midlife crisis.

Yes, another one.


Have you ever been to Venice Beach? Any tips? Would love to know!

Photo by Stuart Guest-Smith


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