I’ll Be Back

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (36.5mm, f/5.6, 1/350 sec, ISO160)

Back in California again. For the seventh time. Santa Monica Pier with a surprise encounter.

But the first surprise was that it wasn’t sunny. It was cloudy, hot and humid. It felt like South East Asia not like California. But here we are again. The big vacation overseas vacation since the pandemic. The last two years we made road trips in Croatia and Poland and in 2020 we stayed in Austria.

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (45.5mm, f/5.6, 1/350 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (16mm, f/5.6, 1/550 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (28.3mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (90.6mm, f/8, 1/300 sec, ISO160)

We flew in the day before. A direct flight from Vienna to Los Angeles. It’s a long flight of 12 hours and because we took a morning flight I didn’t sleep on the plane but watched movies. I got used to long haul flights in the last couple of years so it’s not a big deal. I was happy that it was a direct flight though.

We went to buy some snacks in a supermarket and had dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant opposite of our hotel in Santa Monica. The one we stayed in the last time we were here in 2018.

Right after breakfast we went to the Santa Monica Pier which was a little tricky this time because of the Santa Monica marathon. But we managed to park the car nearby and went for our first walk at the sea.

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (140mm, f/9, 1/400 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (58.7mm, f/9, 1/320 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (16mm, f/10, 1/280 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (34.2mm, f/10, 1/400 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (18.7mm, f/9, 1/400 sec, ISO160)

Nothing really has changed here which is a good thing. I just love those big boardwalks. I started to take pictures and of course I immediately lost my wife. When she came back a couple of minutes later she was very excited and told me that she needed to show me something. I thought she had spotted a sea otter or a seal but it was something completely different.

Let’s see if you can recognise him in the picture below. The guy on the left is me and in the middle is Arnold Schwarzenegger carefully shielded by his bodyguard. I was so puzzled that I failed to take a picture even though I had a camera on my neck. Luckily my wife was cooler and took an image with her phone. Without her I would have missed Arnold completely anyway. She would most likely missed him too if she wouldn’t have walked on the bike path by accident so that Arnold had to ride around her.

How amazing is that! On our first day we saw the Arnold in person on this e-bike. Oh yeah! This is fucking California and I love it. What a great start of our vacation!

I’ll be back.

Apple iPhone XS (4.25mm, f/1.8, 1/3200 sec, ISO25)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (55mm, f/9, 1/350 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (28.3mm, f/7.1, 1/480 sec, ISO160)

An amazing start but it’s the second pleasant surprise on this vacation. The first was at the rental station. Finally I got a Ford Expedition and it was the XL version. I wanted to get this car when I was here in 2018 but got an Infinti QX80 instead. This time I finally got it. I was not keen to get the XL version but in the USA size is not a big deal. In Austria you need to be mad to drive such a car. I always get nice rental cars and I guess it pays if you choose to stick with one rental company. This is the 7th time we rent a car in the USA and it’s our 7th time with Alamo. I think they appreciate a loyal customer.

Next stop REI in Santa Monica and after that we are going to Venice Beach for the first time. I think it is the right thing to do on such a day.

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (18.2mm, f/7.1, 1/250 sec, ISO320)