Venice Beach is cool
April 29, 2007, 2:33 pm
Filed under: england

From my experience this time, my favourite place in Los Angeles is Venice Beach. So much colour, so many bizarre things, such a vast esplanade of impromptu entertainment.I highly recommend hiring bikes if you’re not fortunate enough to have friends with a bevy of bikes available, so you can cycle leisurely along the foreshore, amongst the rollerbladers and strollers, taking in the sights.


Old friends in convenient locations
April 28, 2007, 2:27 pm
Filed under: travel

On the way back from Australia I visited my best friend from High School, Rachel, in Los Angeles. It’s ironic that Rachel moved to Los Angeles last year, because when I moved to Canada in 2004 I vowed I would never enter the US again. This is because I went through LAX (Los Angeles airport) and got grief from immigration who thought I was going to stay in the country – even though I was only transferring to a flight to Calgary, for which I had a student visa! I wrote about it back then here.

So I made my vow, refusing to go to Seattle when my friends went down from Vancouver, in protest of US immigration’s arrogance in thinking that young professionals, from ‘friendly’ countries even, are going to put up with that kind of hostile treatment. You don’t want me even passing through your country? Fine! I won’t.

Of course the powers that be transpired to undermine my ‘never’ statement by putting someone I love in tantalizingly easy reach on a Sydney to London voyage. I give in. I feel somewhat justified given the US has just launched the E-3 visa for professional Australians to work in the US legitimately. So, I reason, they’ve changed their stance, I’ll change mine. It just so happened one of my best friends moved there at the same time.

So, I went to LA and stayed with Rachel and her lovely new husband Keith, an American stuntman-turned director/producer/scriptwriter. It was a great experience. I went to California when I was a kid and did the touristy things, so I told Rachel I wanted to do the things that made LA a nice place to live. So I went cycling on Venice Beach and surfing at El Porto Beach, hung out at lots of Starbucks (the coffee there is good in comparison to the average American cup of joe) and sung karaoke in a bar.

I met some great people, Keith and Rachel’s friends Layla, Eric and Mike, who lent the cycling and surfing gear. Thanks guys! I really appreciate it – you helped make my stay in LA one to remember.

Beach life
April 25, 2007, 8:18 am
Filed under: australia, beach, travel

I had a great family day today. Relatives came down from rural SA to say hello and goodbye, before I head back to the UK for at least another six months.

I got to see my little cousins – who aren’t so little anymore, being teenagers and all. We left the ‘adults’ to their coffees and headed down the beach to the Magic Mountain replacement, the Beach House, where they went on the dodgem cars.

I asked various strangers to take photos of us on the way (click on the photo at right for the album), then on the way back returned the favour by offering to take photos of various tourists otherwise taking photos of each other. I also took a few on my own camera of random beach characters, such as this guy and his dog.

Lunch with the birds
April 25, 2007, 1:19 am
Filed under: australia, food


Originally uploaded by cobismith.

Yesterday I took mum to lunch at the great new burger bar in Glenelg (Adelaide’s tourist beach, and my local).

I’m usually not one for burgers, but the Goose Gourmet uses local produce like Angus Beef and Kangaroo Island eggs, coupled with a great selection of South Australian wines. It’s just the kind of place I like to visit when I come back to South Australia for a couple of weeks.

A neighbouring chain restaurant was a little lacking in service staff evidently, allowing the pigeons to have a field day on an old meal. I found it entertaining, though some fellow diners said “are you going to send those photos to the health inspectors?”

It’s a sign of Glenelg’s cosmopolitanism that the seagulls have been usurped by pigeons.

Sojourn in the nation’s capital
April 24, 2007, 10:08 am
Filed under: england


Originally uploaded by cobismith.

After Melbourne I popped over to Canberra for a couple of days, to meet with the ANU about future planning and catch up with some friends.

By coincidence Adam and Jo live about two minutes from the university which was handy. They’re great hosts, between Adam’s great cooking and Jo’s Italian-bred hospitality. Thanks guys!

On Sunday Jo and I went to a couple of exhibitions and I went to the top of Parliament House for the first time. I took some more unusual photos of Canberra’s icon.

The ANU meeting went even better than expected, so if Ian can find some way to occupy himself there’s a good chance we’ll end up in Canberra or at least the East Coast of Oz in the next couple of years.

Melbourne for the World Conference of Science Journalists
April 19, 2007, 10:02 am
Filed under: australia, science, travel

I spent a week in Melbourne for the World Conference of Science Journalists, which was fantastic. I met so many great people doing such fascinating things and learnt so much.

The conference was sponsored by all sorts of research institutes and governments, so we had great food and some great venues. I will definitely go again.

Thanks so much to Sarah (and her housemates) for letting me stay.

Dog on a canoe
April 13, 2007, 3:14 pm
Filed under: australia, travel

It’s nice to see my home town with fresh eyes. Rather than hurrying along the beach to get to Glenelg as usual, I stroll and look around.

Skimboarding is the big new thing in Adelaide. Five years ago the first surf shops started stocking boards. Now, because of all the recent shark attacks combined with the lack of good surf beaches within an hour of Adelaide, it’s taken off so much that you can’t walk in the shallows without watching out for a teenager skidding into you. If I were 14 again I’d be right into it.

I also noticed less obvious things, like this dog on a canoe at sunset.