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The older we get and the more often we make the trip across the Pacific, the more difficult the transition from East to West seems to get. Since this visit we needed to go directly into two weeks of classes for our Master’s, it seemed prudent to build in a bit of a buffer to try to acclimatize to the time difference and change in weather. That is what age and wisdom is supposed to teach us. You might have cause to wonder why it took us all this time to build in such a buffer, but we never claimed to fast learners, did we! This year the long flights were in and out of Los Angeles, and never having seen the place, we decided to cocoon for a few days there.

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Pam scoured the internet and found a lovely little guesthouse in Venice Beach. We had some initial moments of panic when arriving well after dark we needed to make our way down a “walk street” that even the local cabby had trouble finding. Our fears were instantly allayed when our very gracious hosts showed us to the renovated garage of their lovely home that had been converted to a cozy and fully equipped studio apartment. A welcome bottle of wine and cheese platter and a comfy couch in front of the gas fireplace was all it took to make us feel completely at home.

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We slept remarkably well for our first night (nearly 5 am!) and headed out in the morning to make the fifteen minute walk down to the beach. The weather was beautiful and we spent the entire morning watching the waves, the surfers and the seabirds. With two days to explore, we were able to wander through the Venice Canals, explore much of the town and try out some lovely little restaurants. We confess to needing a wee nap in the afternoon to get us through the day, but again slept really well at night in our cosy and private little space.

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Saturday we walked several miles down the beach to see the sights of Santa Monica and watch the sunset over dinner on the Santa Monica Pier at the end of Route 66. Why Steve feels compelled to sing lines from every tune that relates to wherever we are visiting escapes me, but that is just one of his quirks, and I suppose there are worse things he could do to get his “kicks.” He insisted on his picture beside the sign as well. Whatever makes the old guy happy! This little hiatus turned out to be a great plan and we felt completely ready to take on the next stage of the journey with a flight to Colorado Springs via Denver.

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