Shrimps and Muscles

Trip Start Aug 17, 2007
Trip End Sep 12, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, August 17, 2007

Typical kiwi! Arrive in a new place and want to see as much as possible. However hunger and jet lag made me limit my first adventure in Santa Monica. So, down to the Santa Monica pier I went. Strolled in the sand, passed the joggers and roller bladers, and came across "muscle beach". There are gym rings, climbing frames and ropes. There weren't many muscles on display though, just a few swinging on the ropes.

Next door, there is a beach volleyball court where there was a bit more action. Everyone seems to be doing something.
I ate my first meal on the pier at a place called "Bubba Gump." - a Forrest Gump themed restaurant and bar.  It was there that I met a older Iranian woman who has lived in Santa Monica for 30 years.  We were sitting up at the bar having our dinner and were soon joined by others.  By the way, the food was very nice, and I did decide to try a dessert called "that chocolate thing."  Imagine a hot chocolate brownie in a large cylinder drenched in raspberry sauce and topped with cream... 
Among the others to join us, a chap (also originally from Iran).  Well he was very excited to meet a New Zealander, telling me he plans to visit soon.  Before I knew it, I had a new best friend, with him very keen to show me around, take me to his friend's gallery opening and to a Brazilian club.  Oh yes, he had it all planned. 
Then three men (one of them from NZ) arrived...By this stage the Iranian had bought me a vodka.  So of course I had to tell him about NZ vodka, 42 below.  I knew they sold it in California, so I asked the kiwi guy if he knew where. "Just a minute", he says and pulls out his cell phone to call a kiwi mate who owns a bar in Venice Beach - The Venezuelan (apparently they do great mussles). reply, but the Iranian now has a lead to find 42 below, which is good, because I think I convinced him to use it for his gallery opening in a few weeks.  Well you gotta encourage exports don't you??!  But that was as far as any encouraging was going with this fellow.   If you have ever travelled through the Middle East you will know that some of the men there can be very persistent.  I made it very clear that I was not going anywhere with him, and managed to give him the slip when he went to get his car.
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