Scene in the City – Venice, L.A.

venice 4For me no visit to Los Angeles is complete without a little side jaunt to Venice (muscle) beach if just for the local flavour. 

It’s always sunny, friendly (sometimes overly), good food and anything goes. We won’t see any red carpet styles here.  Maybe the pictures will speak for themselves.

I like to start my day with a nice fresh juice with lotsa veggies and a bit of vodka.
I like to start my day with a nice fresh juice with lotsa veggies and a bit of vodka.

venice 5venice 6venice 1venice 3

Here’s what is unique about Venice Beach: Hundreds of street vendors and performers, everything from break-dancing to broken glass walking, mimes to musicians, jugglers to jesters and everything in between will make up the human landscape. You can have your fortune read, get a temporary tattoo or have your name written on a grain of rice. If souvenirs is what you are after then the boardwalk is the place to go. The Westside offers unique arts and crafts, odds and ends and one of kinds only obtainable here. Paintings, photos, rocks of various sorts and sculptures are among the popular offerings. On the Eastside are the store fronts of the boardwalk. Here you will find every sort of t-shirt under the sun. From the politically motivated to sexually charged to the plain old Venice Beach t-shirt there is sure to be one for everybody. In addition, there are tattoo and piercing stores, skate and surf shops, medical marijuana dispensaries and more. You can buy sun glasses, vaporizers, beer and shoes. This is all in addition to the large selection of restaurants, juice spots and bars. In summary, packed into its one and a half mile, the boardwalk has more diversity in demographics and retail then probably anywhere else in the world. There is reason it so famous. These pictures are only the beginning.

Yup...the landscape is lovely.
Yup…the landscape is lovely.

Photos: d. king

décor & design – The Doors Part Two

Take a step back in timeZanzibar Doors

 STONE TOWN is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar where little has changed in the last 200 years.

It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors – there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork.  Here are a few: Zanzibar Door 1

Zanzibar Door 2

 

We really enjoyed spending hours wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways.  We could have spent days.

Stone Town was recently and deservedly declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO..

Zanzibar fruit stand

visit   PINteresting places at:  http://pinterest.com/intrigueimports/

It’s also the birthplace of the incredibly talented lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury.   For anyone wanting to make a Mercury pilgrimage, two good places to start are the Zanzibar Gallery, with a gold plaque on the outside to memorialize Mercury, and the popular Mercury’s restaurant. More at: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/tanzania/zanzibar

Zanzibar Door 3

San Francisco’s Hayes Valley – I’m a Valley Girl at heart!

Great name for a shoe boutique – just GIMME MORE!

Hayes Valley girl that is!  A district of San Francisco discovered last year while staying at a quaint boutique hotel (Inn at the Opera) in town to run the Nike Women’s half marathon. Located a short walking distance to the Opera House, City Hall and about a 20 minute walk to Union Square.

Cool furnishings

A place that surprised me to find out that only twenty years ago was considered a haven for the city’s homeless, drug addicts and prostitutes.  In other words quite a seedy location which they cleaned up pretty good.  Something reminiscent of New York City’s Meat Packing District.

The most delicious macaroons from France
Furniture for thought

Since then it has developed into a haven for haute couture.  Where the crack houses and tenements once stood, there are now trendy fashion boutiques, SoHo-style funky art galleries, high-end interior-decorating shops, top-notch restaurants and hip nightspots.

You light up my life
Sake wall display

Now, tourists also head here specifically for the shopping, for one-of-a-kinds like a buffalo-leather chair or an exclusive Sue Wong Art Deco gown.

Great vintage shops with amazing finds – things like slightly used Louis Vuitton luggage and crocodile handbags for only $350.  It was hard to tell if I was in a really great second hand shop or that of a local designer.

In any event it was fun to even window shop, have a bite to eat and just walk around this interesting combination of “old meets trendy” district which reminded me of Palermo in Buenos Aires or Knightsbridge in London.

Wall display – local bakery
lovely lingerie – jesusfernandez would go perfectly amongst Eres and La Perla.
Plants a plenty – not used to seeing outdoor Jade plants
I had the best turkey club at “Grove”.  Short of growing their own vegetables and raising  their own turkeys – all dishes are made in house with a diverse selection.
Zen window display clothing boutique
People become “Absinthe” minded at times at Absinthe bar and restaurant.  Tried it?
No matter how fashionable you are shopping can get tiring!

For hotel info: http://shellhospitality.com