Riding the ferris wheel

Riding the Ferris Wheel
Riding the Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica

I have to admit to having more adventurous tastes in show rides than the Ferris Wheel, but it was befitting of the spontaneous trip to Santa Monica with Michele.

Our original plan of doing one of those bus tours (specifically one targeted at the tragic side of Hollywood) fell by the wayside when there weren’t enough people for the tour to run. We vacillated over the Getty Center and then decided to trip down the 10 freeway to Santa Monica and see the beach.

As we know, I’m not a beachy person, but Santa Monica had the added bonus of the pier with the show rides to draw me in.

I made a wrong turn coming off the freeway, turning right instead of left, which meant that we started driving towards Malibu on Pacific Highway. It was quite pretty, but there was no way of doing a u-turn or even making a right turn for quite a-ways because of the cliffs that rose steeply up from the highway.

Peek through the struts
Peeking through the Ferris Wheel struts

When we finally got back to the pier, we weren’t disappointed. It was a beautiful clear 31ºC day and the beach and pier were busy enough, but certainly not crowded.

As we made our way up the steps to the pier, I marvelled at the age of the wooden steps. They were grooved and hollowed out from so much traffic over the years. I pressed my feet into the depressions which would turn into puddles on a rainy day. There is something in me that loves to see worn timber like this. I can think back to two specific experiences where it made an impression on me. One in Fray Bentos, Uruguay at the tinned meat factory, and the other time on a spiral staircase leading up to the belfry at the cathedral in Mexico City’s Zocalo. (Yes, this is now the third blog entry in six years that relates a story about well-worn boards, so there is clearly a fascination with this little detail)

The boards of the pier weren’t as smooth as I expected. They were rough, like rough-hewn timber with grooves running from side to side and had shiny silver dumps (bolts) fastening them down to the supports. They were really beautiful. The lurid show rides looked out of place perched upon these old boards, but they also added height and colour to the skyline.

Colourful Santa Monica pier
A giant octopus is growing out of my head

Seeing the Ferris Wheel circling above us, we decided we had to go for a ride on it and eventually found our way to the ticket booth which is cleverly hidden in the middle of all the rides so you can be tempted to buy tokens for more than one ride. We shared our gondola (is that what you would call a Ferris Wheel carriage?) with an English girl as there was a strict rule that there were no single riders.

The Ferris Wheel circled fast, not giving us much time to take photos of the amazing views it afforded of the beach, the pier and the distant mountains. At any rate, it was definitely worth the $5 fare to be child-like, snap-happy tourists and gave a different perspective to the beach.


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