A couple of weeks in Santa Monica and I still haven’t left that comfort zone except when I was out looking for an apartment.
There’s a supermarket and chemist within 15 minutes walk from my apartment which is nice, since I don’t have a car yet. They stock all the things I would normally buy back in London, just different brands.
I pretty much live on a major road so bus stops are close by too, including the one that takes me to Downtown LA in case I fancy a trip into Chinatown.
There’s a nice shopping area on 3rd Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica close to the beach, full of trendy clothing stores.
There’s a few regular bars I go to, mainly in downtown Santa Monica, or down in Main St.The beach is about 15 minutes bus ride away too. I’m still getting used to being ID’d for everything that’s related to alcohol, legal age to drink in the US is 21 years, so they are strict about this. Some places won’t even let me in since they won’t accept my UK driving license, and there’s no way I’m carrying my passport with me.
I do miss the convenience of shopping back in the UK though. For example, if you wanted to buy milk, a printer, and some clothes, you could get them all within a mile radius. Over here, places like these are really spaced out so you probably have to drive a few miles to get all the stuff you want.
When I do miss some UK brands, I just head downtown Santa Monica where there’s a small shop that sell imported British products like PG Tips.
People are generally friendly over here, they will help you out if you ask nicely and you can almost engage in conversation with anyone. It’s great when you shop at retailers, when you’re greeted by someone with a smile. From my past experience here on holiday, you can pretty much give a shopping list to shop staff and they’ll get everything for you. Shop staff are friendly enough, but not over friendly that they’re in your face all the time.
You wouldn’t get this level of service in the UK. Back home if you asked where something was, staff would just point in a general direction and say “it’s over there somewhere”.