On my way to Stockholm for the weekend. To capture a few frames of the capital’s gorgeous architecture and textures. And to see a few old friends. Taking the train. Nothing beats a train ride through Sweden’s lush summer landscape.
Contrasts. I live for them. Thought about contrasts during this morning’s super-early, jet lag induced jog around Malmö, Just a few days ago, I was running between the piers. The morning’s weather was spectacular with a temperature not too different from what I had been getting used to in Venice Beach. I didn’t see a single homeless person this morning, though. Then again it was early.
I tried hard to eat well while in California. It certainly ain’t easy. There’s just so much good tasting food to be enjoyed everywhere. On two occasions, I had one of these bagel platters they serve at Cow’s End. A breakfast with that kind of massive calorie intake meant I could skip lunch without feeling any loss of energy. Have yet to find a place that makes bagels in Sweden.
Ten days in Los Angeles – primarily Venice Beach – is food for the soul. For mine, anyway. I’ve met family, spent time with a few old friends and made some new, interesting acquaintances. Most importantly, there’s been adequate time for well-needed introspection. On life in general and more specifically on what I should focus on creatively henceforth. What will propel and satisfy me into the next phase? Where will the next challenges come from?
Change is good. Challenges are better.
It’s soon time for new endeavors. Geographically and artistically. This is precisely what I’ve been contemplating/pondering whilst surfing, running or shooting under the California sun.
Through an unforeseen but nonetheless fortunate chain of events, I met a couple of inspiring fellows during morning coffee at Cow’s End; Larry, a photographer and visual artist and Roy, a short story film director and writer. I met both just after my arrival to L.A., which in itself made the trip worthwhile. Creatively speaking, that is.
Roy and I had actually met during last year’s visit. This time, he introduced me to Larry who had also just recently finished a book project about Vietnam and could fully relate to the creative void I’ve been experiencing following the publication of the book about Malmö Opera.
During a few walks along Venice Pier, Larry and I spoke at great length about this conundrum and other related topics and Larry gave me (perhaps inadvertently) the intellectual push I needed to pursue a relatively new path I’d been feeling somewhat anxious about.
The photo above is the Airbus 380 I flew with from LAX to Frankfurt. The ride over continental USA and then across the north Atlantic was extremely bumpy and sleep was sporadic at best.
Frankfurt is one of the most confusing airports I’ve ever had the displeasure of visiting. The often unclear and therefore misleading signage and lack of manned information stations almost caused me to miss my connecting flight to Copenhagen.
Okay, so I was tired after the turbulent eleven hour flight. But never before have I had to pass through three different passport control stations during an hour long stopover!
Surprisingly, the security and checkin process at LAX was, if not exactly pleasant, than at least painlessly smooth.
The Tom Bradley Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport is hopefully going to be used as a benchmark when airports like JFK and Newark one day decide to modernize.
It’s going to be interesting to see how long this trip’s jet lag lasts…so far, it’s pretty much topsy turvy.
From this morning’s ballerina themed shoot in Venice Canals and Venice Beach. Great working with a professional model like Tiffany Crystal. So little direction needed. And she was extremely confident and agile in her poses – in no small way thanks to 13 years of ballet experience.
Like every morning these last three visits to Venice, I take in my morning coffee (two shots of Guatemalan espresso topped off with a few drops of organic coconut milk) at Cow’s End together with a group of locals – most of which have worked or still work in the film and/or entertainment industry.
I barely know everyone by name, but there is certainly no shortage of interesting and inspiring characters among them.
Enjoyed another 10k run this before coffee morning. It’s finally getting warmer and sunnier. Hope it stays that way until it’s time to head back to what I hear is an almost despicably but not unheard of cold and wet Scandinavian summer.
Almost a week of my visit has passed and I’m still a little jet-lagged. Wake up at 04:30 a.m. and work a little before stretching and pulling my body into the wet suit, quietly taking my board down the apartment building’s stairs, onto the beach and into the waves. This morning was spectacular and the first day so far that provided some sunshine.
Had a great meal yesterday evening. It’s hard to find really good Mexican-inspired food in Sweden. Malmö has a few places that offer a few decent dishes, but it’s mostly standard recipe stuff with none of that home made cooking vibe that you can expect at almost every food truck in L.A. As far as I know, the level of splendor and amazing variety available here is unsurpassed. Outside of Mexico, of course. Last night, I had what was arguably one of the top ten meals in this category at a unassuming poco bodega a few blocks inland in Manhattan Beach aptly called, Sion’s Mexican Restaurant. The Ahi-Ahi tuna tacos, shrimp tacos, guacamole, refried beans – all of it was just superb and made a big dent in my belly – and was the perfect fix for my week-long craving.
There something special about the Pacific Ocean here in Southern California. I hadn’t thought of it before this morning’s surf. But the cool temperature and mild but pronounced salinity makes it somehow comfortable and easy to spend a long time in the waves. Which is good when sets are far few between. Not like this morning when they just kept rollin’ in.