greetings from LA..... Tim Buckley said. Strange place LA. Car city. City without a soul. City without a centre. The nearest I've found to soul in LA is Venice (where Mark and I are pictured above). I've grown quite fond of the place. (Gingers) Jane ran a hostel here for many years and I stayed with her there when Joti was only 4. You can rely on the skaters and the brown-bodied and the buskers and the homeless and desperate to provide entertainment most of the day.

In the above picture we were killing some time while killing a day on the way to the WebCT conference in Georgia. We had arrived at six o'clock that morning and spent most of the day walking just to keep ourselves awake - from Marina Del Ray to Venice and down to Santa Monica.

The stretch of beach between Venice and Santa Monica had never looked better that morning. The air was comparatively clear and as you can see the sky was bright blue. You can see how the origin of the California/Beach Boy myth came about here. Santa Monica itself is one of many pleasant local centres in LA that are (dis)connected from each other by the infamous freeways.

Now San Francisco....there's a city with a soul and a centre.