This is the beginning of a 3, 4, 7? several part series about my time in Malibu.
About ten years ago, I transferred to Malibu to work as an Estate Manager, overseeing the luxury beach-front property and household staff of a very wealthy individual.
My (Preconceived) Idea of Malibu vs. Reality:
You’ve probably seen celebrities profiled on popular shows like TMZ or in the news: They’re always hanging out in Malibu, often getting DUIs, getting into fights, or being “seen with so-and-so”.
This lead to my first preconceived idea: Malibu is a hotspot of celebrity activity!
Couple that with what I already knew about the person for whom I was working, Marc Andreessen: He lived in Palo Alto (at the time) and shopped at places like Stanford Shopping Center. I assumed he would choose to live in a place with similar amenities.
Which lead me to my second preconceived idea: The shopping is going to be great!
Boy, was I wrong on both counts.
Malibu is a small, picturesque, and somewhat underdeveloped (rural) town with several open lots – in the center of town. They say the population is 12,500, but that’s really only on a hot day in the summer when everyone from L.A. comes up. Seriously. Everyone. The homes are largely vacant second or vacation homes to the “residents”. There’s no real industry, and not much in the way of curbs or sidewalks either.
The town is a cross between Capitola (pop. 10,033) and Big Sur (pop. ‘sparse’): Great little one-of-a-kind restaurants, artsy boutiques, and a lot of surfers. There is also a huge metaphysical influence – and a whole strip mall based around it. Considering I was expecting a Stanford-type shopping mall, I was completely caught off guard by the Birkenstock store and surrounding crystal shops.
There’s one Safeway-type grocery store, called Ralph’s. ONE – for all of Malibu. There’s no Macy’s, no Target, and up until a few years ago not even the ubiquitous Starbucks had ventured into ‘Bu.
If you need to get office supplies, forget about it. There is no Office Max. You’ll need to drive 30 minutes to Santa Monica or Thousand Oaks to get a pencil.
As for the celebrities, for the most part they just walk around and do normal things like us civilians: Go grocery shopping, go to the beach, get the paper, go out to eat. However, some can be a bit quirkier than your average Joe. I’ll be posting a separate series called “Life in Malibu: Celebrity Sightings”.
Unlike Capitola, there’s NO NIGHTLIFE in Malibu. This sucked for me, being a single female in a new town. How the heck was I going to meet anyone?
Desperation can lead one to do stupid things.