To round out my visit to California I still had to tackle two of the bigger cities, Los Angeles and San Diego, both of which held friends and family to whom I owed visits. I had originally planned to be in the cities for longer periods of time and thus thought I'd have plenty of time to see everyone but things changed. I had a whopping 42 hours in LA with four people to meet, three of whom lived on completely opposite sides of the city, of course.
Thanks to my lovely bus delay from Santa Barbara and loads of traffic (appropriate welcome to the city) I arrived in LA late Thursday night, actually I wasn't even in LA yet but rather North Hollywood where my friend so graciously came to pick me up. The first friend on my list of visits was an old friend from Korea (met on a bus to Mud Fest) so of course, our destination for the evening was Korea town where we would stuff ourselves with delicious food and terrible alcohol (that whole I'm never drinking soju again doesn't always work). Before heading into town though Richard decided to give me a little tourist action with a stop at Griffith Observatory which presents visitors with an awesome view of the entire city. I had only been in the city a few hours and completed one of my few "must do's" which was to visit K-town, add on a beautiful view of the city, including the Hollywood sign and I had a successful first night in LA.
Unfortunately, Richard had to work the next day but he was gracious enough to leave the apartment key with me and a few directions of what to do nearby. I had no idea where I really was but when I looked at google maps I discovered I was only two from Venice beach which confused me because Richard said there "wasn't much to do nearby". My head was pounding (seriously soju, never again) so I decided walking to the beach was in my best interest, and I was correct. The boardwalk provided plenty of entertainment; sights, sounds, smells and more. I decided to get away from the crowds for a bit and found an amazing lunch at Seed about a block in from the beach before returning for some real entertainment. I stumbled upon the Calypso Tumblers who had already drawn a big crowd so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. The group definitely knew how to put on a good show and entertained the crowd for a solid 30 minutes or more.
Later in the afternoon, my cousin's friend picked me up since he was kind of on that side of town and we made our way to my cousins' house out in Pasadena. As if my bus ride wasn't intro enough I was quickly shown the infamous traffic of LA. I guess it didn't help that we went from one side of the city clear to the other, and on a Friday afternoon but the drive was anything but enjoyable. Although it was Friday night my cousin and I took it easy with a simple Thai dinner and catching up, something we haven't done in years.
My second day started in Pasadena with my first Barre fitness class and ended in Hermosa beach with a beautiful sunset, loads of sushi and cocktails with old friends. There were hours of traffic and a few corona rita's thrown in the middle of all that so all in all it was a good day. Sunday was only my third full day in the city but wanting to meet up with a friend in San Diego that evening meant it was also my last. It started early with a packer game and brunch, such a weird concept to watch football at 10am, silly west coast time zone. The rest of the day was a true lazy sunday, something you get when staying with locals rather than in a hostel. When I travel alone everyday blends into the next and I begin to lose track of what day it really is but when you're with people that work traditional 9'5's it becomes more apparent.
Although my visit was super short, I barely saw any of the must see's (aka tourists destinations) I didn't even go in the ocean (okay maybe a few toes), I did enjoy my visit to LA. I guess I didn't realize how spread out the city actually is and how saying "I live in LA" could mean a myriad of things. There are so many different neighborhoods, each with its own vibe, that you truly can't put a label on the entire city. Who knows, maybe I'll be back one day but probably not anytime soon, I've got other places to see.
I grew up hearing "California, you don't want to live there" but after finally visiting, it's the one place in the US I could actually envision myself 'settling down'