So, I got to LA around 9pm on Thursday Aug. 21, and found my way to the terminal where Errol would be arriving. Not as confusing as I'd thought it would be. His flight was delayed a bit too, so I ended up just sitting on the floor in the terminal (what's up with LAX not even having any benches?!) and waiting for him.
We still hadn't figured out what our method of transportation would be. From everything that I was reading and hearing from friends, it seemed like the only choice was to rent a car (we were going to try and get around by Amtrak and subways) ... but when he got there, we took a shuttle over to the Budget rental place, and the only thing they had available was a full size for like, $70/day. No thanks. So we got on a shuttle back to the airport, and since it was getting pretty late, we decided to take a shuttle out to the hotel in Anaheim. They ripped us off too, but that's okay. LOL. The guy quoted us $15 each. When we finally got to Anaheim like, 2 hours later, the driver says "okay, so it's $10 for the trip, and $5 tip. $20 each" ... uhh... wtf?!
But it was like, 1am (which is actually like, 4am in Toronto), so we just handed him our $20's and were done with it.
When we checked in, the guy at the counter pretty much laughed at us and said there's no way that we would be getting around by train, if we actually intended on seeing anything. So we decided the next morning, we'd rent a car.
I wrote about day one here, so I won't repeat that... but I will show you the day one pictures:
Day two... we decided to spend discovering the beautiful beaches of So Cal. I google mapped some directions, and getting there wasn't too difficult. We started out seeing a tiny bit of Marina Del Rey, and then onto Venice Beach. We ended up parking SUPER far away from where all the action was though (mostly because we didn't want to pay $25 for parking in the lots close to the public beach area when we knew we weren't going to spend more than an hour or two there), so we took a very long, unintentional walk. We couldn't even really walk along the beach, because the sand was too hot, and we didn't have proper shoes on LOL. The streets of Venice were really pretty though. Very European-styled. They even had canals, like in Venice, Italy... though I don't think it was quite the same ;)
We ended up going for lunch at this really cute little restaurant. I had the most amazing sandwich - a California sandwich : grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and some kind of awesome sauce. mmmm. Then we walked down the pier, and towards Muscle Beach gym and the graffiti. There was this super odd Christian bootcamp going on. At first, it was just all this great gospel music and everyone singing along. Then, a guy comes on stage and starts talking about how he used to live on the beach even though he had a home, and would break beer bottles over people's heads just for fun, until he was saved by God. I turned to Errol and said, "let's try not to get stuck here at night" LOL. At that point, I think we took a walk along more streets to get back to the car. I stopped at Coldstone Creamery and got the most delicious ice cream... mmmm. They should bring Coldstone to Canada.
So, we finally got back to the car, and drove to Santa Monica. Santa Monica is absolutely beautiful. The vibe there is awesome. it was the one place that we went to on the trip that I could actually see myself spending an extended amount of time in. We ended up parking pretty far down the beach here too, but didn't think this would be a problem, as we wanted to walk down the beach towards the pier anyway. Errol wasn't feeling so great when we got there, so we sat on a beachfront patio with some overpriced drinks for a while (LOL) enjoying the view.
Eventually, we walked down the path that leads to the pier. The pier is absolutely amazing. There's a full amusement park on it (it reminded me a lot of pictures I've seen of Coney Island, and I'm pretty sure it was designed by the same person.) There's also a lot of history on that pier - it's the end of Route 66. That pier has been the vacation spot of so many people before. It's pretty awesome to think about.
We decided to have dinner at an English pub in Santa Monica... walked through the streets for a while after dinner (man, it gets dark fast!) and then the adventure of trying to find the car began. Sadly, we didn't notice the signs when we parked that said the beach was only open from sunrise to sunset. No, you can't exactly close a beach. But you can make it completely unlit, so people can't SEE anything but pitch black all around them. Yup, you guessed it... we lost the car. We must've spent like, at least 2 hours wandering up and down the beach, trying to find anything that looked remotely familiar. We even walked along the side of the highway, to see if we could see it from the road. It was super creepy, and kinda scary. Eventually, we ended up finding the car (it was, of course, the only one left in the parking lot at that point - thankfully I didn't have a ticket or anything)... but by that time, I was so exhausted that I totally didn't want to go out. We ended up just driving back to Anaheim and I crashed, while Errol stayed up for a bit.
Here's the pics from that day:
The next day, we were going to be meeting up with my friend Krista (who I've known online for at least 10 years - she lives in Rhode Island, but was in LA at the same time... so we decided she'd crash at our hotel room and come to Disneyland with us!). I google mapped the directions again... but... they didn't quite work, and we went the opposite way of where we were supposed to go to. Eventually we ended up finding her, and we hit up In-N-Out burgers for lunch! I was dying to try one of these, and it definitely did not disappoint. Yum!
After that, we roamed around the UCLA campus for a while. Errol's really into seeing stuff like that, so he enjoyed it a lot. I was really impressed that they have botanical gardens, sculpture gardens, and so many other awesome things right there on campus. Ryerson's campus was absolutely TINY in comparison. It was super pretty.
After we had our fill of UCLA, we hit up Rodeo Drive. Wow. I don't think I could even afford to LOOK at the stores there. It was pretty though. I felt slightly out of place. Except for at this one store called The Paper Source. I was so excited that they had a paper store just off Rodeo Drive! LOL... Errol and Krista let me stop in for a bit, and I bought some small cards, and a robot stamp. After we left, I looked at their display in the window, and realized that they had my exact envelope wall hanging as their display! I'll never know if they made it through my tutorial (it's also posted on a few popular craft sites), or if they came up with the exact same idea, but I still thought that was pretty cool.
Then we drove out to Melrose Avenue/Place. All the stores were pretty much closed, since it was Sunday, after 5pm... but it was still kinda cool to see. After trying to figure out what to do for dinner, we ended up deciding to go back to Rodeo Drive (we found free parking here twice, btw. I thought that was pretty darn awesome... wasn't expecting that to happen!) to go to the Cheesecake Factory, since I'd never been there before.
I was totally craving Tex-Mex... but everything of the sort on their menu seemed to be covered in cilantro (Blegh!) ... we had a super awesome waitress, though, who recommended these awesome soft tacos that could be made without cilantro. Everyone kinda laughed at me for ordering tacos... but damn, they hit the spot!
Krista and I also split the most awesome cheesecake - white chocolate macadamia with caramel... mmmmm. So good.
Then we sat in the car, stealing wireless internet, trying to figure out what we should do that night. It took us like, a good hour to decide. We ended up going to Hollywood. First we checked out a bar called The Frolic Room. It was pretty tiny, but definitely a good vibe in there. It was a place that I could actually see myself hanging out in, not like the Viper Room or any of those other bars that we passed the other night. After one drink though, we decided to check out another bar down the street. called Cinespace.
This place was kinda lame. First, they didn't want to let us in, because we didn't have passports (seriously, why do Californians think that Canadians carry passports when they go to a bar... this happened to me TWICE on the trip) ... but they eventually let us in. We had to pay a cover, which was kinda lame, but we wanted to go out and there weren't many options.
The main bar area was SUPER lame. They were spinning really bad 90s tunes in this one room... the beer was super pricey (I didn't drink anything here, because I had to drive, but Errol and Krista were not impressed), and there was this glassed-in room where I guess people were allowed to smoke.
We were just about ready to leave, when Errol discovered another room towards the back of the bar (there was this whole other section that was at the back) ... there was a band soundchecking, so we thought this could be promising. We ended up sticking around. They took FOREVER to get on stage. Which was annoying. Then they finally took the stage, and that quickly became even more annoying. LOL. It ended up being this metal band called The Devils Orchestra. They had a painter set up in the corner, which was kinda cool, because I've seen shows where they combine music and art before. It's pretty neat.
But as we were watching the painter... we realized that all he was painting were pink stripes. Hmm. Between the annoying music, and the annoying painter, we were all exchanging looks trying to figure out what we would do. We decided to see if the guy would actually paint anything worth watching. When he pulled out a stencil, and started rolling black paint... we figured it was pretty much time to go. LOL. I didn't take any pics of this, but I found a full flickr album from that day... so click here if you want to witness the horror ;)
If not, here's the pics from Day 3!
Day 4 - 6 (Disneyland!) to follow in the next blog update :)
In the meantime...
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