This wasn’t really my first time on the west coast. It’s actually the third. First, I came to Las Vegas in the summer of 2018, for about a week. I luckily got to stay for free thanks to one of my good friends who had a month-long training there. Then in November of 2018, I went to San Francisco, that trip ended up being more of a nature trip than a city one, even though I was in the bay area. I did about a third of the highway 1 drive, a breathtakingly gorgeous scenery that I will most definitely do again. I also went all the way out to Yosemite. I am definitely glad I did all that and less of San Fran because, well, I’ve found out, exploring cities isn’t always as enticing as the outdoors. Something about seeing mountains and stretches of open land really helps to appreciate life more. Maybe that’s just me. Regardless, I’d set a pretty good precedent of coming to the west coast and enjoying the coast in the west. So this post is about my last trip to Southern California. Well, I started writing this while still on the trip so I might end up with a mix of “is” and “was”. Just bare with me.
Here’s the very first picture I took, after getting off the FlyAway bus that goes from the LAX Airport to Union Station.
Ok, not a great view, unfortunately, that’s the awkward perspective I had to work with. This hardly represents what people think of when they go to LA, but I just wanted to know what life is like for regular LA people. What does it really mean, to live in LA. That’s why I took the bus from the airport instead of a ride share. Because, at the end of the day, one of the things we end up doing a majority of our life, outside of actual work, is commuting to work.
From there, I walked to China Town, I was quite excited, I’m a fan of themed neighborhoods (if that’s these towns are). China town was underwhelming. I’ve gone to China town in DC and New York. I had expectations that weren’t met. I also had no guide, nor any particular place that I was targeting, so maybe I brought it on myself. I thought I wouldn’t need a guide though. I guess I’m a little salty because the walk was a lot longer than my city-self is used to. Oh well. From there I went to somewhere that’s actually a hot spot. I got an Uber to…
This museum showed up in just about every “Top things to do in LA” list. It is a majestic structure. I didn’t get the best perspective, but here’s the best shot I got of it. I didn’t bother trying to go inside. There was a line and I figured it probably isn’t free (turns out, it is).
Two blocks away, was Grand Park. The park, was not grand. But it was there. And the pictures didn’t lie. I just expected… more. Alright there’s a theme of unmet expectations but the trip gets better, I promise.
Speaking of getting better, I decided to just start walking through the rest of downtown LA and I stumbled upon the commercial shooting of an…
Yes, yes, I saw a blacked out SUV, walked closer, and saw a Giulia Quadrifoglio in a beautiful red paint being covered by a camera attached to the SUV. I was so excited! I mean, this is the same car I have, well, the plebian version, and I’m getting to see the shooting of the promotional footage! Everyone around was gawking at it. It made me feel like I owned something special.
Once that was done, I kept walking, and walking till I reached Little Tokyo, surely, this, I’d heard a lot about, much more than China Town. Now it’s, well, little, but it certainly wasn’t lacking in scenery. There’s literally shops lined up the entire place. Every time I saw a shop that looked cool ahead, I’d start walking towards it, by the time I’m aware of what I’m doing I’m already inside another store that got more of my attention. I don’t think that’s how attention works but it was certainly very eye catching. Lots of gifts shops, artisan shops, endless eating options ice cream, pastries, the works. I ended up almost not getting anything because I actually walked to the end of Little Tokyo without even realizing it. I did another walk through and this time I stopped at a coffee shop (Cafe Dulce) to get hot chocolate and donuts. Once I was done with Little Tokyo, I knew it was time to move on to the next phase of this tremendously exciting adventure.
I thought Hollywood would be the best part of my day. I will end this very quickly. It wasn’t. It turned out to be one of the least interesting places to try and explore. I walked the Hollywood Boulevard. Walk Of Fame. And well, it’s cool? But also, not exactly special. At least to me. I spent the rest of the evening in Hollywood. I walked as close as I could to the Hollywood sign and after seeing it and realizing it looks better in pictures and I would need to be a lot closer. I should have planned to go to Griffith park, done the hike and get close to the sign. A lot more epic. Anywho. After burning the rest of my time in Hollywood, I was glad to leave.
I went to Santa Monica and met up with a friend. We got dinner at Misfit. It’s a really nice restaurant. Definitely looks like a place I’d regularly go to for Happy Hour. Regularly. It’s in downtown Santa Monica so we got to walk around for about an hour afterwards. This was a much more city-feeling expereince. The next day was a lot more fun. Spent the entire time in downtown Santa Monica, went to Sidecar Doughnuts, Kazunori (literally the best hand rolls I’ve ever had), and oh-so-awesome SUGARFISH. Really one of the best Sashimi and unagi I’ve ever had. I also spent a couple hours going along the Santa Monica Pier which I walked to from downtown. The beach is absolutely beautiful. A refreshing contrast from what you get from downtown in NYC for sure. This is a really good image of what I mean.
This was a fantastic trip, for barely spending 48 hours. I certainly intend to go back, on an actual vacation and experience the real LA life. Glad I got to go. Also, I assume I’ll get better at writing these chronicles. Until the next one!
Last updated: February 16, 2020