Friday, February 1, 2013

La La Land

After over a month of being exceptionally lazy (alright I gotta give myself some credit, I do occasionally go to work) I decided I needed to kick January's ass and go do something exciting. During times like these where I find myself with a desire for a change of scenery but don't have much money or time, I will head down to Los Angeles. Two of my best friends (Grant & Mel) live there so I've always got a place to stay and am guaranteed a good time. I'll usually hop on a plane and head down a couple times a year to visit them and quench my thirst for an adventure.

Before I start talking about my trip, I've got to be honest - I actually completely and totally do not like Los Angeles. Yes I know, that is probably the most stereotypical San Franciscan thing I've ever said, but I just can't help it. I can see the beauty and the fun in it, and I absolutely LOVE its history, but the negatives outweigh the positives for me. I can't stand the smog, the traffic, the horribly fake people, the lack of public transportation, the quality of the water - seriously I could go on forever. If it weren't for the fact that my friends live there I would probably only ever make a trip down to go to Disneyland, that's it.

 That being said, I did enjoy myself on my short three day jaunt this past week. I took a late flight in, Grant picked me up at the airport and we immediately went to dinner and caught up on life. Then we headed over to Hollywood Boulevard for a failed attempt to get some dessert (and to admire all of the lovely creepers and tourists roaming the streets) before going back to his place to sit on the couch and watch Catfish all night. Yes I know, this doesn't sound much different than my life back at home! But everything is more fun when you're with your best friend.


 (Found Marilyn while trolling for cupcakes on Hollywood Blvd and felt required to take a photo) 

The next day we did actually get up and decide to be productive members of society. We grabbed some food and headed over to Malibu where we spent our day driving along the Pacific Coast Highway. While we were driving I realized that I was having the most stereotypical Californian experience. Grant has a Ford Mustang which we cruised in alongside the beach on a beautiful sunny day, palm trees swaying, music blasting, windows down, drinking lemonade - it was straight out of a movie. We ended up stopping to visit the Getty Villa, a Greek and Roman style mansion/art gallery hybrid. It was the first time I had been there and though it was beautiful, I will say it was slightly boring. The only thing that made it more fun is that we busted out our fake English accents and pretended to be tourists from London. The posh, upperclass English accent is the one Grant and I are the strongest at, so we've never had anyone question us even for a second. If you're ever bored somewhere with a friend I highly recommend pretending to be a foreign tourist!


(View of Malibu from a spot off PCH) 


(The Getty Villa's gorgeous pool)  

 That evening we decided to go out on the town, so we threw on some nicer clothes and started out by having dinner at a swanky restaurant called RivaBella on the Sunset Strip, which was definitely the highlight of the night. Besides the fact that it was sliiiiightly overpriced, the food was delicious and the ambiance was seriously gorgeous. That's another thing I actually like about Los Angeles - there's no denying that the cuisine is insanely good. LA has a lot of entrepreneurs, so there's tons of small, unique restaurants and eateries to try and I can't really think of a time I've dined in LA and been disappointed by my food.


(An Instagram photo Grant took of RivaBella. To check out more of his photos from my trip check out instagram.com/robert_grantn)

 The next day we had planned on getting up early and seizing our day with a nice long hike, but we stayed up far too late the night before and ended up sleeping in. Epic fail. So we grabbed some food and headed over to a local mall to visit my friend Mel while she was at work. We caught up with her for a while before heading to a lovely hiking spot in the Santa Monica mountains where we ate lunch, enjoyed a gorgeous view of the entire city and did actually get a bit of a hike in.


(View from our hike. You can see a bit of the city on the left and the ocean on the right.) 

That evening I hopped on a plane back to San Francisco. A really quick trip, but it definitely lifted my spirits and helped get me out of my funk. I think I've decided that from now on, I am going to try to travel somewhere once a month. Not necessarily a big trip, but just somewhere outside of the Bay Area - whether it be a day trip to Tahoe or a whole new country. I find that being stuck in one place for too long really drains my energy and narrows my mindset. I've already got January checked off my list, and now I'm excited to see where February takes me!

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