10: Los Angeles – The “Break” I Didn’t Want

Los Angeles, the city of angels, or in the words of Katy Perry, the one that got away. Technically it didn’t “get away” because in all honesty it’s still there. Despite what people may think, California has not broken off from the United States; yet. Los Angeles and I are on what some people like to call their relationships “a break” but unlike most we fully intend on getting back together. Long distance is a bitch. I went to L.A. my birthday weekend because I couldn’t think of a better way to treat myself for having five days off. Now the public transportation there is practically non-existent and it’s awful being a traveler without a car. Lucky for me I was able to catch a FlyAway bus from the airport to Hollywood and then hop on the train to go to North Hollywood to then walk a block so my friend could pick me up to get sushi in Burbank. This took a couple hours and for anyone familiar with the 405, that’s completely normal. I’m sure it didn’t help that this is the day there was a fire in the Chicago traffic tower so my 9:30am arrival turned into a 4:25pm arrival, on a Friday. Did I mention how lucky I am?
After riding on the FlyAway bus with one other traveler who just so happened to be from Nola, I told her the stories of my adventure and she gave me pointers on things to do next time I went. She also gave me her email telling me to send the link to my blog because it sounded like something she’d be interested in reading. Yes, people really are that friendly down south. After finally arriving outside of a Starbucks and ordering a triple shot of espresso at 7pm without getting any odd looks, I knew I was back. The city may sleep but the people barely do. Once Erica picked me up, instead of going to our usual Burbank sushi place Octopus, we saw a Tiki sushi bar that just opened up on Magnolia and decided to go. All the rolls were Hawaiian themed, the outside patio had layered tables on different levels with fire pits and even a mini pond. The service was something to be desired and they were still waiting on their liquor license but if done right this could be an amazing sushi place.
Following our dinner we strolled down Magnolia to get food truck dessert only to learn that due to our server taking forever with our sushi they were now all closed. To be fair, it was probably for the best. The next morning we went to our sorority alumni mock recruitment event at the UCLA house in Brentwood. This included, but was not limited to, seeing the house, pretending to be a PNM (potential new member), watching the UCLA girls practice their “bumping” on us, listening to all the cheers and performances, and mildly breaking my heart while wishing I was still a college kid for just one more semester. Le sigh. The girls were friendly, smart, color coordinated and I immediately get what our advisors would mean when they’d say “your dress is too short when you sit down”. And to think I thought they were just jealous all these years.

After an hour or so in the house telling them how awesome they did, the alumni then went around the corner to get brunch at the restaurant Soleil while we all networked and caught up with each other. Now last spring before I knew anything about anything, talking about the entertainment industry made me feel completely inadequate and unknowledgeable. However now, even though I haven’t done much at all, being around it makes you so much more familiar with the lingo; sign up for this site, google this agency, go to this guy for headshots. Most brunches end up being a lighthearted way to share your resume and tell people how to improve theirs without even trying to do so. It’s just the easiest conversation.

Leaving the girls and knowing I wouldn’t be seeing them again for a while was sad but then again there is nothing sad about going to the Santa Monica Pier, riding a mini rollercoaster and overlooking the beach while eating house made ice cream. And did I mention the weather was perfect? It always is. Once we left the pier and avoided the boardwalk below of vendors and street performers, we wandered around the Promenade mall until attempting to locate our car, which took longer than expected. We went back to Erica’s house, lounged around, and began planning my last day in L.A. Erica, like the gem she is, managed to save a limited edition Surge, which if you’re not familiar with was Coke’s retaliation to Mountain Dew in the 90’s. It was every bit of sugary crack that I remembered it to be. Say crack again. Anyways we shared it over pizza and then immediately decided an early morning hike was absolutely necessary.
The next day Erica, my old roommate Liz and I went to Griffith to do a very normal, very typical hike on a path and then turn around to go back down. We were wrong. We attempted to find a trailhead near where we parked and we thought we found one that’d be moderately steep but an all-around good workout. The trail part ended all too soon, getting narrower and steeper. First began the lunges, then began the grabbing and before I knew it I was on hands and knees literally crawling around some of the corners. Luckily there was a group of boys in front of us so we thought “if they could keep going, then so could we”. HA!

While I was trying to keep my mild asthma under control and poor Erica had a sprained wrist she couldn’t move, Liz was the front runner. After I turned around to look back the way we came, I quickly began praying that this trail would eventually spit us out on a different path because there was no way we were reverse scaling the side of this hill/mountain. Unless of course we wanted to break about 4-16 bones on the way down. Once we got to the “top” there was a fence we had to climb and instead of spitting us out on a trail it spit us out on the road that leads you to the observatory. Now that is was a call a hike. It took maybe 20 minutes to get to the top and over 40 to walk back down the easy way.

What’s funny is upon moving to L.A. my mom, my best friend Nichole and I drove to the observatory, and once we got there we saw a couple climb the fence after an apparent hike. My mother told me to never do anything that crazy and when I looked down I thought “there is no way in hell”. I suppose I was wrong and I also owe my mother an apology for almost breaking half my body. Woops. Regardless the hike was incredibly exhilarating and, given the opportunity, I would blindly do it again. I said my goodbyes to Liz as she went on to her acting class and then asked Erica to drive me by one of my favorite restaurants, Home in Los Feliz. I got a quick to go meal and while waiting I couldn’t resist downing a birthday Bloody Mary in less than ten minutes. The best Bloody Mary’s if I may add.
Once taking a much needed shower and packing up for my 5 o’clock flight, we used Erica’s tickets to venture to the final weekend of the LA County Fair. I’ve been to fairs and normally they’re slightly larger than carnivals but this place was absolutely huge. They had a pirate section that featured performance divers and a Jack Sparrow impersonator and a warehouse with walls lined in thousands of comics that included a Doctor Who phone booth set up and the original Bat Mobile. We passed a water show with leaping sea creatures, a circus section with aerial dancers, a petting zoo with llamas and zebras, a warehouse dedicated to “As Seen on TV” show casers, and that was just half of it.

I would love to go into detail on everything that we did and saw but all in all it was a great end to my L.A. trip, especially because I managed to do nearly everything I wanted to in just three days’ time. It was much more fun than my first visit to L.A. and considering I’m moving back the first chance I get it definitely won’t be my last. A dysfunctional relationship at best, maybe a little complicated but it’s the relationship I look forward to exploring in the near future.

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