Sunday, September 29, 2013

and i'll see you on the other side.

i am backkkk - even though i kinda wish i wasnt.
funny how im getting really bad withdrawals this time from this holiday.. i guess that means i really had a helluva time? woke up yesterday to no one in the house, nothing to eat, no place to explore, no coffee run to walgreens... and i felt like i really, really wanted to get my ass back to the States where hearty breakfasts and blue skies await :'(

guess this just means more saving on my end for more awesome vacays to come?

i dont know how to get started with my photos as usual, cos i have more than a thousand of 'em, haha. posted some of my faves up on instagram at @druggedreams already so i'll try not to repeat those.. and its almost impossible to summarise my entire trip's worth of photos, experiences, and whatnots in one post so i've decided to dedicate today's just to LA :)

LA's pretty much a touristy place if you ask me. if you're not keen on doing studio tours or visiting theme parks then i guess you can actually skip LA altogether. its my second time to LA - the first being 17 freakin' years ago - so i decided to revisit Disneyland (i recall having one of the best times of my childhood with my sisters there, chasing one another at the huge carpark in Anaheim) and Universal Studios Hollywood (i still have the photo of us screaming at the top of our lungs in the Jurassic Park ride with my dad!).
sad to say, the charm's no longer there. guess age has caught up with me but still, spent some memorable moments with the boy just exploring the parks and queuing for photo-ops with the characters, haha.

and because we drove around in LA (i've heard the public transport is highly unreliable and friends have told me its a MUST to drive in that city), we managed to travel out of downtown LA, just to spend some evenings chilling at the beaches, people-watching, seagull-watching, with coffee/sandwich in hand, until it got too cold for us to stay out.. and we both enjoyed that alot :) 
makes me more sure than ever that free-and-easy's the way to go.

for those who have asked me to share my itinerary, just to let you know that this was the route i did:
LA -> Vegas -> Bishop -> Fresno -> Monterey -> San Francisco

due to time constraints i actually had to shave some things off the itin in the end so feel free to ask me more questions via email and i'll try my best to give you some advice! 

deluge of pictures... so here goes!

sooo hungry after we landed, we took a quick shower and headed straight to the Hollywood and Highland Center for lunch. 
walked past Johnny Rockets and thought, what better way to welcome ourselves than to eat at a typical American diner? minutes later we were wolfing down burgers and shakes.

Welcome to the USA. 

and if you have really sharp eyes you'd prolly notice the chilli packets on our table, hahaha!
they don't serve chilli (only hotsauce which is like tabasco) so we prepped our own and brought these over with us - turned out to be a real lifesaver ;)

Hollywood -

Santa Monica, where we almost froze our asses off at the beach.
packed for a summer vacay but it was about 18deg with strong winds at the pier! we were adamant about staying out and enjoying the scenery so we bought ourselves hot drinks and sat out for abit.
spent quite a long time watching people playing at the fitness corner and when i mean play... i mean couple yoga, fitness buffs swinging from bar to bar ala cirque du soleil with no harnesses, and i saw some guy climb up a rope about 6m high so as to reach the top of the bar to do pull-ups. gulps.
all the while i was sooo scared he'd fall but he was so awesome that even the boy was impressed. 

at Venice Beach on another day. full of touristy shops, weird men, and weed doctors. 

Disneyland was dressed up in preparation for Halloween! 

Universal Studios Hollywood.

i ran after these guys once i saw them. haha.

one thing i really enjoyed was the Warner Bros studio tour at Burbank - got to step into the actual sets of the Mentalist, Pretty Little Liars, the forest where Jurassic Park was filmed, the facade of ER and the walk-up apartments of Sheldon's and Penny's...! 
if you're a behind-the-scenes buff like me you should definitely make this trip :)

they build these houses as generic as possible so they can dress it up/down depending on the style of the movie/drama. no one actually films within these houses - they're used as offices! 

had a really informative sesh at the studios - thought the boy would be bored outta his brains because he doesnt watch these dramas but he was kept thoroughly entertained! 
highlight of the tour would be stepping into the set of Central Perk!! i literally squealed when i got in.

for fellow Big Bang fans.. here is the tiny set they filmed Wolowitz in for the space shuttle take-off!
its sooo compact it must have been tough filming in it, haha.

got a BAZINGA tee for my sister and was super tempted to get the soft kitty cap but alas.. i was reminded that im nearing 30 and shouldnt be wearing such cutesy stuff.


had quite a long list of to-eats in LA but we didnt manage to strike them all off the list as we were sometimes too hungry to care, haha. but here are some recommendations!

everyone, and i meant EVERYONE, told me i had to eat at IHOP so off i went.

i know this is unphotogenic but this is what you get for two. 
i never ever managed to finish one serving by myself! even the boy struggles with finishing his.

tried their french toast one morning and its pretty good! save for the fact that the syrup's too sweet.

well.... let me just say that breakfasts are huge things in the States.
once i ordered a coffee and it came in a cup that was about the size of my palm... needless to say i never ordered it again. but these hearty breakfasts kept us going on the long road trips when we had no time to stop for lunch so kudos to them!

breakfast at another joint, Denny's.
not sure if you all recall but there used to be Denny's in Singapore! my dad used to bring us to Denny's alot when we were young so i was really happy to have the chance to eat it again :)

i actually prefer Denny's to IHOP because they have more savoury stuff on the menu!

Umami Burger - i swear its the best burger i've ever had.
but then again maybe im biased because its a truffle burger and i'd marry anything truffle!
wanted to head to Umami again in San Fran but we didn't manage to and i live in regret till today :(

also dropped by Magnolia Bakery at night for takeouts back to the hotel!

got myself a red velvet cupcake and thought it was not too bad.. but the boy's cheesecake was quite the bomb so do try the cheesecakes too if you can! 

so it was goodbye, LA after a good four days of dealing with the jetlag and feasting like the Americans - and the roadtrip started with this badass of a ride to Vegas ;)

little did i know the best times of the trip were still to come - the rest of my travelogue... to be continued! 

til then, have an awesome week ahead y'all!