I finally got the time to sit down and finish up my post trip blog updates! Between my job (yes, I have a job and I don’t blog/travel the world for concerts as a living), looking after the dog and my sister being hospitalised, time has been really tight.
Anyway, after finally going to Downtown LA to check out Staples Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Boulevard and Chinatown, it’s a lot more boring and bland than I thought. I know it’s not all glitz and glamour from the countless number of warnings I’ve received over the years but it was really way more bland and soulless than I imagined. I’d probably skip the entire Greater Los Angeles area if it wasn’t where Tom Bradley International Airport (LAX) is located.
This reminds me: when I arrived at LAX and went through immigration, the immigration officer was giving me grief about how Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, etc are different cities and not “Los Angeles” per se. I know she is taking her job very seriously to weed out would be illegal immigrants and what-not crap but really, I don’t live there so dafuq I know about American address formats?
I was pretty annoyed with her tone and attitude for asking me so many questions about the geography of USA but I know how easily they can haul me up if I put up a fight so I tried my best to stay as calm as I can while saying, “Well, I wouldn’t know how American addresses work would I?” I knew I gave off a “wtf” kind of edge in my voice and fortunately, she realised that I had a point about not being familiar with American cities and addresses and she softened her tone from there and let me through quickly enough after that without further hassle.
I was really unlucky to be served by that officer; my friend got through immigration fine without much hassle. You know, when I went through the immigration at JKF back in 2004 when NYC was still reeling from 9/11, I got better attitude from them than this officer at LAX.
ANYWAY, while I am mostly not impressed with LA, I like Santa Monica better. I think Venice Beach is the only place worth visiting in the Greater LA area. Even the Santa Monica Pier is kinda meh.
I like the whole relaxed and bohemian vibe at Venice Beach; like whatever goes man. The wide open space and clear blue skies just felt so relaxing!
While we were there, there was this group of people who were just doing their own thing, dancing with roller skates which was pretty damn cool!
As much as it was bright and sunny, the sand was actually pretty cold. As I had worn shoes, I gave up and took off my shoes to walk barefooted in the sand. It was so tiring as the sand was very fine and your foot will sink into the sand with every step. Furthermore, the sand was cold as well.
While I like walking barefooted in the sand, I was honestly afraid of stepping onto the needle of a used syringe so yeah, the moral of the story is, always wear/bring a pair of slippers when going to the beach… regardless of the season/temperature.
So since I had removed my shoes to walk on the beach barefooted, I decided to just walk all over Venice Beach and the side walk barefooted. I was just too lazy to put on my shoes and possibly have to remove them again later.
We stayed at Venice Beach until sunset before we headed over to Santa Monica Pier. Like I said earlier, it was kinda meh… the amusement park is mostly for kids and I guess the food available there wasn’t particularly enticing to our palate.
That said, the all important parking tips! We set our GPS to Venice Beach and we somehow ended up at the beach carpark instead of the parking structures so we’re like, whatever, let’s just park at the beach. That costed us USD9.00 for 3 hours.
Over at Santa Monica Pier, we parked at Parking Structure 7 and took a 5~10 minutes walk over to the Pier. Structure 7 and 8 are the nearest to Santa Monica Pier. The first 90 minutes is free and the next 60 minutes cost USD1.00; every 30 minutes after that costs USD1.50. There is a car park directly beside the pier and that costs USD8.00 if I remember right.
So this pretty much sums up the more highlight worthy bits of my trip to the West Coast of USA. Even though I hate going through their immigration, I hope I’ll be able to visit again soon.