From Jeddah to Los Angeles was written on my boarding pass that day when I checked in for the flight. I am flying to Los Angeles, probably one of the most popular states in USA that everyone has seen on their TV.
I flew to America a lot of times since 2016, but it’s going to be my first time flying to LA because Riyadh-based crew members are not operating this sector.
What made it extraordinary is that my friends (Suza, Audra, Vitri) and I are going there just for a mini vacation. It felt surreal because none of us could afford such a vacation if it wasn’t because of our job and the travel benefits that it brings us.
“So we decided that it’s a good idea to have a girls’ trip to LA and off we went there. And here are the photos…”
This might be the introduction of our travel story I would tell my kids one day.
Downtown LA: The First Impression
The day we arrived in LA, we figured our way to find the AirBnB apartment located in the downtown area. I thought it was a good idea to have a place to stay in the downtown area as it would be close to so many attractions or tourism sites. Boy, I was wrong.
While it was not that difficult to find the nearest bus or metro station, downtown LA is not necessarily the best location. If you are reading this blog post and you’re planning to travel around LA, it’s better to stay around Hollywood Boulevard.
I know it’s touristy, but at least you will easily find your way to almost everywhere by walking. And there are a lot of restaurants or food chains, so you don’t have to worry about daytime craving or being hungry in the middle of the night because your body is confused and still suffering from the jetlag.
We did not experience any harm or being robbed or anything dangerous. However, we were followed by a homeless person who was begging for money on the second day. We also saw a lot of people talk by themselves (not because they’re on the phone or practising for an audition, it’s simply because they’re no longer sane). And the smell of burn weeds was rampant. We did not know who was smoking what, but the smell occupied the whole area.
Much later after that trip, I read about how mass immigration and job loss have affected Californians and many other states’ residents. Many people cannot cope with the unemployment stress and turn into drug users, while some others gradually go insane.
So, Where Did We Go To?
While some parts of LA show blatant poverty, some others were flashing shiny and entertaining. It’s like two sides of a coin. We went to places that we only saw on TV or read on the travel websites before the trip. Here is the highlight of our trip to LA.
Universal Studios Hollywood
It was the long-awaited travel agenda, because who doesn’t like theme parks? After all, we are just kids at heart. We spent half the day there and I genuinely thought it was not enough.
If you want to get the best of experience, you should be there literally when the park just opens. Or better yet, get a 2-day pass so you can explore it in your own pace and maximize your chance to try every single ride there.
Access Hollywood Tours
This two-hour drive around the celebrity homes invited us to look from up-close how the neighbourhood looks like. Big houses (or mansions) with private pools, where celebrities live or Hollywood movies were shot at.
We saw houses that belong to Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, Sylverster Stallone, Lucille Ball, Michael Jackson, Donald Trump, and many more. There were unique houses that became popular after they appeared in Hollywood movies like Tomorrowland, The Great Gatsby, The Godfather, and Iron Man.
Santa Monica Beach
I could not remember when was the last time I went to the beach with friends. Probably back in 2011 or 2012 when I went to Parangtritis Beach in Jogja with my high school friends. I forgot how fun it was, even though I was not brave enough to swim a little bit closer to the big waves.
The Last Bookstore
Visiting a bookstore (or two, or more!) is always a good idea. And when you’re in LA, you have to visit this famous independent bookstore. Not only because it’s good for pictures, but also the ambience is really nice. I could spend hours here if I was alone and explore the endless labyrinth of books.
Sliding from the 70th floor of a building doesn’t sound appealing to a lot of people. Especially those who are afraid of heights, and we identify as part of those people. But we did it anyway. It was nerve-wracking but hey we made it!
We had a lot of fun indeed, you could see it in the pictures. We might not visit a lot of places, but each of our visits was not in a rush and we enjoyed it. LA is indeed a good destination for girls trip because you have people to share happiness with.
I will write more in details about some of the places from the highlight above on separate posts. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for my upcoming travel stories 😉
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