LA has been so jampacked with things to do that I’ve neglected writing a daily recap of my adventures. Instead here’s a summary on my LA experience!
Our morning started with a drive to Arcadia from Anaheim where we would be staying for a few days. This quiet neighborhood close to the famous Santa Anita racetrack was interesting! There were peacocks roaming freely in some areas and are protected by the city.
We walked around Chinatown in LA but not much stood out for us there. We then went for dinner with our family friends to El Torito for Mexican food. We had to wait 15 minutes for our table but the servers were nice enough to serve us chips and salsa at the bar while we waited. The menu had a large selection to choose from. I had the Cajun Baja Shrimp Tacos and my bf had the Macho Platter (chile relleno, enchilada, beef crispy taco, and carnitas tamale, with rice and sauteed vegetables). It was made for a macho man! LOL
After a relaxing day in Arcadia/Pasadena, we ventured out to Hollywood to check out what all tourists see – Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Hollywood sign. All can be seen on the famous Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles. I was forewarned that the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Walk of Fame, etc wasn’t as glamorous as what TV made it out to be, and boy was that correct! There were lots of people dressed up in costumes soliciting for you to take pictures with them in exchange for money. Because it was a Sunday, the Walk of Fame (especially right outside the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre) was PACKED with people – so packed it was hard to walk through the crowds and look at the handprints and footprints, so I pushed my way through and ignored the theatre. Instead we took some photos from across the street and just looked at the stars up and down the street. I even found Marilyn Monroe’s star!
After an uneventful trip to Hollywood Blvd, we made our way to Santa Monica Beach & Pier, where we walked on the boardwalk and saw a demonstration regarding the war and people against the war. Both the beach and the pier was packed with locals and tourists enjoying the sunshine.
We then made our way to the infamous Venice Beach, now popular for its medicinal marijuana stores, throngs of tourist gift shops and Muscle Beach (didn’t see anyone walking out there so didn’t take a photo of it)! It felt a bit grimey and lots of weird people. However we did check out some local street performers.
We finished off the night with some delicious In-N-Out Burgers and Fries! Great ending to a long day!
Overall this tourist experience of Los Angeles was a bit overwhelming and quite tiring. I was tired of people soliciting for me to take photos with them for money or take and pay for a CD of some up and coming LA singer. People were aggressive on the road and in person!
We went to Universal Studios with a friend of ours. Thanks to my wonderful friend we got some hookups and ended up skipping the line-ups for some of the rides! The new Transformers 3D ride was amazing! The special 3D effects made it feel quite real. The best ride at the park. I also liked The Mummy rollercoaster in the dark – similar to Space Mountain at Disneyland. I was not a huge fan of The Simpsons ride, which made me feel a small bit of motion sickness. Overall Universal Studios was a bit smaller than I expected, but quite neat to do the backstage tour to see the sets and King Kong 3D. I liked the Universal CityWalk, where we went to Pink’s Hot Dogs to pick up some dinner on the way home.
This was a super special day for us, as we had made it onto the reservations list for tickets to watch a taping of Conan O’Brien! We went to the WB studios around 11:00am and spent some time making our signs that we wanted to show Conan. We then waited in line at 11:30am (position #7) for our wristbands. After we got our wristbands at around 12:30, we were told to come back around 3:15pm to lineup to get to the studio for the taping.
For lunch we ended up on Urbanspoon’s top rated restaurant in Burbank – Porto’s Bakery & Cafe. This place was an amazing find! I will definitely be back again next time I’m in LA! They have the best pastries! For lunch we ordered a Cuban sandwich (which came with Plantain Chips), a side salad (which looked more like a full size salad but only cost us $2.99), an almond croissant and a guava strudel! In the end we were so full we had to save the guava strudel for later. We left with a few more almond croissants and other baked items for our hosts and ourselves for the next day’s breakfast. Two thumbs up for this bakery – and prices were really reasonable!
Back to the WB studio parkade, we waited at 3:15pm to be lined up in order of our positions, ushered by buses over to the studio stage 15, where we were then seated according to our position. My bf and I managed to sit in the 2nd row, far right, near Andy Richter’s podium where he does his jokes in the opening with Conan. The taping started at 4:30pm and ended within an hour. The guests we saw were actress Isla Fisher, Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) and Andrew W.K. (punk rock band). We loved that Conan came up to where my bf was sitting in the aisle and sang to a couple next to us for his goodbye song (not aired on TV, at the ending of the show). We were quite close to him!
After the show, we went back home, packed up and spent the night in Pasadena before our trip to San Francisco.
This Los Angeles part of the trip was more tiring than I expected – must have been all that summer heat as the temperatures rose each day we were there. However, we got to see a show taping, celebrity sightings (my bf swore he saw Wyclef Jean at Universal Studios and Tracy Morgan pull out of one of the parking lots near the WB studio), and eat some great California food!