Published: January 7th 2011January 7th 2011
Like I said in my last blog, in this blog I’ll tell about my experiences in Los Angeles around Christmas and New Year.
Los Angeles is the second largest city of the USA with over 16 million people, behind New York City. The total area of L.A is bigger than N.Y.C though; it’s more spread out. It’s located in the southern part of the state of California. Actually L.A is not a very attractive city to visit as a tourist to be honest, there aren’t that many particular things to see and do and I didn’t like it; it’s just a city and it’s not worth it coming all the way here just to see L.A only! I came more to visit my friend Jared too, therefore I did enjoy my stay.
After arriving at Los Angeles International airport, Jared’s father (Ernie) came and picked me up. Jared had to work so he couldn’t pick me up. We drove and spent some time at Venice Beach, located in western Los Angeles. It’s a long beach with a promenade and a lot of shops and restaurants along. The place is a little bit rundown though, some parts
were a bit dirty and there are many marihuana shops around. Apparently you can get a “doctor’s card” which allows you to buy and use marihuana (pot) for medical reasons; each shop has a doctor that can allow you to, legally, use it. All you have to do is telling them you have migraine, back pain or whatever. Hahaha!
Before arriving at home, we also went to a mall where Jared’s father had to look for some stuff. Once at home I met Jared’s mom (Carolyne) and his sister (Breanna). I was tired of the whole day travelling so I went to sleep until Jared came home later. I met Jared on my trip in Italy in July 2007. At first we didn’t keep in contact much but since I found him on Facebook and also on Couchsurfing, we had much more contact with each other and the idea to visit came up. Jared was excited himself to have me around for Christmas; he always tells me how he admires me for all the travels I do and that he wants to do it too! I always tell him that it’s not hard to do, just make it a goal
and go for it!
The day I arrived in L.A was my birthday so they sang happy birthday with a small cake, which was great. In the evening we went out to a couple of bars around Hollywood and had some drinks with two other friends of Jared. The next day we went out in Hollywood, to a club called Playhouse. Jared and Bree managed to get free entry for us all, also Faz, a friend of Jared. The club itself was great! I loved the club, the music. It’s a real club! A LOT of pretty girls around, unbelievable! I hated the people in there though; many were very arrogant like they’re all Hollywood stars or something! Drinks were ridiculously expensive though ($13 for a shot of tequila)! After all I’m glad they brought me to this club though, it was an experience on its own! Other clubs in Hollywood we visited were Ecco and Kress. We never had to pay the entrance fee because Jared and/or Faz know the people working out there, which was great because the entries were like $20 all the time! One day before Christmas I went with Jared, Breanna and Alejandra (a
friend of Jared) to the mall were they did some Christmas shopping and I bought some stuff too! It’s very traditional in the USA to buy a Christmas gift for your family and closest friends. On Christmas Eve everybody opened their gifts which were under the tree and I got a red Los Angeles Dodgers cap from Jared and a brown California pull-over from his parents!!! During the Christmas dinner we ate a lot! There were some other friends of the family visiting too and they had dinner as well! It was a great day and I was glad to get an opportunity to see how an American family spend their Christmas! The next day they brought me to Hollywood where we visited the Hollywood Boulevard, here’s where the famous walk of fame is! The street was crowded with tourists! It was great to have seen this street and I took pictures of the starts of Michael Jackson, Nat King Cole, Bob Marley, Whoopi Goldberg and Sylvester Stallone among others. When I went to Vegas, Jared had to wake up early to bring me to the airport, Burbank airport which is much closer to his house than L.A International. Another
place we visited was the Griffith Tower & Observatory. It’s located on a hill from where you have an excellent view of Los Angeles downtown and all its surroundings. The views are amazing, we went just at sunset. At the observatory there is a planetarium you can also look at the stars from their telescopes, which we didn't since it was very busy! There are a lot of displays around about the space and science in general at the place.
For new years Breanna’s boyfriend, Tommy, and Tommy’s mom came over from Missouri. They celebrate New Year way different here. There are some house parties around and clubs are ridiculously expensive to get in. There are no fireworks at all! We all went to two different house parties where we met some of Jared's friends, including Faz, Andrew, Alejandra, Tania, Angie among others.
After all I can’t complain at all!!! The Thornton family treated me just great, like a part of the family and I’m very grateful!!! I had a wonderful time with them! Jared and I spoke lot and I told him he should start looking for another job because I find that he works a lot
(8 til 8 sometimes, 5 days a week which means 60 hours but they only pay him like 50 because those extra 10 hours is the extra time he needs to finish what he needs to finish). He thinks the same way and he doesn’t really like his job. I always say that we should work to live, not live to work. Life is short and we have to enjoy it! But obviously he should keep this job until he finds something else. I felt kind of sorry for him to be working this much. I’m kind of encouraging him to think about the working holiday visa to Australia; I hope he’ll do it...he’ll have the time of his life! He was also encouraging me to just “go for it bro” when you see a nice girl, just go to her and start talking...you have nothing to lose! Like I said in my prior blog, I normally don’t have the courage to do so, unless I notice that the girl is making eye-contact and is kind of interested too!
Jared is a great guy, cool, friendly, funny and outgoing. I now consider Jared among of my best friends abroad.
I hated his addiction to the X-Box game “Call of Duty-Black OPS” and I always make fun out of it; he used to play this for “hours and hours” online together with his boy, Faz (that’s how he calls his best friends; his boys!). But I found out that he only had the X-box and the game for over a month so within a month or three he won’t be playing it as much as he does now. Like I said before, Jared wants to travel more too and hopefully we might do one or more trips together, including Brazil 2014 which he’s crazy to go to for the World Cup. The only thing that messed up the holiday a little bit at the end was when I accidentally dropped Jared’s mobile phone in the water. He needed to go and get a new one at the store and he wanted to pay it all by himself but there was no way I’d let him do that. Then he said he’ll pay 30% of it and I paid the other 70%.
Jared and the Thornton family, a hearty thank you for letting me have such a wonderful holiday with
all of you!!!
There are more photos below