Bags packed...car fueled...itinerary handy... excitement over-ruling... Yayyyy! My friend and I are on a road trip to LA, the world famous Hollywood hub. While I already pacified my wanderlust soul of not being able to completely cover a place as vibrant and happening as LA in just two days, my friend, who was a frequent visitor, reassured that things would be fine. Waking up at 4 am to a quiet, stand-still morning, we headed to the US 101 South Highway to witness the most scenic route alongside the Pacific coast. It was such a bliss to watch the Sun dawn upon the lush green mountains, with its golden rays sparkling on the deep blue waters of the mighty Pacific Ocean. Grabbing a hot cup of coffee and sandwich for breakfast, we drove through the phenomenal Pacific Coast Highway, just to wish we had more time to get a glimpse of all the vista points en-route to LA. Our first pit stop for the day was the Santa Barbara beach, quite serene and welcoming with its white sands and relatively few tourists at noon. And, that was our first dip into the waters of the Pacific as the waves gently kissed our
feet, and swept us off the shore. Pressed for time, we hopped back into the car, speeding across the LA city limit to halt at the Malibu Hindu Temple for the longing darshan of Lord Venkateswara as much as the mouth-watering tamarind rice and sweet pongal for lunch! 😊
It is a thing for most tourists (who frequent LA) to spend a day or two chilling and exploring the stunningly gorgeous stretch of beaches, starting with the beautiful scenery at Malibu to riding the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica pier and boardwalk at the Venice beach. While we were just able to drive past these places to reach the city, I had firmly made up my mind to pay a second visit to LA just for its beaches. Moving on to the more historic district of downtown and then to South Highland Avenue, I fell in love with the LA-style of houses, so closely packed, yet distinct in design and color. Now, to the much-awaited HOLLYWOOD Boulevard, all young and inviting, on a Saturday evening, being our third stop and the main attraction of the day. What amazed me more about this place was its fair share of hipster
havens - men with long mustaches, funky hair styles, cowboy hats and sporty clothes speeding on Harley Davidsons and Ducatis in the middle of a jam-packed road, than walking the much hyped ‘Walk of Fame’, which I felt was a bit cheesy. But yes, it would be kinda creepy if you miss out on that as a first-timer to LA. The very scene of glamorous Hollywood nightclubs, retro-style bars and pubs, wax museums and high party spirits of the locales brought back the feel of Picadilly in London and Shibuya in Tokyo, but for the silver screen sets, recording studios and dance schools here. And not to miss out on Ghiradelli when you’re in LA or SFO as they have their original chocolate factory outlets here well known for lip-smacking chocolate bars, ice-creams and confectionery.
Exhausted of continuous driving until then, we bought tickets for a open-top bus tour up the Beverly Hills, another major tourist attraction at Hollywood. While our bus-driver-cum-tourist-guide sped up the hills, pointing out to the mansions of celebrities and yapping about his experiences of LA, all that was running through my mind was this, “Life is unfair!!!” Well, I couldn’t help feeling discriminated looking
at the the kind of lifestyle the stars get to live, and some of the residents there even gave us dirty looks annoyed by the sight of a tourist bus invading into their privacy. But who cares! That wasn’t gonna stop any of us from awing and envying those high-gated bungalows of celebrities we’ve followed and gossiped about all our lives. Nevertheless, we stopped by the view points to click pictures of the Hollywood sign and get a panoramic view of LA from the hill top, certainly making it one of the most beautiful cities with its ravishing skyline and tall skyscrapers. Pushing our overworked bodies for some star gazing from the Griffith Observatory seemed a bad idea then and hence, we decided to call it a day. That brought us to the end of Day 1, lost in awe and splendor of the land of Hollywood. Well, the traffic in LA might leave you complaining, especially the constant honking and tail-gating of cars being quite common; but you just gotta go with the flow and you will fall in love with the city.
Day 2 was exclusively dedicated to Disneyland and the Disney Adventure Park as we had
free one-day hopper passes (the fruit of my friend’s good deed at work and I just got lucky going with her! 😉). Having missed the ‘Disney experience’ at Paris in 2014 due to lack of time, I wasn’t prepared to overlook a second chance at LA this time. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to start a new blog to pen down all my experiences in Disney; bringing back fond memories of fairy tales, cartoon characters and other childhood fantasies of stories we’ve heard, read and pondered as kids. The sets of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Peter Pan’s Flight’, ‘Winnie the Pooh’, ‘Mr.Toad’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ deserve a special mention. Sailing the happy cruise of ‘It’s a Small World’ and clicking pictures with Mickey & Mini at Toon Town are not just fun for kids but sure to excite adults as well! Above all, the most divine experience for me, was watching the Disney electric (laser lights) parade, which is supposedly one of the highest rated performances in the world. Wherever you are or whatever you may be up to, do not forget to assemble outside the Small World building sharp at 8.45 pm
to witness the parade, followed by the fire works over the stunning Sleeping Beauty castle, the center piece of attraction of Disneyland. It is indeed a lifetime experience to witness imagination meet reality here!
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