Aah...California. I miss it horribly. Its like that old song says "Then my eyes turn west-ward, knowing that's the place I love the best of all. California, I've been blue, since I've been away from you."
I got to spend a whole week with Blake in California, and it was absolutely and surprisingly wonderful. We stayed in Westwood, a little "suburb" of Los Angeles near UCLA, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Blvd. and West Hollywood. Everything was wonderful...the food, the weather, the sites, the diversity, the driving. I know I sound crazy because many people loathe LA, but Blake and I loved it! The people were suprisingly very nice, especially in traffic. We felt ourselves continually saying "Oh my, I totally would have gotten the bird for that move in Missouri traffic!" But the people are so cool and relaxed there. It just set the mood of California...extreme coolness.
The first day there, I visited Santa Monica Blvd., and couldn't stop thinking about my brother. It has this crazy, vintage, 80's surfer feel to it. The song "Santa Monica" by Everclear kept coming to mind 1) Because I was in Santa Monica and 2) It use to be my brother's favorite song:
We can live beside the ocean Leave the fire behind Swim out past the breakers Watch the world die
A definite cool, relaxed area full of history, surfers and brightly colored people and clothing:)
We ate at a restaurant called Ketchup, owned by Heinz, and we tried 5 flavors of ketchup: Chipotle BBQ, Ranch, Original, Mango and Maple Syrup...crazy delicious! We then went to the famous Geisha House on Sunset Blvd. and drank some sake...it was such a great night!
We went to Venice Beach the next day and got to flex our muscles on Muscle Beach...so much diversity and crazies there! I loved it...I couldn't stop laughing at all the crazies.
On Monday, we went to Disneyland and acted like little kids, dressing up in Minnie and Mickey Mouse paraphanalia, screaming loudly on all the rides, eating Mickey Mouse shaped cookies and getting completely soaked on Splash Mountain that goosebumps were almost permanently formed on our skin. Disneyland was a great experience as an "adult" and I highly recommend doing it sometime!
We went to Santa Barbara the next day, which was GORGEOUS!! I'm so jealous that people in SB actually get to enjoy 65-85 degree weather 365 days out of the year!! Blake's friend, Daniel, who we were staying with in Westwood, had parents living in SB. So we went to visit and it was awesome!! We ate a Julia Child's favorite Mexican Restaurant, which had delicious tortillas! We then visited the beach, hiked to the top of a mountain and viewed SB from the top...gorgeous! Lastly, we visited Daniel's family, who grow avocados, limes, lemons, plums, oranges, bananas and apricots in their backyard!!! It was absolutely INSANE and tasty:)
On Wednesday, we visited the Getty Museum, which had pieces by Van Gogh, Gaugin, Renoir, Monet, etc. I loved it! It also had this amazing garden that had huge bougainvillea vines, carefully placed rocks in a stream that made music when the water rushed passed them and a maze/piece of art made of plants and flowers. We had to take a tram to get to the museum. We stayed till it closed, and had to take the tram back to the car. These 2 little old women were too slow getting out of the tram and we're stuck inside the tram...Daniel tried to get them out by pushing open the doors, but the tram started moving to go back up to the museum...Daniel held on for a little while, but then gave up...it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen:)
On Thursday, we went to San Diego and went to the Wild Animal Park and San Diego Zoo in the same day! The Wild Animal Park was awesome! We went on a safari and fed a baby giraffe! We saw lions, giraffes and rhinos roaming in wide open/sectioned off spaces...it was soooo cool! We then went to our bed and breakfast in Little Italy and ate gnocchi...yum! Then it was off to the zoo, which we tackled in 2 1/2 hours...not that impressive and the animals didn't have as much room to roam as did the animals at the park...BUT, we did see arangutangs and chimps getting down and dirty...Blake took some great pics...we felt weird watching.
We went to Sea World the next day, where we went on a behind the scenes tour and fed and petted a dolphin! SO COOL:) We also got to see a 1 day old baby dolphin...so cute! BUT, my favorite part was getting to pet and feed bat rays. They are like cats and really just wanted love all over you. I seriously probably could have spent the whole day with them. There was this one sting ray that kept coming back to me and having me pet and feed him...I named him Pinky:) I told Blake that I want my own aquarium, with a sting ray that I can scuba dive with every morning before work...he was down with it, completely.
The night ended with Shamu splashing us in the front row and breaking my phone and freezing our butts off...it was still a great day, though.
Our last day in California was spent at La Jolla Cove, where we attempted to snorkle, but there were just too many inexperienced kayakers, who kept running into us...so we left and went to Balboa Park and ate a tasty pizza. We then rushed back to LA for our flight, but before we left, we went to Little Tokyo for some sushi...Blake ate squid and I didn't know if he was going to make it:)
We ended the trip with an interesting experience at LAX. There was a line to get your baggage tags, a line to drop off your baggage, a line to get your boarding pass and id checked and a line to go through security...we barely made our flight!!! We finally boarded the plane and had a loud transvestite sitting in front of us and a cranky baby sitting behind us...we were on the red eye and got absolutly no sleep!
We got home on Sunday...today is Wednesday and I'm still exhausted, but it was totally worth it. I miss California...I hope to live there someday. I think it would be possibly the easiest place to be an individual and to be your real self. I loved it...
"Any one who likes to wander ought to keep this saying in his mind,
Absence makes the heart grow fonder" of the good old place you leave behind.
When you've hit the train awhile, seems you rarely see a smile;
that's why I must fly out yonder, where a frown is mighty hard to find!"
"California, here I come right back where I started from.
Where Bowers of flowers bloom in the spring.
Each morning at dawning, birdies sing an' everything.
A sunkist miss said, "Don't be late" that's why I can hardly wait.
Open up that Golden Gate.
California here I come. "
*Pictures to be posted soon:)