Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chronicling Los Angeles + Las Vegas

Jess’ highly anticipated East Coast America trip has come and gone by so quickly, but not without creating a multitude of unforgettable memories and photo opportunities. The initial drive from LAX airport to our first port of call, Redondo Beach, gave a quick insight into the vast displays of culture and people in the city, from the chaotic sixteen- lane highways (eight lanes each direction), to the iconic street names (Rodeo, Sunset, Beverley) and the general hustle and bustle of the entertainment capital of the world. This being the first time in Los Angeles, we definitely sought out the main tourist attractions such as: viewing the Hollywood sign from the Griffith Observatory, Beverley Hills and its array of shopping destinations, the famous beaches (Malibu, Venice, Redondo), Disneyland and probably my the highlight of the trip: the Warner Brothers studio tour, where I let the fangirl inside me escape as I got the chance to roam the streets and sets of some of my favourite television shows. 

We were then off to Las Vegas, where the road trip itself offered breathtaking views of fields of cacti in the desert and prehistoric ghost towns along the way. Geographically Las Vegas couldn’t be in a more random spot, situated basically in the middle of the desert. I believe this place is a definite must for your bucket list, even if you’re like me and gambling and drinking in excess isn’t your thing, (the higher legal drinking age also puts a damper on things) just once everyone should experience this over the top, city of lights. You only have to walk to the next adjacent hotel and you are suddenly transported into a new city. One night we went from our hotel, replicating Venice (‘The Venetian’), then off to Rome (‘Caesar’s Palace’), then finally to New York (aptly named ‘New York, New York’). The shopping was also out of this world and we literally shopped until we could no longer walk. 

After spending a few nights in Vegas and a small fortune, we headed back to the state of California, this time to Santa Monica. The effect’s of America’s financial crisis were most apparent here, and it was heartbreaking to see some of the wealthiest citizens zip past the unsettling amount of homeless people, in their million dollar cars. Up until this point we had had a tight, action packed schedule and it was nice to relax by the ocean and do some of our own exploring which wasn’t so typically ‘touristy’. Here we visited cute beachside cafes, watched an L.A Dodgers baseball game, and drove around the residential areas of Los Angeles, witnessing the architecture and housing styles of decades past. Before we knew it, our two weeks were over and we transitioned from the heat wave that reached 47 °C, back to rainy, cold Sydney. Running the risk of sounding cliche: this was definitely a trip of a lifetime, and Los Angeles, you can definitely expect me back sometime in the near future.