This is our first official blog post about our California trip! Thanks for joining us and wanting to read along.
Our trip started with an attempt at an early night and great sleep the day of catching the plane, this would have gone well for me if my body had not decided to wake me up at 1.30 am and make it impossible to go back to sleep! This was a mixture of nerves, Excitement and having a touch of tonsillitis and a cold.
Greg and I were both proud to safely and successfully navigate the International airport where neither of us has been or had to do as an adult before, after lots of waiting we were finally on the plane, although neither of us had a window seat we were thankful to be sat with normal, hygienic people. We started learning lessons straight away #1 being, Qantas feeds you heaps so you don’t need to buy anything to take on the plane other than something to suck and chew whilst taking off and landing ( we bought a bag of M&M’s $10 bucks at duty free, not cheap!) The flight was long and neither of us could get more than 1 1/2 sleep, so to start our first day in L.A we were both sleep deprived and sore from the plane. The plane landed at 6.30am on Friday morning heading to customs we both noticed the summer heat instantly. Lining up with the crowd it took us an hour to get through customs, we were again thankful that it was not a peak time as it could have been so much longer! Locating our baggage was easier than we though and so was catching a shuttle bus to the hire car company. Though this is where the learning curves began!
The #2 lesson learned was that the hire company attendants know how to take advantage of obviously tired and exhausted tourists! By the time we had finally driven away we had already spent more than we expected/planned to spend on our first day. We had managed to avoid the majority of his up selling but were now driving a Camry instead of a Corolla thankfully it came with a GPS (our plan originally was to find somewhere to buy one, but are very glad we had it from the get go!). Being that our day started so early in the morning, we still had many hours before we could check into our hotel and get some much needed sleep! due to our exhaustion we found the traffic and navigation (even with GPS) to be overwhelming, needing somewhere to take a break and pull ourselves together we nervously made our way to Manhattan Beach as it was the nearest suitable place the GPS suggested. This was a lovely Beach town with many beautifully designed and unique beach houses, no two were the same and a great place to walk.
We decided to try and make our way to a shopping center to try and waste some time in and get some basic necessities, realizing that we couldn’t just google the address on our phones (no international roaming), we headed to Macca’s for free Wifi ( I know we said we would avoid it!) buying a water we sat down to figure out where a good place to shop was… this proved difficult as we were now scared about money and not wanting to over spend more! its very strange to buy things remembering to allow for tax and tip on top which brings us to lesson #3 Not everything is cheap in america, even if the label says it is.
Lesson #4 is one that we had been learning from the moment we left the airport but were really starting to realize now and that is Californian road rules are either very strange or the drivers are very relaxed in following them… a perfect example is there numerous intersections with a stop sign in each direction, unsure as to who gives way to who we thought we would just learn from the natives, now four intersections like this later we still have no idea!
Lastly Lesson #5 Prepare to be flexible! Our plan for our first day and night in L.A did not go to plan at all, after stopping for a quick shower, change of clothes and 20 minute nap at our hotel, the plan for the evening was to experience the Griffith Observatory, driving there was much easier for Greg after a nap, getting to the gates was where the fun began, the traffic was insane! Cars everywhere bumper to bumper as there was a show on at the Greek Theater, We thought the crowds were here for this, but found out how wrong we were when we got closer to the Observatory we realized that this was not entirely the case after having wasted an hour in traffic, getting to the top we found that there was no hope of getting a park anywhere within walking distance and we could see how packed with people the whole place was. We decided to postpone our visit till tomorrow and check out Hollywood Boulevard, which is only a 5 minute walk from our hotel, this was a great way to end a tumultuous day. Both of our spirits were lifted walking the street, seeing the sights, Visiting a forever 21! (dream store) and seeing people dressed up as characters from movies or just dancing by the street! we ended the Evening Picking up a slice of New York Pizza & trying a Giant Cinnamon Pretzel yum & yum! Before heading back to our hotel, very ready for a good nights sleep!
Thank you so much for reading, sorry for the novel!
Nicole & Greg
Now here are some photo’s for your enjoyment!