I decided not to post for a couple of weeks whilst in California, simply because I knew I would have a lot of time to kill on our flight to Tokyo… which we are on, right now and we are so excited! Our American part of the journey has come to an end and what a journey it has been! We have loved it, it’s also been rather scary and eye opening at times but we have seen some incredible things and have so many amazing memories to take away with us.
We are so ready for this next chapter and if the food and service on this flight is a sneak peak of what Japan has to offer then I think we are in for a treat!
But to recap about our last two weeks in the states, I will have to back track a little. Back to the beautiful beaches of Santa Barbara. What a place that was, exactly what you picture when you think of California. Beaches, chilled out, surf shops, expensive shopping, great food and most of all the extraordinary Californian sunsets 🌅
We were lucky enough to find ourselves a host to stay with in Santa Barbara on www.couchsurfing.com again and, again, we got very lucky.
Our host was Jessie, a wonderful girl who was so friendly and nice and lucky for us an amazing cook. On arrival Jessie and her housemate Jake welcomed us into their home with open arms and not just any home, a beautifully decorated wooden style bungalow, equipped with an avocado tree, hammock and just very nicely put together. Basically it looked like my dream house! Jessie cooked for us, shrimp, steak, potatoes, veg and it was delicious.
Jessie and Jake are really great hosts, great to chat to and very helpful. They told us all the places we had to check out, Jake even gathered stuff for us to make a fire at the beach on our last evening there and it was so nice and we all got on so well. We plan to catch up on FaceTime from Thailand. We love making friends along the way, it’s what it’s all about.
Santa Barbara is a super laid back city, it’s great to just relax and take in its beauty. Mel and I went out at 8 am, like we often do to make the most of our days but we soon realised nothing really opened until about 11am. It’s just so chilled out. We had an amazing breakfast and walked along the pier there but unfortunately we had the June Gloom most of the morning even though it was September but once it cleared up it was stunning.
We checked out the Funky Zone, a place kind of like Liverpool’s Baltic area and spent an afternoon in a great little bar called Lama Dog. We made friends with the bar man as we helped him complete his cross word which resulted in free drinks and then we got on the Brut Reynolds beers after hearing about his passing ☹️ and, well we got pretty drunk that afternoon in the sunshine.
We also met an amazing guy who was from England, an older man who was pretty drunk too and had come from a weed wedding that had been televised from California, that was interesting to hear about, he was incredibly witty and funny and had that great British sense of humour and had me and Mel in hysterics! Jessie joined us after work and we headed down to the beach for the sunset. It was just beautiful!!
It’s a great place and if you are ever in California, its a place you will want to visit.
From there our next stop was San Diego, we took a 6 hour train to get there. California is such a huge place! We didn’t find any Couchsurfing there so we went for an AirBnB which was a bit pricey for us but it was a lovely place we stayed. Our room had a huge TV which was a nice touch and something we hadn’t had in a while!
San Diego is another great city. It’s very vibrant and cool. A place a imagine lots of hip young trendy business folk to live. It has The Gaslamp Quarter, another area full of hip bars with all the beers on tap. It has stunning views from the pier and lots of very impressive buildings.
It was here we first really started to notice the issue with so many people on the streets, people in desperate need of medical attention because so many have completely lost their minds and it’s so sad to see and I want to help them all but there is nothing you can do.
I tried to talk to people who talked to me because it’s in my nature but also because I was scared because there are a lot of scary people out there as well and unfortunately my first instinct was to try and walk away as quick as I could and if not be as friendly as I could to avoid any situations. It’s really shocking to see someone screaming or throwing there arms around, one man even walked out in front of the tram at one point and no one bats an eyelid. It’s so normalised.
It really made us think about how the world works and how it’s just not right. That was before we even got to Hollywood.
Aside from the above which upsets me and scares me, it is a lovely city but our favourite part had to be The Old Town, a bustling colourful place with the best Mexican food and music throughout.
We loved walking around there and had a great meal and listened to the traditional Mexican music sounding out from every corner.
Last on our list for San Diego was the Zoo! We spent our last day there at the Zoo and it was amazing. Defiantly the best one I have ever been to because of the Polar Bears alone. They are incredible. I was a bit funny at first because I do love the Zoo and all it does for endangered species and how well they look after the animals but I didn’t like the thought of Polar Bears being in a warm climate, just because I think polar bear, I think ice.
Once I saw them however I soon changed my mind, these bears were absolutely loving life. They looked so happy and magnificent and majestic. They are the most beautiful things. We watched them for ages playing with each other. It was incredible.
The Zoo has many other amazing animals about, the pandas, monkeys, hippos, bears and a leggy little thing we passed that I don’t quite remember what it was but it looked very funny upright!
We loved the zoo!
So after a great few days in San Diego, it was time for our final stop, LA…Hollywood! The train was only a few hours and we had booked a hostel for our whole time there.
Now the hostel in LA was very different to the one we had in Bratislava, in which that one was very much for travellers, this one however was more of a live in hostel and I suspect most the people lived there with the exception of Mel and I and a few others.
In our room it was defiantly only me and Mel passing through. This made for a rather awkward stay. We were essentially just living in someone’s bedroom. A girl in there clearly didn’t like the fact there was a male in the room and they all had the lights out, in bed by 9 every night. So we had to do a lot of tip toeing around and didn’t get to speak much in our hostel 😂 also two of the woman didn’t like each other either, so we had to sit by while they had a ladbible worthy light switch war one morning!
It was also in an area that frightened me a little but I actually grew to feel like a local. From the tube to our hostel there was a street market every night selling just about everything you can think of, the crowds scared me a bit at first because again, just an astonishing number of people screaming, muttering and shouting to themselves or at us or other people. Also an unhealthy amount of clearly armed people. That I just can’t deal with. 😨 I was just a nervous wreck power walking through crowds and pulling Mel all over the place.
But it was also charming and we would chat to people at the bus stop who were lovely and kind and we shopped at the 99 cent store everyday, (were the security guard had a blade on his trousers 😨) and it felt like our little home for the week. We did our laundry at the laundry house whilst eating our dinner outside. It’s a side of LA you don’t really see on tv all to often and it is scary but it does have its charms.
Hollywood itself also shocked us slightly on arrival, mostly because we witnessed people taking crack pretty much straight away but we had an incredible time there. It has So much to do, we didn’t have time to do everything we wanted to in the end but we had the best time. Aside from being on edge pretty much all the time 🙈
Our first day we did the Hollywood Homes tour. What an experience, was amazing to see them all and very exciting seeing where Micheal Jackson had lived amongst others. It does also however highlight the rich/poor divide that does bother me but I know that’s just how the way the world is unfortunately.
We passed by the Hollywood Sign, then through Beverly Hills and down Sunset Strip. Our tour guide was funny pretty much because he wasn’t funny and we had a great morning. We then did the Warner Brothers Studio tour. That was just such an amazing afternoon. It was so great getting to check out all the stages and sets, we sat on the friends couch, got to really see how all the movie magic goes down! We adored it. Also we got the tip to try to get on Conan and that worked out pretty well for us.
Loving our Warner Bros tour so much we couldn’t wait to go to Universal Studios the next day! It was great fun. We had Harry Potter world which Mel obviously loved, we drank butter beer. Went on all the virtual reality rides that are incredible! It’s like being in another world. It just has a magical atmosphere and I had a great chat with Donkey.
The next day was my birthday 🍰 and I wanted to spend it down on Sunset Strip and drink in the bars all my favourite bands have drank in and I would be the same age as people! We started at The Rainbow, had a few beers in Lemmy’s Lounge. Then passed by Whisky a go go but it was shut to the public so we went into Rock O Riley’s and had some more drinks and a meal. Then off to The Viper Rooms for a gig we had tickets for.
The gig was so good. We had Like Zeppelin, Twisted Gypsy and Petty or Not. The bands absolutely nailed it and we had a great time. Did a shot of whisky though because it felt like the right thing to do in this infamous club. It wasn’t.
We spent the whole next day in bed. Waste of a day but was kind of worth it because I had a great birthday. We met another British guy, his name was Clive which I enjoyed very much as it’s what a want to call my pet turtle when I have one, and he was very cool. He kept buying the ‘newly weds’ drinks and we hung out with him all night. He formally lived in LA but moved back to London because in his words its ‘ just mental here ‘ this was our conversation starter.
After wasting a day in bed we had some catching up to do so crammed a lot into the next day. It was such a good day! We started out at the Grammy Museum which was very interesting and great to see some Micheal Jackson memorabilia there.
Then we went up to the top of one of LAs biggest sky scrapers to see the views and it was amazing! Then to Madame Tussaud’s and it was amazing. I didn’t expect it to be very good to be honest but some of the figures, I was literally scared to get to close because I thought they could be real! So so good and we loved playing around with all the props and taking pictures.
From there we headed to Dolby Theatre where the Oscars are held and did a tour and it was surprisingly one of our favourites, it wasn’t just an in out tour. The lady was very knowledgable, we got to see America’s got Talent finalists rehearsing and stand in the ‘Winners lift’ and it was cool thinking about all the legends that had stood there.
After the theatre we went to the Hollywood museum which is an old Max Factor studio and had all the dressing rooms from pin up era and pictures of all the classic beauties about the place. I love how they look, just stunning!
We ate at the place they go to in Swingers and also where the script was written which Mel really enjoyed and the food was so good there too. It’s been great to see all the locations around and Mel can point them out to me because he loved film so much. We got to see a staircase used in Blade Runner (his favourite film) so that was a highlight.
We ended our day at The Griffith Observatory and got another spectacular view of the city but at night time and it was unreal. We also got to use telescopes there and literally saw Saturn, rings and all and the craters on the moon! Such a good day. We encountered quite a lot of frightening people that day, we left the tube at one point because we felt like we were close to having a group start some trouble with us, then outside the Hollywood museum I became nervously aware of man who was shouting right behind me then moved closer to me and opened a bag and I was scared so took a step away then he motioned to punch me… he missed as he was all over the place but it left me really panicky.
Then at the end of the day at our bus stop, we talked about the day and how many encounters we had had throughout and then along came a man on a bike, top cycling gear on, we probably would of struck up a convo about bikes, until he started barking, ferociously at the cars that passed. That was enough Hollywood for one day.
Next day we went to Six Flags theme park and all I have to say is Boss! Rides are amazing and we basically had the park to ourselves! Great day as we both love rides. The superman ride there is awesome. Shoots you backwards at 100mph for ages then vertically up in the air then back
down like reverse oblivion. Loved it!
Our final day was bound to be a good one as we had somehow bagged ourselves tickets to be on The Conan O Brian Show. We just applied after our Warner bros tour on a whim and got them, not only that but we ended up front row, Spoke to Conan and the guests were great! The show was really good, stand up at the start to get the crowd going, he was brilliant, there is a live band and Javier Bardem was on the show 😍
Whole thing was amazing and we had a wonderful day. Perfect way to end our weird and wonderful time in LA! It really was incredible and we only scratched the surface. We have had an amazing time and now we are snug on the plane (which is experiencing horrific turbulence at times) but is feeding us well and well on our way to Tokyo!
We just realised we haven’t made Any plans at all for Japan so let’s see what happens! I’m sure we are going to love it! We did however have to book our flight out and we did that to Vietnam! So the next few weeks should be very exciting.
Thanks America for Marrying us, exciting us, teaching us, testing us, making us fat, draining our funds and most of all leaving us with treasured memories forever 💕
Exciting times ahead. 🙏