USA : Alone in Los Angeles.

I refuse to call this as my official trip to California. Because it was a layover between my flight from Anchorage to Taipei and it was short. In fact, I don’t truly feel the California vibe and I never felt like a tourist in my entire experience of going places until this. When you visit ONLY touristy spot especially around Los Angeles, it means you don’t really visit California.
 
 
 
Well, at least looking up to these palm trees kinda remind me Usher’s music videos and it is so LA.
 
 
 
I must admit this. It such a huge embarrassment that I choose to see LA through packaged “City Tour” on air conditioned coach together with others who are very fit and healthy enough to explore the city on foot. Well, look at the bright side, maybe they are having difficulties like me – 
 
Knowing that LAX airport doesn’t have light train rail nearby to the city center, is a downturn for my ‘expedition’. Made it less economical and inconvenient than usual. I always try to avoid taxi at all cost. Although the buses in LA is cheap and can help you to reach many places, but I don’t want to take the chance of finding my way back to the airport (if I got lost) when you only have 6 hours wander period before your next flight.
 
LA do have Inter City Rail called Metro Rail and Metro Link which starts from Union Station then into the city. But you still need to take a shuttle bus from the airport to Union Station and need to switch train before you reach your interested destination, afterwards. And the buses – Red, Blue, Green, Purple and Expo Line kinda make me confuse. Plus, eight lanes traffic in LA can put me into panic mode, anytime. I am willing to explore the rail and buses route adventure, later, when I’m not so alone and have like a WEEK in LA.
 
What I can tell is, my experience in LA wasn’t so travel wonder la. It ain’t wonder if you don’t wander. That is what I believed.
 
So I purchased a short, so called familiarization 4.5 hours LA city tour for those on stopover for USD 76!! This tour brings you to the Downtown LA, Hollywood to see the Hollywood sign, beaches, Beverly Hills, Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive and the Market. It sounds a lot, but a lot means nothing if you just pass it by and do not have enough time to pee during the stops.
 
And oh, they do the pick up and drop off from almost every hotel in LA. So I choose Marriott since it just 5 minutes away from the airport with free shuttle bus from/to airport. Well, I know because I stayed there for  a night, during my stopover from Guangzhou to Seattle. 
 
 
So the tour begin with Venice beach. I didn’t get good picture of the beach since it was only a pass by. After that we passes by resident area on Venice Canal Historic District. It wasn’t like a UNESCO historic venue. It is historic because this district is well known for its man made canals built in 1905.
 
 
 
Once was triple larger than what we see today, Venice Canal Historic District becoming a desirable and expensive residential area after the renovation, few canals being drained and formed into sidewalks. Well, it is nice to live by the canal or PARIT, provided that it is clean and fancy like the one in LA. Di KL, rumah setinggan je dekat parit parit ni…nyamuk aedes jangan cerita lah kan.
 
The sights of grafitti on shop buildings adds the feel of LA hype. It is weird that the sketching and art on the walls in the west world can be an eye candy but in Asia, especially Kuala Lumpur, it is one color spray paint, full with vulgar words and stencils of Justice for Anwar Ibrahim and fair elections.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Santa Monica beach. It was just a pass by (again) and it was too early to see girls with bikini top rollerblading along the pavement. It was 10AM in the morning when we reached here.
 
 
Notice the arrow? That’s a Baywatch’s Life Guard House. A trademark for LA beaches.
 
 
 
Santa Monica Pier. All I really wanted is to take a Ferris Wheel ride with you. With cotton candy in our hands and be all silly, a little kid’s silly.
 
 
LA also is a house to the 2nd largest Mormon Church in the world. The largest is in Salt Lake, Utah and for those who don’t know what Mormonism is:  it is a Christian but differ than a mainstream Christian. They have it’s own book called Book of Mormon and they belief in and practice of plural marriage. Poligami gitu.. boleh kawin ompek. 
 
 In the Book of Mormon, the Lord told the prophet Jacob “for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife: and concubines he shall have none… for if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things (Jacob 2:27-30).
Tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea consumption are prohibited. Same sex, pre marital marriage is a no-no. For those a Twillight’s Robert Pattison – Bella kinda love enthusiasts, please do know that the author of that ridiculous vampire romance series is a Mormon – Stephenie Meyer. Want to know more about Mormon? go find on Google lah. It is not a wrong thing to know about the beautiful of other religion, though.
 
 
From the religious sightseeing, now than we come to the “it’s a material world” district. Rodeo Drive must be the most favorite rich Asian who sleep, live and poop branded stuff. I am not that Asian though. Latest arrival (bukan stock clearance atau 2nd hand ya) of Jimmy Choo, LV, Prada, Badgley Mischka, Bvulgari, whatever it is, you name it. Kalau kau rasa kau Rihanna sangat, mai lah shopping sini, aku tabik kau siap pakai bunga api. And the price is almost 30% cheaper than what you see in Dubai or Asia. Thank you.
 
I think you guys can start to divert your shopping destination to LA instead of London or Paris. The cheapest flight you can get from Kuala Lumpur to LA is around RM 3,500 for return journey. Clothing, branded skin & hair care, kitchenware, shoes are the cheapest compared to other western countries.
 
You can email me and I am very pleased to arrange things for you though. That is what I do for living.
 
 
 
Next to Rodeo Drive is a Beverly Wilshire, where the hotel appeared in Julia Robert’s Pretty Woman movie is located – Four Seasons. Can you believe that our tour coach driver suggest us to go in that hotel & use the toilet so that we can experience the Pretty Woman’s. dafuq? 
 
Oh! korang must be wonder why this time I got pictures with me in it, here in LA compared to Seattle. Ceritanya begini.. when I was queuing for my tour bus at the tour office, there was a Chinese lady sounded like a Japanese, with her mouth full of popcorn, asked me what tour I will be joining in. It happened that both of us on the same tour. She was alone too. So, I met another camera slut who is desperately in need of photosnapper, Thank God!
 
 
BUT! Time was very limited for me to teach her that, it is important to let people (at least, can do a wild guess) know where you are by looking at the background.
 
I know, you don’t know what is behind me and why I decided to stand there after I flew million miles away from my home country.
 
 
Oh, ok, she did try her best to get a full background. It’s a Tiffany & Co with people were having al fresco breakfast next to it.
 
 
As minutes went by, I managed to teach her by showing pictures that I took for her on her iPhone. So she started to learn to point the lens right. So now, Im not so small, not too far left..
 
It was a 15 minutes stop anyway, Turns out we made everybody waited for us 🙁 and as soon as we stepped into the tour bus, I noticed everybody gave us ‘the look‘. SEE? THAT’S WHY I HATE GROUP PACKAGE TOURS!
 
 
So, we only passed by the 90210. Beverly Hills is well known as the ‘atas’ residence area, every lane is planted by different kind of trees.
 
 
Here is with the palm trees…
 
 
All the housing area here are looks like a Wisteria Lane from ‘Desperate Housewives” series. Perfect cut bushes and trees, blooming flowers are everywhere along the pavements.
 
I was wondering.. instead of telling people “rumah aku kat Jalan Zamrud 7/1A” you may “the one at palm trees drive”? Begitulah atasnya puak puak ini…
 
Tapi satu kerja pulak nak kena study jenis baka pokok kayu.
 
 
…and we passed by the Sunset Strip.. tengok je lah ikut tingkap bas..
 
 
while sitting on this generic speedy tours for the first timer, it reminds me of some quote…
 
The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see” – G.K Chesterto.
 
Maybe some of you wonder what is the difference between Traveler and Tourist. Tourists tend to travel in large group or families. That is what I do for living. I create and offer custom made package for rich people to go on vacation.
 
On the other hand, Traveler tend to travel solo, or with one other person and willing to get lost and find their way back with thousands of unique experience in their hands. The experience of getting  lost made them find their true self, somehow. And made them see things differently than the others. I must tell you, it somehow shape you to be more wiser and grateful with every little things you have.  
 
Despite of LA, I still consider my self as a Traveler. A desperate solo traveler. I won’t become so desperate if I don’t care about pictures with me in it. Because of that desperation, I turned myself into a tourist.
 
 
 
 
Finally we got a little bit longer stopover at The Walk of Fame. Like 5 minutes longer than the stopover we had in Rodeo Drive. Pffttttt.
 
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was renamed early this year when TCL Corporation, a Chinese Electric company purchased the naming right. Don’t be surprise if in a few years later it will change to the TCL’s founder/ Board of Director’s name and will be inscribed in Mandarin.
 
It is so funny that the Americans worry about Muslim Terrorist or any male with thick black beard while I forseen someday USA’s president will be a Chinese. Ha!
 
Kuasa duit. Mampu mengubah ketuanan sesebuah negara.
 
 
This place is The official Tourist Trap – “The OTT, yea you know me” LOL. It makes you spend your money on the unnecessary things like souvenirs shit.
 
 
Or in my case, I was forced to give them tip after a single snap with them. I don’t care about Kungfuck Panda or Bloody Hell Cookie Monster. That Chinese girl pushed me to take the picture with these 2 scumbag so that I snap her picture with her idol in return. (I assumed they are her idol since she wanted to take pictures with these 2 so badly). Right after that these two joker didn’t let me go and keep asking for a tip money! OH! I don’t know that they are so royale until I have to pay them for a stupid threesome snap. So yea, I paid them or else I can’t move! and that Chinese girl, didn’t contribute it at all! I had to free myself from being a hostage and paid them that stupid tip.
 
How I wish my boyfriend here with me so that he can give them punch – in – the – face tip
 
Hollywood Boulevard is just like a Disneyland & Universal Studios’s souvenir shop mash up. Rows of restaurants, clothing shops and theme park’s every mascot walking around to trick your dollars any time, especially when you are too excited and show your very tourist face up to the public.
 
 
The Tour itinerary did mention about the view of  ‘HOLLYWOOD’ sign. So I guess this the the best spot for it? Because after that I never see a Hollywood Sign until the tour end. Nampak tak sign dia? If you can see it in 2 seconds, meaning this wasn’t bad at all.
 
What a Ripoff!
 
Since it was a 20 minutes stop. And that Chinese girl from Beijing busy stopped by at GNC, So there were nothing much I can see except running back to the tour bus or else I will get ‘the stare’ again.
 
Trust me, I stopped for a second in between my run to snap some stars. And I’m not her fan.
 
 
ok. This, is epic. LOL.
 
Chewbacca on the run. I quickly snap his picture while running and I ran even more faster after that. Or else he will ask Tip money from me!!!
 
 
Another victim? Good Luck. I dare to take this picture because I know the Bat & Spider man will be busy to get tip money from this boy and his brother. So they let me off, continue running to my tour bus.
 
 
LA Posse.
 
Final stop in the itinerary. LA Farmers’s Market. We had like 50 minutes stop here for lunch.
The concept of this place is almost like Seattle Pike’s Market. Fresh fruits and seafood. The food here is cheaper though, like USD 9 to 15 per plate. But I already had a take away when I was at Dolby Theater – it was a Greek crispy chicken kebabs. It was too big like a “Greek man/warrior’s arms” and I can’t finished it. Hehe.
 
We wandered around with precious 30 minutes left. I saw this doll shop so I was so drawn to it..
 
Like a Mattel’s Barbie Girl except it is a life size toddler. Real clothes and their clothes is even more fancier than mine and expensive.
 
 
It has many character and style. So I walked around to find mine.
 
 
 
I saw this toy in a pink tent! So it immediately reminds me of what my boyfriend trying to turn me into! Yea, I went camping in Alaska (Next next post) during my 2 weeks stay and it was not one, but TWO! So I took a picture with a fake me under the tent with the remaining chicken kebab’s plastic bag wrapped around my arm. Glamorous.
 
 
LA Farmer’s Market eateries.
 
 
I had a fresh lemonade here for $1.90 though
 
 
That Chinese girl from Beijing saw the raspberries at this stall. She told me she never saw it before and wonder how it taste. I convinced her to buy. USD 4 per cup and I heard she bargain with that fruit seller for a cheaper price. But it’s not happening. Why would he give discount to the tourists when he know these tourists have more money than him, able to pay expensive flight ticket to come to LA with ripoffs tour package. That fruit seller maybe never made it out of LA in his entire life and think anything outside USA is dangerous.
 
 
And I can see LA raspberries is bigger than Seattle’s! Yums.
 
 
My boyfriend told me that tourist open top double decker bus is a joke to them.
 
Lots of new movies going on, here and I can be sure that half of it never made through Malaysia.
 
AND look at the petrol price!! and HELLO, USA has many oil reserves and production in 31 states out of 50 states! Alaska alone produce almost the same as Malaysia. Bersyukur lah dengan apa yang kita bayar di Malaysia.
 
Everytime I saw my boyfriend refuel his car, it was like $60 – 80 every time and it finished less than a week. Gila kau. My car only consume RM40 per week (to work)!
 
So, the shit like “petrol price in that country is expensive because they do not have their own reserves and do not produce own petrol” is so for the tortoise. 
 
 
..and then suddenly I felt like Im in Jerusalem.
 
 
…it seems like this land is totally claimed by the Jews. Rows of Synagogue along the streets. All I missed to see is The Kabbalah temple.
 
 
Anyways, it might be them that makes LA as what as LA today. Ranking 9th in Global Power Index, one of the city that serves as economic engine for USA. A Restless money maker, a material world.
 
 
 
My boyfriend once zealously sighed when I told him that I’m going to do the LA CityTour. “You will see LA more than me”.
 
Don’t worry darling, whatever I’ve seen and been during this trip you already saw it on TV. And I wish I did too (just watch it on TV). We still need to come back here together and travel the way we travel. And see real stuff like locals do while get lost in it. We will be like Bonnie & Clyde Silly Wonka & Willy Wander of a lifetime.
 
 
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