los angeles: part one

January 25, 2016

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As a Christmas present this year, I took my sister to Los Angeles. It was a somewhat impulsive decision, but those are sometimes the best. Last week, we boarded a plane and said adios to Florida for a whole week. So many important things happened on this trip! I learned (some) of the words to Hotling Bling, I found out why you want insurance on a rental car, my suspicions that everyone in L.A. is beautiful were more or less confirmed, and I saw Lisa Ling while eating a shrimp po’ boy at the Santa Monica Pier. I can’t wait to share all of the good times that were had but it’s going to take more than one post. Here is the first in a series of Cali posts, documenting our first few days in Los Angeles…

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We landed at LAX around 8 p.m. PST and after what felt like a lifetime, we were in our sweet rental car headed onto the California freeway. Fifteen minutes later we’re waiting for a tow truck to come replace the tire we’ve just blown. It was a total downer and kinda scary at the time. But, after a stressful first night in L.A.,  we woke up early (thank you, Mr. Timechange) and exchanged our rental car in Beverly Hills. We also grabbed coffee and chilled like basic bitches for a minute. Relieved that we had reliable wheels, we went for a drive around town.

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Later that day, we drove out to Warner Brothers Studios for a taping of Conan. I’ve been a longtime Conan fan and he is just as funny and entertaining in real life. The guests were Patton Oswald and the director of Batman vs. Superman, Zack Snyder.

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Took this selfie and immediately realized you can’t tell if we’re at Conan or just the movies…

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The next day we drove up Mulholland to hike Runyon Canyon. The drive up the Hollywood hills is winding, narrow, and the roads are not in good condition. This photo is worth mentioning because we lucked out and parked at the bottom of the hill, on other side of that green fence. There were only a few spaces so we were stoked. Until we went to leave. Another car was waiting on me to leave and in a panic, I backed up too far and scraped a huge rock lining the side of the road. This was when I knew I was over driving in California. And, truth be told, a little sick to my stomach because I was certain I was going to have to pay to replace the bumper of a BMW. Insurance is a lifesaver. But, about that hike…

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Every step took us a little higher. We followed the dirt path up and around and around again, pausing at each clearing to gaze down on the houses and hills below. When I walked up the edge of the cliff and looked down, it became all too clear how high up we were. Gave me a case of wobbly knees more than once. Once we made it to the top of the hill, we were able to look out on whole city and see the Hollywood sign for the first time. The haze had cleared by now, and it was sunny and warm at what felt like the top of the world. It was such a beautiful stroll, and the perfect introduction to Los Angeles.

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Frankly, neither one of us is known for being graceful so the fact that we didn’t bite it on this trail was a victory in itself.

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A snap from the top!

 

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In this moment, I was thinking, “I’m not at work today. I’m walking in the sun, breathing in (fresh-ish) air, spending time with my sister, seeing a place I’ve never seen before.”

From there, I backed into the rock mentioned above, and proceeded further into the hills, top down, of course. We happened upon a small overlook where a bunch of tour buses kept stopping. We stopped and I climbed the stairs to the top to see another scenic view of the city, including downtown, and the Hollywood Bowl.

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