[cali 2018] part 1: city of angels

I just spent my 2 week term break in California with Joe! For some reason (probably cheaper airfare) we only flew off on Wed morning, and had to come back for start of school so we actually only had 9 full days there. And we packed a lot into those 9 days – visited Los Angeles, Sequoia national park, San Francisco, and Mountain View for Google I/O – so it was a really fun, but tiring trip.

Day 1: Universal Studios Hollywood

Our flight left Singapore at 2am on 2nd May, but because of the 15h time difference, after an insanely long flight, we landed at LA at 6am on the same day. Luckily we were staying with FJ so she picked us up from the airport! We crashed at her apartment for an hour before taking an Uber to Universal.

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The first thing we did was the studio tour! Since unlike USS, USH is actually located at a real movie studio site, so the studio tour is a tram that goes around the sound stages and filming sites.

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An outdoor city scene:

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There was some cool jaws and king kong “4D” experiences too!

After the studio tour, we went to Harry Potter World aka the part I was looking forward to most!!

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It’s Hogsmeade!!

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No prizes for guessing what drink we tried
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The castle looked cool but too bad we couldn’t actually go up to it :( the inside of the castle is used for a ride
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Where I witnessed a wand choosing the wizard lol x)
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There was tons of HP merch to entice you to spend even more money!

The staff there were all always in-character and actually a lot of the visitors were wearing robes and stuff too! So the atmosphere was really nice and we spent a lot of time looking around in the shops (even though we didn’t buy much cos it was expensiveee) hahaha. Was disappointed that we couldn’t go up to the hogwarts castle though :(

Some of the rides (transformers, the mummy, the jurassic park water one) were the same as in Singapore but there were a few others which we didn’t really want to queue for. The special effects show was good though!!

On the way back, we walked around a bit at the Hollywood walk of fame and learnt that Donald Trump has a star…

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Also saw the imprints and stuff outside the TCL chinese theatre, didn’t recognize much except for this one!

Day 2: LA sightseeing

We picked up our rental car from Enterprise and started driving around town~ Had to get used to driving on the right, plus the signalling lever was on the opposite side too so I accidentally turned on the wipers more than once LOL.

Some photos from Santa Monica pier/beach:

Venice beach gave me Bali vibes, with some hipster-ish stalls and some selling tshirts, sunglasses etc. From there we walked over to Venice canals, which had some pretty houses and a nice laid-back feel. But I think it was low tide when we went so the canals themselves were a bit dry and not as pretty lol Dx

Lastly, we drove to Griffith Observatory (in peak hour traffic, which made a 40min drive turn into 1.5h :( And we also had to park lower down, at the Greek theatre, then walk uphill for 20min to reach the observatory).

Griffith was one of my must-go places and it didn’t disappoint! It had great sunset views, and at night the observatory staff set up a few telescopes for visitors to view the stars and planets. We went for one of the shows at the planetarium too, it was a good chance to rest our feet but the show was a bit slow and the chairs too comfy so we both fell asleep for a bit 😂.

Day 3: Six Flags Magic Mountain

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We got up early and drove to six flags because we read reviews that recommended being there when the park opens. Definitely a good recommendation because the lines were all 5-10min long in the morning!

We managed to take a lot of the thrill rides because luckily the queues weren’t too bad all through the day! The rollercoasters are super unique and fun, my favourite was Twisted Colossus (steel + wooden coaster) but Tatsu (“flying” coaster), X2 (the seats can rotate 360deg) and Batman (a lot of twists and turns) were really good too. Six flags felt less organized than other theme parks and it doesn’t have any “theme” except for rollercoasters (and advertisements) everywhere but the rides are da best :D

Ended off the day with kbbq at Koreatown with FJ and Kai Yuen woohooo

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