Staying in LA felt kind of like staying in Manila—just with a lot less fear of getting mugged, if you can believe that. I was never really a big fan of the so-called City of Angels, but I suppose your relationships with places depend on what you do in them, who you meet, and where you go.
Because it’s LA, we went to see Conan O’Brien—the third time I’ve seen his live taping, the first on this coast—and we went to see the Hollywood stars, and Universal Studios, which is kind of a funny thing to do when you’ve been going to Universal Studios in Florida since the dawn of time, but I really liked going there as a grown-ass adult with my parents and grown-ass siblings.
Imagine missing out on this donut!
I think, overall, I just felt displaced. We stayed with my dad’s relatives and we understood that they were very busy people (they work in publishing), especially when it was getting so close to the holidays when we were there. If there was no one to take us around—because it always felt like, in LA, you needed a car—we would walk about 20 minutes to get to Melrose or Sunset. Which is fine. I like walking towards Sunset! I saw some sort of BuzzFeed HQ for videos and we dropped by Pacquiao’s training place. LOL, for real.
My brother and I tried to catch The Drums at Amoeba but the lines were so long and we’d already seen them on this trip anyway. We found an awesome bookstore and a photobooth nearby.
One of my favorite things to do on vacations is to sit down and have coffee. I know that that must seem like a waste of time for some people, but being constantly on the move is stressful for me, to the point that I forget to enjoy and “be in the moment.” I like spending my time with the people I’m with (or myself), thinking about strange new places and where I might find myself one, two, three years later.
Not that LA is all that strange or new to me, and maybe it just feels so familiar to me that I tend to take it for granted.
We did go to LACMA (read here), MoCA (read here), and The Grove to see Gone Girl—an experience I would’ve rather not shared with my mother—and I got to share grilled cheese with Marb, who I’ve missed for so long. We drove past the places we’ve routinely gone to in LA and he took me to The Last Bookstore, which is every bit as magical as it sounds.
I think LA, like Manila, is the kind of place that isn’t so upfront about its little hidden gems. Maybe you have to be there long enough and really try to get to know it before you can see beyond the Hollywood sign.
(It makes for good pictures, though.)
“I might explode someday soon.”