Blog #31 - California Dreaming!

Last we left you we were heading to North America after our three week stay in Peru, where we learned how to make chocolate, explored ceviche and knocked Machu Picchu off our bucket list.  

By this point we had made it completely around the world.  We didn’t have any more crazy countries planned, but we weren't quite ready to go home.  We were however quite ready to be somewhere that kind of felt like home ... so ... let’s go live in LA!!

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Los Angeles has always been on Steph's bucket list and after being hailed on in Peru we were both in the mood to be in the sun once more, before heading back to Toronto for the fall.  We planned a whole three weeks in tinsel town and luckily for us our friend Brigitte let us stay in her amazing condo in the valley.

Well, for those who don't know, Los Angelinos refer to the area north-west of downtown as “the valley” and it’s a place they don't really venture or go to unless they have a grandparent living in the area...haha.  Well we were all-lined-up for 3 weeks of living like senior citizens in Encino (smack in the heart of the San Fernando Valley).

Brigette’s condo was great and included a pool, gym and barbeque … the trifecta!  It gave us a little hideaway, away from the craziness of LA and served as a nice place to relax while we worked on our resumes and generally prepared to re-enter the real world.  

Speaking of the real world, did you know people do not walk in LA?  Nope not at all ... everyone drives so we also had to rent a car for the three weeks.  And heck, when you’re in California, you gotta drive a convertible.  It’s wasn’t a Mercedes or a BMW, no, you won’t believe it but it was a Chrysler!  Yes, they make convertibles now.  ;)

Ok, so what did we do for the three weeks? Well what didn't we do? 

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Our first week we managed to score tickets to the Hollywood Bowl to watch John Williams lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic through his classic movie hits (mainly Star Wars and Indiana Jones).  It is a surreal experience listening to the Star Wars theme live and then looking around as 18,000 fans wave their lightsabers in unison.

Other big events for us that week included shopping at various outlet malls in the ‘burbs, driving the Pacific Coast Highway up and down the ocean with the top down and of course getting two spots on the Price is Right.  Things that most backpackers do, right?

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Our “Price” (this is what CBS staffers call it) episode airs on October 18th, and although we signed a confidentiality waiver we can tell you that unfortunately we were not invited to "come on down", but we are pretty sure we will be seen on TV flailing our arms.  It was such a fun time and something we highly suggest you do if you are ever in the area and you have an ENTIRE DAY to spare.  It’s free, and highly entertaining, but expect to be waiting for hours before the show begins.

For our second week, we got tickets to the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson which was on Vince's to-do list from the moment we booked the LA tickets.  It was great and we were treated to two tapings.  The studio is way smaller than it looks on TV, and the warm-up comedian picked on Steph the whole time.  Apparently she’s judgemental AND a homewrecker.  Ha!

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We also made sure to explore Hollywood Boulevard, including the Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theatre, and the Dolby (formerly Kodak) Theatre.  This is where the Oscars are hosted every year.  Sounds fancy, right?  Well, it’s about as fancy as Clifton Hill at  Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Kitch to the max. 

As far as friends go, Vince was the winner this week. 

His long time friend Lucy lives out in LA now so we hung out with her, and her boyfriend Jung, several times.  Together we partook in some of the best bars and food LA has to offer: which goes to show, no matter where you are in the world, you always need to know a good local.  :)

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One weekend Vince’s friend Kam and his girlfriend Sabrina decided to come for a quick visit, and we took the opportunity to explore Venice Beach.  From there we walked (through a thick cloud of really weird people) for 3 miles until we reached the Santa Monica Pier.  It was gorgeous and filled with tourists, sunbathers, and rides.  This was the first time either of us had ever seen full-sized carnival rides on over a body of water.  Surreal (again). 

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Before we dropped off Kam and Sabrina at their hotel, we took in a show at the famous Comedy Store.  Because we were sat in the front row we got heckled by most comedians (um: Kirk Fox 1, Sabrina 0).  Chris D'Elia rocked the place – award for the best set of the night.

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For our last and final week we had our sights set on exploring Santa Barbara (not just cause it’s Katy Perry's hometown… ;).  We heard it was beautiful and a fun little place to explore.  It’s high-end, that’s for sure.  It and the surrounding hills were gorgeous and full of fancy shops and restaurants.  It also boasted the largest fig tree either of us had ever seen ... thank you TripAdvisor! 

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In no particular order, we also attended a taping of Jimmy Kimmel, went to an Angels baseball game with Lucy and her boyfriend Jung, and just last night (the night before we leave LA) we also saw a Kings’ preseason hockey game (thanks again Jung!).

If you overheard Vince yelling at the hockey game, you’d have known we’d been in been in LA for a while, and away from Canada, far too long:  “Hey ref he’s holding the stick!  Like, for a long time!”

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Dude, I gotta to tell you, this place gets to you…haha…love it!

But LA would not have been the same without such amazing friends to share it with: thank you Brigette, Kam, Sabrina, Lucy and Jung.  We feel so thankful to have such amazing friends.  

Well we have to go now, after three weeks in LA we are now running to catch our second-last flight before we head back to Toronto.  

The last stop on our agenda ... Vegas baby, Viva Las Vegas!!  If we win enough on roulette, we will be on the next flight to Thailand (haha...just joking!).  But seriously, anybody out there have a favourite number?? ;)

Now they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but we promise to report back!  Later dudes ;)
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