New Year’s Ride to LA

We spent New Year’s Eve with a bit of wine and our trainers on in Pacific Beach, where I like it so much because the atmosphere is pretty laid-back.

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If you want to go dance the night away (well, until 2 am, because then the clubs close down), you can simply do so in your jeans and sneakers and no one is going to give you a strange look. We welcomed 2016 right on the beach, where the waves were crashing and temperatures dropped dramatically after sunset. Yes, it does get cold in SoCal. 

Individual fireworks are not allowed and I was quite happy about that, because, you know…I find it stressful when a lot of drunk people throw their fireworks around, as that’s oftentimes the case in Germany. This way, it was a quiet, peaceful and pleasently tipsy start to the new year. 

Ready, set…

Having had a few hours of sleep (not enough for me), inhaled a huge mug of strong coffee and having then raced down the hill and to the store afterwards to add a couple more goodies to the snack bag I was preparing for the four of us, the three other crew members picked me up from the top of the hill a little after noon.

Off we went, along the coast, up to Los Angeles.

It was a rather spontaneous trip, planned and booked less than a week before our actual getaway. We were all excited - and not as talkative as usual, for the night before left its marks on us. 

We followed the freeway and I was happily snapping away, annoying everyone with the ‘clicking’ noise of my camera. (Just kidding. Maybe not. At least they didn’t say anything. Blame it on being too sleepy?).

We drove along beaches, situated on our left, and could see the mountains on our right-hand side. California is so diverse. Within an hour or two, you can be right where people ski, in a snowy environment; the desert is not far either; and the ocean, well, that currently sits on our doorstep. 

That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me. 

When the sun, slowly but surely, started to set, we were driving past Newport and Huntington Beach. We wanted to get out of the car and simply watch the sun set, however, this was a little more difficult than expected. Why? Apparently, free parking is not a thing here and $15 for parking the car for less than 30 minutes didn’t seem that appropriate to us. Ain’t we all a bit broke? We ain’t got no money to blow. 

We continued driving and enjoyed the ocean views nonetheless. A little further up north, however - the sun was almost gone -, we reached Seal Beach, where we found a free (halleluja, it does exist) parking spot in a side street. 

Wrapped up warm, because it does get chilly in souther California once the sun has gone to sleep, we went on the pier.

That particular sunset was one of the stunning ones. I don’t know what it is, but standing on a beach (well, pier), watching the last surfers getting their boards out of the water, hearing the sound of the waves and spotting the horizon gives me a warm, utterly wonderful feeling. It’s one of the moments when I realize, once again, how lucky I am to call SoCal my home for a fixed term, yet for a significantly long period of time. It’s been five weeks. Only? Already? I opt for the latter. Well, maybe not, because I’ve settled so surprisingly quickly that it feels as if I’ve been here for a long time already. Throw in a daily feeling of excitement because everything is still new, both ‘only’ and ‘already’ are pretty appropriate.

I’ve worked toward this, for almost a year - and they were all right in saying: It will eventually pay off. After 5 weeks in the country, I can respond with a big, fat YES

We strolled back in the dark, grabbed a slice of pizza on the way to the car (three of us couldn’t wait till actual dinner in LA - you’ll laugh when you hear what ‘actual’ dinner was).

Off we were again, coming closer to the City of Angeles I’ve heard so much about. However, never have opinions been more different.

We reached the crazy 7-lane (!!!) freeway and I was amazed by how much traffic there was. Gee, so many cars! C. - the only male being among a group of girls - did a good job and eventually brought us to the ‘hotel’ quickly (I’ll comment on the ‘hotel’ thingy in another post). 

Advertisements, lights, traffic - hello LA!

Next came our ‘actual’ dinner! We jumped over to In-N-Out Burger opposite our accommodation on Sunset Blvd. Neither of us had been there before but we kind of figured it would be a must. Well, I’ve ticked that one off the list now. Sorry to say but it wasn’t nearly as good as I’d imagined (I regret to say that McDonald’s fries are way more appealing to me). Yet, I have to say that I’ve never seen a place that was more crammed. Been there, done it now - but this is when the rather naughty weekend began. Food-wise. Of course. 

I am ready for another road trip. A longer one. In a VW mini bus. With people that feel as excited about the whole Cali-freedom-crazy-time-of-our-life-thingy than I do. And I would like to bring a surfboard and live like a hippie for a week or two…or so. Is it too much to ask for?

I cannot wait for all the adventures to come this year. I might as well be part of them already.