To my dearest friends, family and fellow culture cravers,
Since my last Postcards Home post (read it here) I’ve gone from the tranquil beaches of Koh Chang in Thailand to the manic, palm tree-laden streets of California – both exotic but both OH so different.
I never expected to be nervous to travel somewhere which speaks the same language as myself and that, in general, is very similar to my home country.
Nevertheless, as I waited to board my flight to LA, I was cacking it.
I’d been backpacking through Asia for so long (6 months) that I’d forgotten what it was like to have to worry about rules, to have to plan ahead with travel itineraries and to have to pay more than £3 for a meal and a beer (especially when my savings are dwindling the way they are).
Nonetheless, I was also very excited for a new challenge, to explore somewhere completely different and to reunite with my gal pal, Lydia, to share the experience with.
After landing in LAX airport, my first experience in America was a terrifying one – immigration. After I’d been grilled to within an inch of my life, I realised America wasn’t going to be quite as similar to home as I’d imagined…
Once I’d escaped the airport, I headed towards our Air BnB in Redondo Beach – an area in the south of the city. As I’d been warned that LA is a sprawled out, ginormous city with very little reliable public transport, we decided to steer clear from the Hollywood area (for now) and base ourselves on the coast to get the ‘Cali beach babe experience’.
As I waited for Lyds to arrive, I decided to wander down to the beach to get my first proper taste of LA.
Hermosa Beach was the epitome of how I’d envisioned LA.
Ridiculously tall palm trees lined the roads, youngsters played volleyball as the sun went down, cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders swooped past on the boardwalk and a pod of dolphins jumped and played in the crashing waves beside me.
Nowhere has ever been so spot on to how I’d pictured it…
I went back to our home with a bottle of wine in hand and reunited with a rather jet-lagged Lydia!! We had a long, overdue catch up before cheersing to our upcoming adventure and passing out.
The next morning we went to a diner recommended to us by our Air BnB host called Eat at Joe’s.
Keen for the true American diner experience, we ordered two refillable coffees, a bulging breakfast burrito and stuffed three egg omelette doused in chilli con carne. When it arrived we were gob smacked!
Each meal came with a breakfast muffin, toast or ‘biscuit’ (whatever that may be in America) as well as, a mammoth portion of fried potato. These were our kind of portions…
It was so beige and so delicious.
After rolling ourselves from the diner to the beach, we hopped on our rented bicycles and began our 23 mile bike ride from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica.
Passing every beach along the stretch of boardwalk, we witnessed locals going about their day to day lives.
Parents cycled along with their children strapped into a small trailer-esque seat attached to their bike whilst others had their dogs carefully secured into the same contraption. People on boogie boards and roller blades wiggled their way down the path whilst others played volleyball on the beach and relaxed with a picnic in the sunshine.
Before we knew it we were approaching Venice Beach.
I’d heard a lot about this outrageous area in California and I was not disappointed. It was mental.
In one corner there were people ‘shootin some b ball’, a man with an open mic rapping and the famous ‘Muscle Beach’ where hench men flexed their muscles and posed for pictures.
Whilst on the other side, there were sassy men on roller blades dancing to Michael Jackson, a bustling skate park and a line of marijuana shops.
Eventually, we drew ourselves away from the hustle and bustle of Venice and continued with the rest of our journey…
By this point I was getting prettyyyy tired and nearly fell off my bike…
So we gradually made our way back down the boardwalk towards home.
The next day we caught a bus down to the next destination on our American trip – San Diego.
Here, we’d signed up to our first ever Couchsurfing experience (if you’re not sure what this is, check it out here) so were very apprehensive/excited to see what lay in store for us.
Verdict? We had an incredible time!
Our Couchsurfing hosts were so accommodating and lovely and their house was beautiful.
Located on Coronado Island just off of downtown San Diego, their house was seconds from the beach and oozed the character and homely feel I’ve been missing ever since I left home.
Next up, we’re off to VEGASSSS, the Grand Canyon and San Francisco!!
Until next week…