Friday, 14 June 2013

LA Downtown

22nd August 2012
The third day was spent in downtown LA. I didn't have much of a plan but to wander around, using Downtown LA Walks as an inspiration. The only place that I wanted to visit was the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Walt Disney Concert Hall


The Walt Disney Concert Hall was stunning and I loved the design.

Eventually, I wandered down to Exposition Park. I should have done more research as it wasn't the sort of park that I was interested in. Rather, it was a park that housed a variety of museums and science centres. I wanted to save some money and also explore the area so I decided to walk from downtown (1st street) all the way down to 39th street. Whoops. I didn't actually realise it was that far away and unlike the blocks in NYC, each block was fairly substantial and it took me nearly 1.5 hours. Though on the upside, I walked past a lot of elementary and high schools, as well as University of Southern California. It was interesting seeing all the freshman move in, their cars packed with luggage and their entire life, parents hovering and resident advisers directing frazzled families. I also stopped by Staples Stadium (unintentionally).

I had purchased a bag of trail mix from Trader Joes. I never knew that there was chocolate in trail mix bags and for every almond that was in the bag, there were at least 3 milk chocolate drops, 1 dark chocate drop and a white chocolate drop.

I treked back to downtown, walking 1.5hrs in the blazing sun. This was when I also realised that tap water in LA tastes horrendous. I had realised that it did taste different the previous two days. To describe it simply, it tastes like a slightly better version of pool water. Which is pretty horrendous. I also visited Grand Park in downtown and it was a beautiful day in the park. The fountain was also in the short by Wong Fu Productions!

Los Angeles - Grand Park


This was my last full day in LA and it was great to see the business side of the city apart from the beaches and Hollywood.

My Overall Thoughts
LA was interesting. Out of all the cities that I have visited, LA was not my favourite city. It was good in a sense, because my visit to the USA would not have been complete if I hadn't visited Hollywood and Santa Monica/ Venice Beach.

Would I re-visit?
Probably not at the top of my list.
Thursday, 13 June 2013


Thursday Morning
The day is too lovely to be holed up inside. But alas I am.

In the last 3 days, I have watched an entire season of 'Close to Home'. I used to love this show when it was on the air in 2005-2007. Now in hindsight, it is ridiculous. I like to call it as a form of 'productive procrastination'. I am watching the trial and applying Australian/ NSW law and I keep on saying things to the effect of, "no they can't do that!" and apply the knowledge that I have gained from my litigation and civil procedures course.

But alas, today is the last day before my law exam tomorrow morning and I have studied a little bit in the sun.

In other news, I am trying to wean myself from Google Reader as it is closing at the end of this month. Trying to move to Feedly but I am just so used to the layout of Google Reader! Also, the new layout of Flickr is aggravating.
Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Santa Monica

21st August 2012
On the second day, I had planned on visiting Santa Monica and Venice Beach. I am a serial planner and before I even arrived in the US I had already scoped out the location of the bus stop and the route to take. Though, my brilliant planning wasn't so brilliant. I left Podshare at 7am, or there about, and wandered to the bus stop. On the way, I stopped at Maccas because I wanted to grab a coffee. It was my first experience with the black drip coffee and I am not a big fan of black coffee; I only drink it when I need to stay awake and study. I arrived at the bus stop and waited. And waited some more. I should note that public transport is not caught by the average person as most people have cars, so it does attract a certain demographic of individuals. I saw 2 buses but they didn't stop (oddly enough) and after 1.5hrs of waiting, I finally asked a bus driver that stopped at the stop who informed me that it only stopped 2 blocks down. D'oh.

First impression. I liked how the bus had two bike racks at the front of the bus.

Eventually arrived at Santa Monica and I headed to the beach. I guess I am spoilt and every used to the beaches in Sydney. The beach was flat and incredible wide. It reminded me a little of the beaches at Surfer's paradise in Queensland where there are the skyscrapers and then flat beach before the water. In this case, it was a major road/highway, a 300+ parking lot and then at least 2km stretch of sand before the water. It was a very surreal moment to see the Santa Monica pier as it is fairly iconic. In my head, Savage Garden's Santa Monica song was replaying over and over again.

Santa Monica Beach



Santa Monica Pier




I eventually settled on a rock and people watched for quite a while. Watching people work out and impress other people with their muscles, their strengths and ability to do a thousand pushups whilst wearing cargo pants, a jacket under the blazing sun in 30 degree C temperature.

Something I noticed was that everyone seemed to be wearing more clothing than is required. Some people were hearing hoodies and sweatpants in hot weather which I thought was madness. A man approached me and I remember that I was thinking, "oh dear, how does this man even wear all that clothing and not be overheating?" as he was wearing long pants and a jacket. He striked up a conversation and eventually once he noticed my accent it went into the usual topics. He talked about the dangerous creatures in Australia and asked if I checked my boot before I wore them in case there were spiders or a snake inside. Funnily enough, when I did come back home to Sydney, before I wore my Converses I did check the inside and lo-behold daddy-long legs crawled out. Ew. I digress. He suggested a few places that I should visit apart from Santa Monica beach. Somehow it got to the point where he volunteered to drive me up the coast to San Francisco or we could explore Malibu. Funny. He handed me his business card and we parted.

A highlight of the day was when I was cooling down at a park near Venice Beach and a dog owner had two dogs, a German Shepherd mix and a chocolate brown labrador puppy. The german shepherd peed on a trip (male) and the puppy crawled under the larger dog just as the moment as he was peeing and ended up getting peed on. I laughed as did the owner and the german shepherd came over to me and I petted him. The puppy was over excited and crawled into my lap and licked my face and I wanted to pet it more but it had pee all down its back. So adorable.

To be continued ...

Surprise Gift

Every Wednesday, I wake up at 5.50am to work my 6.30am shift. It is hard to wake up every single Wednesday morning however once I am at work, the time goes by fairly quickly. I arrived back home and the postman arrived with a package for me.



A gift from the Sunbear! I knew about the underwear but I didn't know about the rest of the items and it was a lovely surprise.

1. Stars and stripe bra and 2 x briefs
2. Stroopwafel
3. Jam!
4. Squirrel. I am not entirely sure why I received a squirrel but I will ask when the sun rises up in the northern hemisphere.
5. Hagelslag! (Chocolate Sprinkles)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Los Angeles Day 1

On the 20th August 2012, I boarded a flight from SYD to LAX. It was my first time flying by myself and not only my first time, but on a long haul flight. I had a fear of planes. Or it may be more accurately to describe it as an anxiety. Nonetheless, I breezed through check in and security and purchased a burger from Maccas. I hate plane food with a passion and Maccas is comforting (as you will eventually discover if I get around to documenting my entire trip. But briefly, I had McDonalds at almost every city I visited).

I had asked to be seated at a window seat. However, stupidly, I forgot to double check and it was only when I was at the boarding gate that I realised that I had the middle seat in the middle seats of the plane. D'oh. I was sandwiched between two old men. Great. The plane ride was as I expected. I couldn't eat the food; the smell triggers a gag reflex. Near the end of the flight, I started to talk to the gentlemen on the right of me. He lived in Arizona and was returning back home. He was really sweet, just little things. When the breakfast got handed out, he handed my tray to me and then took it away to hand to the flight attendant.

I arrived at LAX and picked up my bag and went to the station for the Flyaway bus which headed to downtown. It was so exciting and also incredibly disorientating. I flew out of Sydney at around 1.30pm and landed at 8am on the same day.

First impression: it was hazy. And flat. And there weren't any clouds in the sky. After I arrived at the final stop, I asked the bus driver for directions to the train station. It was incredibly humid and I didn't want to lug around 20kg on my body more than I needed. She told me and then a guy on the bus said that he was also heading to the station and would take me there. So off we went and he helped me to buy my ticket and we boarded the train. It is a good thing that I am quite petite because with a backpack on my back and a smaller backpack on my front side, I JUST managed to wedge myself into a seat. The train was interesting and there were a lot of interesting characters. There was a guy trying to give 'free' pens to commuters. I chatted with my new friend and he talked about his job and how he lived in Los Angeles his entire life. I asked for some tips and things to see and he mentioned a few things. His stop was 3 before mine and I thanked him, he handed me his business card and we departed.

I arrived at station and headed to my accommodation. This was my first trip by myself and since I was travelling by myself I knew that I couldn't afford a hotel. However, it would also be my first time staying at a hostel by myself. I had looked online and things were either a) too expensive b) too hard to get get or c) it was just a party hostel and I wasn't sure if I really wanted that environment. In the end I settled for Podshare.

PodShare \

A quick review, I liked staying there. It was clean and casual and generally lovely. The shower was amazing and I loved the concept of having a 'pod'. I would definitely recommend this place.

I soon headed on foot down Hollywood Blvd. It was incredibly humid and sunny. Eventually I found my way to Amoeba store which was pretty incredible and wandered around some more before heading to Trader Joes for some snacks.

Dolby Theatre


Walk of Fame


When I was on Sunset Blvd, I was taking a photo of the street and a man approached me and told me to stand at this certain spot for a better angle. I thanked him. He then proceeded to talk about the Batman cinema shooting and about individuals who were diagnosed with psychiatric problems and were prescribed medication. Long story short, he believed that those medications poisoned minds and and gave me a free admission ticket to an exhibit on the 'war on psychiatric medication'. I hurriedly thanked him and made a pathetic excuse and power-walked away.

Tortilla's and Corona 

I went and had dinner at a store near my accommodation. It was having a ridiculous deal, I think it was possibly $4 in total (not including tax of course) for 2 beef tortillas and 1 x corona. I also wanted to see if my ISIC card would allow me to purchase alcohol. Which it did. Though, I only bought alcohol once for the duration of my trip in the US. 

After dinner, I went back to Hollywood and Highland Center  and sat down at a table and rested my head on my arm. At the table behind me, a man said, "wouldn't it be amazing if we never got tired?". Cue small talk and he asked about why I was here and then proceeded to ask for my phone number. The conversation basically went as follows: "Hey, do you have a cellphone? No you don't have one. Let me give my number because I know someone who does tours". I was honest with him and said that I probably (meaning: DEFINITELY WOULDN'T) call him back to ask about tours but he still insisted on me taking the paper he had scrawled his number on. Though he did ask me a question that stuck with me. I had asked him what to see in the US, any particular city that I should visit. And he said: "well what do you want to experience on this trip? What do you want to gain, because if you know what you would like to gain then you should do all the activities that would help you with that goal". I told him that I didn't know and he told me to think about it, because that would greatly influence all my decisions.

This is becoming overly long so I shall end it here.

To be continued ....
Thursday, 6 June 2013

Vivid Sydney 2013

Last night I went to Vivid Sydney. I didn't realise that it only started at 6pm but I was already in Circular Quay and Walsh Bay around 5pm. Originally I had wanted to catch the sunset from Mrs Macquarie chair however I couldn't manage to catch the sun.



It was really great having the chance to walk around and listen to Taylor Swift on my iPod, it really reminded me of my time overseas. Especially since I was wearing my wool coat that I had purchased in Bloomingdales and wore constantly whilst travelling. Although I had overestimated about how cold it would get; it wasn't cold at all. In the end, I resorted to lugging around my coat. The joy of living in a temperate climate during winter. 







And to end on an unrelated note. My favourite quote right now:
The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.
Friday, 29 March 2013

Midsemester Break

It is "mid-semester break" and I have been stuck at my study desk for around 11hrs a day for the past 3 days now. I have two important mid-semesters due in around a weeks time. On top of that, readings to do and applications to consider. Today was the first time I cracked open Photoshop for the first time in weeks. Editing photos is such a calming process and to think that all this started back when I was a 13 year old. How time has passed.



Sunday, 17 February 2013

I am Back!

Lo behold! I basically stopped blogging from the moment that I left the country to embark on my fabulous and amazing exchange experience in the US of A! But I am now back in Sydney with a lot of spare time before semester of my fourth year commences. Yesterday I went to meet up with a fellow exchange acquaintance for lunch at Pancakes on the Rocks. He ordered the Bananarama and I ordered the Mexican Potato pancakes.

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We then decided to walk around Circular Quay and I snapped some photos of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, before heading over to the Botannical Gardens.
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Sydney CBD