Actually, I got back from Los Angeles on Friday night and have since been poorly readjusting to the time change.
On a whole, the trip was good. The convention went well and work was cake and the last few days were superbly relaxed.
In between work, Eric and I had the nights to bum around the city with my coworkers. We explored downtown L.A., which to be honest, I wasn’t very fond of. Naturally, the city is centered on businesses, so most restaurants and bars closed by 11 p.m., so there was minimal nightlife in proximity to our hotel. I was also surprised by the distance between each bar or restaurant. Unlike Milwaukee where you simply walk across the street or next door to the next bar or eatery, in downtown L.A. you had to walk a couple of miles to and from each. No joke.
Downtown L.A. was quite dirty and smoggy too, especially in our hotel’s vicinity. That was a bit of a turnoff, but there were some aspects that were very interesting – in particular, the city’s diversity and history. We explored notable neighborhoods such as the fashion, jewelry and financial district. We also hiked several miles to the gaudy yet extraordinary Chinatown and ate some delicious dimsong (or something like that) followed by potent sake in Koreatown.
Additionally, my coworkers, Eric and I had the chance to eat at some fine restaurants like the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Wolfgang Puck Cafe along the Universal CityWalk. Unfortunately, on some nights when I worked late, we were forced to either order Pizza Hut to our hotel room or dine on appetizers at the hotel bar, which left much to be desired.
On our actual vacation, Eric and I explored Hollywood, which was awfully disappointing. While it was cool to see Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Walk of Fame and the Kodak Theatre, that part of Hollywood proved to just be a tourist trap where everyone was out to get a buck from unsuspecting sightseers. That didn't completely mar our visit, though.
We also went to Universal Studios Hollywood and went on the Studio Tours and saw where the fire gobbled up historic sets like King Kong and Back to the Future. We rode the new Simpsons simulated rollercoaster, the Revenge of the Mummy ride and Jurassic Park, which I didn’t know was a water ride until I was splashed in the face by spitting dinosaurs. Speaking of which, the majority of the attractions at Universal Studios were 3D and somehow involved getting sprayed in the face with water. For example, during the Terminator 2 3D show, for some reason when Arnold Schwarzenegger fired a round into an office building, we were showered with water. Was that supposed to be shrapnel or should I have brought my rubber ducky?
While Universal Studios was entertaining and a lot of fun, one of the best experiences was seeing Dodger Stadium where we watched the White Sox cream the Dodgers from the nosebleed section. I want to see as many stadiums in the United States as possible, so I seized the opportunity to see such an old-school stadium. Now I can add Dodger Stadium to my very tiny list.
On our last day we took the Metro to Long Beach. I wish we would have found this spot sooner – it was incredible! There was a marina, a pier and a beach, as well as, boats that sailed at sunset and others that could be rented to sleep in for the night; plus a ton of shops to peruse and restaurants and bars equipped with spacious patios to dine on. I really liked this place. Although I probably wouldn’t go back to downtown L.A., I would, without a doubt, go back to Long Beach.
Even though the trip wasn’t perfect, when all’s said and done, it was exciting to explore an unfamiliar city and to learn the culture of another place. Next year, I’m thinking Caribbean cruise. Until then, it's back to the grind.
(I have more photos, but my computer is being a jerk, so I'll post more from work later)