Monday, September 27, 2010

LA trip...

I'm going back to Cali...

Brief history: It has been probably 7 years since I've last been to California. We have some friends out in Los Angeles and I have family in San Diego. But it is difficult to get out that way. Two of our friends, who we stayed with this past trip, got married 4 years ago but I was unable to attend because of work. My wife went though because she was a bridesmaid.

I've always liked Los Angeles for it's diversity. Its very similar to Chicago in a way, in it's melting pot mentality. Los Angeles is like Chicago in that it is separated into ethnic neighborhoods: Thai Town, J-Town, Chinatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, etc. That's the cool part that reminded me of home. But there are plenty of parts that are bourgeois with plenty of fake-ass people walking around. Thankfully we don't run in those crowds so it isn't a problem. But similar to New York, LA is a trend setting city with lots of fashion and boutiques. And I've recently noticed it's landscape, at least the urban areas, reminded me a lot of Tampa in a strange way. But Tampa is like an eighth the size of Los Angeles. The similarities are minor: the palm trees, a sort of "rural urban" (LA's urban is not like Chicago or New York with sprawling concrete buildings and such), and it's sunny and nice, minus the humidity.

Our reason for the visit out west was because of a wedding. And my wife was a bridesmaid, yet again. I'm so glad that my wife has such awesome friends that they'd want her to be a part of their weddings. It truly is an honor. I'm usually the one that is standing up in weddings as either a groomsman, secondary sponsor or even a proxy. I was relieved I didn't have to participate in this one but glad I was there. But I'm part of an upcoming wedding in October. This time as a groomsman.

The Karate Kid...
Our flight from Orland to Los Angeles was about 5 hours give or take. But with the time change we actually gain 3 hours. I love time traveling. As per usual my dad was driving like a bat out of hell to the Orlando airport at 3:00 in the morning. I was able to sleep through it but Swan was digging her nails into the seat trying not to freak out. As we pulled up to the curb Swan let out a huge sigh of relief because we didn't die in a flaming hunk of twisted metal. Since our flight was mad early and we only had carry-on luggage, there was no waiting in line. We had already printed our boarding passes and security was a minimum. We hit up the weirdest Burger King for breakfast. It was run by some Jamaican women and involved a strange metal slot in the wall. We chow down and get to our gate with plenty of time. We both status update our boarding via our smartphone droids. I notice a dude boarding first-class who I'm pretty sure was a dude I went to high school with but I don't say anything. He looked at me and I'm sure he recognized me but didn't say anything either. Let's not make it too awkward. We get right nut and bitch seats in a 3-seat row. No left nut. It was a very comfortable flight. The Karate Kid was the in-flight movie. I figured I'd give it a shot even though I drank some mad haterade when it first came out. Plus, I love me some Jackie Chan movies. As much of a fan I am of the original Karate Kid this update was damn good. I was actually misty-eyed through most of it and I think I teared up when Jackie Chan was telling the story of his dead family. Decent film. I watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother on the flight, slept for 30 minutes total and we were landing in LA.

Fran, Dave and Jaenna in Pasadena...
We get to LA and step outside to wait for the shuttle to take us to Budget Car Rental. It was cold as hell in LA. Rewind to back at the house as we are leaving for Orlando. I asked if I should maybe pack jeans and grab my thin hoodie. Swan's like, "It's 80 degrees in Los Angeles. You won't need those." I shrug and we take off. Back to us waiting in the freezing weather waiting for the shuttle and me shooting Swans a dirty look. Luckily for us it got nicer as the fog lifted and the sun came out. We get into our rental and take off to Pasadena. Our friends were kind enough to let us stay with them for the weekend. Franny was also the wedding coordinator of our other friend whose wedding we were attending. So it worked out perfectly. Dave, Fran's husband, is an awesome friend. He's the kind of guy you can hang out with, have a few beers and just chillax with. And he's part of the LAPD so he carries a gun and gets us free parking after he flashes his badge to valets. It's awesome. Jaenna, is there 3 year old daughter who is great. I really wish we could've taken Phoenix with us because he would have had a blast with Jaenna. But considering the short trip and adults only black tie wedding (and $275 a ticket) we left him with his lola and lolo. It was his first time away from both of us. We were very sad because we knew Phoenix would've loved Los Angeles.

In and Out...
After dropping off our luggage and rental car in Pasadena, the first thing we do is get In & Out burger. I've only had it a few times in my life but it is so memorable. So damn good! Chicago has it's own cuisine and fast-food joints, which I hold dear to my heart. But I'll cheat on Portillo's with the old In & Out any day of the week. Double-Burger and fries, both animal style is a legendary fast-food meal. Animal style is something special.

We chow down our epic meal and bounce, full and extremely satisfied. Since Swan lived in LA for a short while, it was her goal to hit up all the possible food places she missed. And we tried our best to achieve that goal. We walked around Target in Pasadena for a bit before heading out to Santa Monica for the rehearsal and dinner.

Santa Monica Third Street Promenade...

We drove to the hotel to pick up some friends from Chicago who were also participating in the wedding. A little backstory. My wife, the bride and two of her friends from Chicago are all part of the K Di Phi Asian women sorority representing UIC. Although my wife backed out as a pledge the last few weeks she remained friends to this day.

We had a chance to walk around the Third Street Promenade, which was pretty cool. It is a pedestrian mall with street performers lining the sidewalks and everything. It was a cool experience. I liked walking around there so much we did it again before the wedding.

Since me and one of our Chicago friends were just husbands tagging along, we decided to chill around Santa Monica before heading out to Malibu. We hit up a meat truck by the Promenade.

It was a Korean styled meat truck but had gourmet quality food. It was epic. I've had meat truck food before but not like this. I've read about it in Time magazine a year earlier. From what I hear there has been an explosion of foodtrucks in LA and in New York. During my next travels I plan on finding them and eating them all.
We then hit up a Hooters hoping to see some college football games among other things. Turns out their satellites were down so we just had a pitcher of beer and headed to the Adamson House.

The wedding itselt took place at The Adamson House in Malibu just up the Pacific Coast Highway. If you haven't taken a drive up PCH, I recommend that you do. It is very scenic and beautiful. The Adamson House is an old Spanish styled villa just off of the beach with crashing waves as background noise. It was an amazing wedding. Probably the coolest (other then my own wedding) wedding I've ever been too. I guess that's LA for you.
Short version:
The wedding itself: under a gigantic old as hell tree, dinner was amazing and consisted of a side of spicy mac and cheese, red velvet cupcakes, friends, Citrus College Band/music, OPEN BAR, Swan as a bridesmaid, Remy as a beautiful bride, The epic port-a-john, Filipino Suited Up!, etc.

After the wedding we did some driving around Hollywood and Los Filez before heading back to Pasadena.

Legendary Cathedral in downtown LA, cool facts, awesome murals.

good to see Tita Tess, Tito Castor, and Father Francis
Thai Town
meeting up with Haze and her cool boyfriend (coachella, film editing, bees, oh my!)
walking around Thai plaza
walking around Melrose
going to the Filipino Mall


the weather
My Urlacher Jersey
the flight home
going to work with absolutely no sleep...

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