We arrived back in Los Angeles in the bright and early morning with cheery blue skies. The first thing we did was to pick up our car rental from the airport. Our trusty car rental company is Hertz as we always use their services in all our road trips in Europe. The Hertz facility in LA airport is huge with many cars for selection. The service staff were extremely helpful as well.
The first thing we did after collecting our car was to visit the outlet malls. Our first stop was the Camarillo Premium Outlets. This is my first trip to the USA so the vastness of the outlet totally blew me away. I am used to the size of the Europe outlet malls but with the number of shops here it is impossible to see them all in 1 day!
Before we started our money splurging activity, we had our first meal in LA and it has got to be burgers! As we were starving, we headed into the nearest food outlet we could find after parking our car. I had Johnny rockets before on a cruise and their milkshake is totally legit so we settled in for lunch. We took an outdoor seat as the weather was perfect and cooling. I had a chicken burger and strawberry milkshake. The burger with its juicy patty and milkshake with thick milky goodness did not disappoint.
With arms full of shopping bags, we checked in to our Air bnb apartment on Grand Avenue. Note that this arrangement is not official in the US so it cannot be mentioned during checks. Our apartment is very spacious and is surrounded by various office buildings. The only downside is that you can hear police sirens driving pass even way into the wee hours of the morning since this is considered quite a central location.
The next day, we visited the famous Hollywood sign. The best place to get a view of the sign and take pictures is the Lake Hollywood Park. The Google Map link can be found here. Once you reach the park, you can park along the side of the road but do note that if the pavement is marked red, that stretch of the road is strictly not for parking or you will be fined. Once you park your car, you can see the sign from the park. For a closer picture of the sign, you can hike up the path following the road ( where you can see the tiny car and people )
We visited the Fairfax area next for the famous Supreme store as we had friends who asked us to help grab stuff from Supreme. This neighbourhood has pretty interesting stores and this street that Supreme was on has lots of hip hop street brands. It took us 1.5 hrs to queue and get into the store with many other young teenagers and Asian tourists. With the determination to buy more.. we headed to other outlet mall; Citadel Outlets. This monstrous sized outlet sucked up our time for another 4 to 5 hours and our car was totally filled up again.
A trip to the US is not complete with a visit to the In-n-Out burger. Since they only sold beef burgers, we could only do a drive through for my friend to grab her beef burger.
For me, I had the Yoshinoya rice meal which is huge compared to our version in Asia. They also had some localised flavours like Cajun Crab stew which you can add to your bowl.
The next day, we headed to the Walk of Fame which was full of interesting people and sights. The buildings are extremely colourful and had strong characteristics in terms of structure. It was fun walking around to search the Hollywood star and handprints of your favourite stars. There are also food stalls by the road selling hotdogs with various toppings. I have to say this is one of the best hotdog I had as the entire roll was bursting with flavours from all the toppings like onions, capsicum, tomatoes and jalapeno. Do note that there are various people dressed up in mascots or cosplay dressing in your favourite super heroes who are more than willing to pose for a photo with you. However, some of them would be expecting to be paid for the photo so do ask before taking a picture.
We had planned to visit Santa Monica Beach after the walk of fame but we ended up driving off only at sunset and it was too late to make our way to Santa Monica. There are so many shops and so many sights to take in at the walk of fame that I recommend spending the entire day here just people watching.
We had wanted to eat this at Santa Monica beach area but since we couldn’t make it, we found this place called Boiling Crab which is quite famous. The restaurant is located in Korean town and is filled with multiple Korean restaurants, cafe and bakery. We had to queue for 20 mins before getting a table. This is very similar to the Dancing Crab we have in Singapore. We ordered the clams, crayfish, prawns and crabs. The seafood comes in plastic bags with your choice of sauce and you can also add in potatoes or corn on cob. Personally, I hate eating yabbies’ and the crayfish turns out to be yabbies’ so that particular dish was disappointing. The prawns and clams were very fresh but after a while, all of the bags start to taste the same as they only used 1 type of sauce. Our snow crab also came with legs only without any pincer while the table next to us had their crab with huge pincers. Generally, I find the food short of being unforgettable although the food is not bad tasting. Perhaps, we need to travel to Louisiana for the real thing.
Our last day in LA was spent in the happiest place on earth; Disneyland! This place never fails to bring back the child in us and momentarily, you can forget all the stress and grim of daily life. Everywhere you look, you will see happy faces and the vibrancy of life. This is a place that markets happiness and hope. As with all Disneyland, it is incredibly crowded with local families and tourists but 1 amazing thing is that they have a Disneyland app that you can download on your mobile. The app allows you to view the map of the park as well as look at the Adventure park which is just next to Disneyland. We paid for a Maxpass and we could book our fast pass tickets right from our mobile by monitoring the queue times of every ride. You can also go around taking pictures with all the mascots and the photos will automatically appear on your Disney app account.
We left after covering all 2 parks, Disneyland, Adventure park and was totally exhausted. This was the first time I took pictures with Mickey as the queue for Mickey in the other Disneyland was always too long. We also discovered that the Mickey in Anaheim is much more hardworking and has more photograph sessions than the ones in Asia or Europe. Both parks have great rides but I very much prefer the layout of Disneyland.
I came with 1 but left with 3! We spent so much time in the outlet malls as well as Target and Wal-Mart that I feel I can almost buy the entire LA back home. I am never more glad to be taking a first class flight with my miles redemption to have so much baggage allowance.
The first class lounge in LA airport was small but yet very exclusive. The décor was simple yet modern and very comfortable. There was also a door that leads to the normal business lounge from the first class lounge should you decide to walk around. The business lounge had an open patio and garden and more private rooms where you can use. The great thing was the food in the first class lounge and business lounge was fabulous and the quality is much higher than my private room experience in Singapore as described in my first post.
The perfect ending to my South America trip was of course my Singapore Airlines first class flight back home. On this route, I had the lamb steak, with prawn salad which is totally scrumptious. The lobster thermidor was quite mediocre while the ginseng chicken on the route back from Korea had an entire abalone with very clear and savoury soup. I can totally get used to travelling first class! From now, I must start farming my miles again for my next first class trip.