Okay, so one of the highlights of the entire trip actually;
ZION'S NATIONAL PARK...
We left Ponderosa around 8am to get an early start on our six and half hour journey to Los Angeles, California. Something interesting; we were told by locals that the quickest, most direct way to Las Vegas (our scheduled stop on the way to L.A.) was through Zion's National Park, but that to go this way they would charge us $35 just for going through it. None of us really had a big issue with this as they weren't charging per person but per car, none of us except my Mum that is. However, my Mum now informs us that this was her favourite part of the whole holiday so if something should tell you how worth visiting this Zion's National Park is - that little ironic fact should! (On second thought, that fact could also tell you that the rest of the week was crap?!?! BUT please, take it from me, the rest of the week was not crap and Zion's was absolutely it incredible.) The scenery is just so unbelievably vast. There is no other word for it. All the clichés; vast, astounding, breathtaking.. etc. they ALL apply HERE.
Next on the agenda was Bahama Breeze, Las Vegas. Juan Carlos picked the restaurant. In-fact it was a bargaining tool that my Dad had used to bribe Juan to get up early. If we got up, packed the car and left before 8am we/Juan would get to pick the place we ate for lunch. So in his true foodie form, my husband spent **I won't actually put the real amount of time due to respect of privacy** a fair amount of time researching what was worth eating in Las Vegas. And boy am I glad he did. Bahama Flippin' Breeze. It's a restaurant that Juan and his fam used to go to a lot when they lived in Florida and thought was only situated there but Alas, there's one on the flipping' Vegas strip lads. The restaurant is beach themed and the food is really, really delicious. Order a salmon tostada salad, with a strawberry lemonade and a chocolate island to follow and you will not be disappointed!! (I considered uploading a picture of the salmon tostada, but nothing I can show you portrays anything close to how good it is so please I urge you to torture and salavate yourself to death by google imaging the crap out of it.)
We stopped for lunch for about an hour and a half and one thing I learnt during our really, really short time in Las Vegas; it's disgustingly hot. Disgustingly. It's essentially a city situated in an actual desert and it really feels like that too. Being outside was pretty much unbarable and I didn't like that feeling whatsoever!!
After filling up petrol.. (AGAIN).. on to our next destination.. L.A. baby!! The drive from Las Vegas was around four hours, distance wise but add the L.A. traffic on that and it became about a five hour journey. From here on out we were using Airbnb. None of us have ever used Airbnb before and our experiences over the last week have converted each of us to it. Airbnb is an online American company that allows people to rent and lease their spaces; houses, bedrooms, cottages, empty hotel rooms, WHATEVER. The idea is that nothing goes to waste so the landlord of whatever available space charges less money for the space they want occupied because if no one was to stay then they gain no money at all. It works on the idea that making some money is better than no money and for this it also means that landlord and lodger win because last minute accommodation can be found for those looking for it (and can be found at a cheaper than usual rate!) and that those looking to occupy their empty spaces can still make their cash. There's a really handy app that goes along with it that allows you to keep in contact with your landlord - about how to get in to your temporary residence, or to notify them if your plans change.
The place we stayed in was so kitsch. We loved it. There were so many pockets of it that I felt I'd decorated myself. Two bedrooms, a shared bathroom, kitchen and living space. And so many adorable, cute, tacky but really endearing little touches; tons of various fabric patterns thrown together, block yellow shelving, cacti, an old school -on stove- kettle, a selection of teas, a variety of books and magazines that were there to remind and inspire the fact that you were visiting the Silicon Valley. Gosh, I loved this place. We felt at home right away.
We arrived at the Airbnb around 6pm. My dad had some people to meet so my parents went out and explored whilst Juan and I stayed at the house and enjoyed it's quirks.
Exploring Los Angeles
The next day was the only full day we had to spend in the city and here's the spiel; and it comes with a massive piece of advice; Don't drive in Los Angeles yourself! USE AN UBER. It's so cheap, especially if you use the UBERX option. This option means that you're happy to share your car with anyone else en route to your final destination, it may also require you to walk to a location that's more on route for the driver to pick you up, but it's never more than a minute or so away and for the sake of nearly half the cost it's so worth it. Juan and I took two that day, one 25 minute ride and another 45 minute ride and the cost of both total was $15 and this was to get directly to where we wanted to go. Ridiculously well priced. Anyway, Juan Carlos - as I've already mentioned is a massive foodie, so obviously this was top of the agenda today. Him and I went to Korea town and had a sashimi dinner. It had a gazillion courses and was spectacular. You don't get a lot of fish in Utah so it was nice to have seafood, and amazing seafood at that. We then went to meet mum and dad at Santa Monica beach. Ugh, just thinking of it pains me - it was so beautiful and the waves, the temperature, the sun setting, everything. Everything was perfect! Both Juan and I grew up near the coast line so living in Utah has been genuinely really difficult to us in that sense and we have decided that when we eventually settle down somewhere more permanently it has to be near the ocean. The time of day that we went in the sea was around 6-ish and barely anyone was in the sea and only a few people were on the beach, the Santa Monica breeze was blowing and we were LAVING IT!
We ended the night by going to some concrete steps, taking a picture and buying a pizza.. What? Why?
A small back story.. This is because 17 years ago my Dad took me and mum to L.A. to visit a ton of Laurel and Hardy sights (if you don't know who Laurel and Hardy are - google them) - they're a comedy duo from years ago and my dad's been obsessed with them since he was small. Anyway, years ago we spent three days visiting all these sights and places and this one particular sight was from a famous short of their's called 'The Music Box' (I think that's what it's called - I'll have to double check with my Dad) - I was eight years old, really tired from days of sight seeing, super hungry and significantly pissed and my dad not only wanted me to take a picture with him on this step but also wanted to have a piece of the steps. Did I mention they were made of concrete? Anyway, they were made of concrete.. AND it wasn't enough for him to have any old piece of the steps, no, no, he wanted to make sure that he got a piece of the original steps.. so asked a local (in a super dodgy neighbourhood) if he could borrow a hammer and started hammering away... anyway after this night we finally got a pizza and this whole escapade has become a talked about memory ever since and so we had to re-inact the moment 17 years later.
And that really concluded our time in L.A. it was short be very, very sweet..
Brit. U.S.resident. Lover of Opera. Believer of dreams.