Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!
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USA
(West Coast)
(27 Jul 2012 - 19 Aug 2012)

Day 16

Los Angeles (11 Aug 2012)

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Good Morning City of Angels! Leaving Ontario for the city of LA now.

Going to pickup my favourite car from California-Rent-A-Car.

I have always like Volkswagen Bug since donkey years again but with the current ridiculous prices of Certificate of Entitlement (COE), it is mission impossible to own one in Singapore. Why? Becos a Toyota Corolla in Singapore can buy you a Porsche 911 4S Cabriolet (in USA), 2013 Maserati Quattroporte (in USA), a Mercedes Benz SLK Series (in Canada), a BMW 640i SE Gran Coupe (in UK) or a Jaguar XKR (in USA). Here’s a picture of the new 21st Century Beetle that we rented :) It’s sportier and more masculine (They ditched the flower vase – Sad at least for me)… Thankfully the bug still looks undeniably retro :D

We’re heading to 3 places today, Venice Beach, Santa Monica and the renowned Griffith Observatory. Venice Beach is one of America’s most crowded beach (16 million visitors annually). Parking is a hassle here hence I recommend parking at nearby residential street and walk down to Venice beach. Not sure why this place is so popular but for us, we aren’t really impressed. Watch where you walk as this place is really dirty and there’s stench of urine everywhere. There’s lots of weird people here so it’s kind of scary for us. The only thing we like would be the graffiti art along Venice Beach.

Whereas Santa Monica beach is sooooooooo much cleaner (plus smell much nicer) than Venice Beach. Santa Monica is pretty crowded with both locals and tourists (like us) with lots to see. We parked near a shopping centre which cost US$5 for whole day parking for Sat/Sun (Otherwise it would cost US$12 for parking by the beach). There’s a mini amusement park on the pier, as well as some souvenir shops and restaurants. This is also where the famous route 66 apparently ends.

 

 

 

Headed to Coral Sand Motel managed by a group of Taiwanese who have settled down in LA. The hotel looks a little tired but it’s reasonably priced. Washer/dryer is available for $2 for each cycle with free detergent provided. The room is clean and had all the necessities that we needed (Fridge, TV, WIFI, heater, air conditioner etc). This place is close to a small shopping plaza (Ralphs – A supermarket) and the metro red-line Hollywood/Western station is conveniently located one block away. Request for rooms on the ground floor unless you are willing to climb up with all the bulky luggages. The manager (Felix) and staff (Brian) are as pleasant and helpful as their counterparts in Taiwan (BTW, I make frequent trips to Taiwan thanks to their very friendly people, delicious & cheap cuisines and so much more. See our visit to Taipei here)

We came across the Griffith Observatory accidentally whilst I was looking for good vantage points for the Hollywood sign. Griffith Observatory is located in a beautiful park in the hills overlooking LA, this is definitely one of the best place to view the famous Hollywood sign. For weekends, expect lots of traffic on the narrow road leading uphill to the observatory. We parked a distance away and walked up a relatively long hill to get to the observatory (Limited parking is available just outside Griffith Observatory which is also free-of-charge).

The facade may look familiar to you as numerous movies (The Terminator, Charlie’s Angels – Full Throttle, Transformers) have been filmed here. The exhibits in Griffith Observatory are really very informative, highly educational and interesting (This place is much much better than our Singapore Science Centre). If you intend to see all the exhibits, it would take you at least one full day (but definitely worth the time invested). Best deal – Admission to Griffith Observatory is FREE! The 30 mins shows at Samuel Oschin Planetarium charges a nominal fee of US$7 for each show. Tickets can be purchased separately at the box office within the observatory (first-come first-served basis). This is definitely one of my favourite stop in LA.

Back to Coral Sands and Vance’s birthday present was waiting for him! Coral Sands collects mails / packages for hotel guests and so Vance had his Nexus 7 delivered to the motel. He was so pleased with this new toy!

Looking forward to another shopping day tomorrow where we will visit Camarillo Premium Outlets.



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Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!