USA: Yes, there’s a beach at Long Beach, CA, 28 – 30 May 2016

Sunset at Long Beach

With my impending departure from the USA, I decided to use my stash of miles and points to travel with my friends and loved ones. My best friend’s little 3 year old loves the beach and children’s museums; I am still on my ball park tour program. Hence, I suggested Long Beach. I transferred some of my UR points and booked 2 nights for my friends at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach. This is my first friend-cation in a long time, and the first time with a toddler.

Queen Mary

Day One:

The hotel check in took longer than expected, and killed 2 hours of our time. On a bright note, the hotel is at a great location, with plenty of restaurants and things to do nearby.

After lunch, we went to visit the Queen Mary, formerly a trans-oceanic cruise liner, which has been permanently moored at Long Beach since 1967. We made the mistake of going into the lego room, and that almost de-railed our whole trip, because Sky (my friend’s toddler) wanted to stay put. We also had some hilarious Sky-in-Titanic-pose shots on the ship. The engine room was really fascinating, and there’s an awesome graphic in that exhibition of where everything used to be, including how different class cabins used to look.

Angel Stadium

In the evening, we parted ways, and drove to Angel Stadium in Anaheim to watch a game. Tickets were cheap, and there’s free parking across the street from the stadium. It was also fireworks night, so we stayed for the fireworks show.

Postgame fireworks @ Angel Stadium

Day Two:

After breakfast at our suite (the club lounge was packed!), we had separate plans from my friends. We took a short walk along the beach before driving to Los Angeles to meet up with my friend who’s relocated there.

Long Beach

She took us to Road to Seoul, an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant in K-town, which was excellent, and great value for money. After a belly-on-wheelbarrow lunch, we tucked into Cafe Terrace that’s just a block down, a very lovely rustic-deco Korean cafe for some coffee.

Cafe Terrace in K-town, Los Angeles

In the evening, we re-joined our friends, who wanted to finally check out the beach. I was still sluggish from food, and Sky’s parents were happy to leave their bundle of terror to my partner, who spent some time playing int he sand with Sky.

This was a very chilled out trip. We didn’t do much, we also didn’t need to do much. We just had a great time hanging out with people we love.


USA – Hollywood, CA, 24 March 2011

The plan for today was for the three of us to do a city tour of LA, since the other two haven’t been there. Our first stop? Griffith observatory, for a view of the Los Angeles skyline.

This was definitely one of the coolest part of the trip for me. I visited the Griffith Observatory when I was a kid, at about 9 years old, some 18 years ago. The thing that impressed me the most when I was a kid, was the experiment when you first enter, proving the rotation of the earth, by watching the pegs get knocked down by the pendulum. Imagine my excitement when we walked in, and that experiment was still there!

After that, we had pizza lunch at a nice little Italian place, which served pretty decent pizzas. Wish I could remember its name, but it was on the road leading up the Griffin Observatory. Thereafter, we headed towards Sunset Boulevard to visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We pretty much walked most of it, and we stopped to take pictures of the stars we were most interested in. It was also the day after the death of the legendary Elizabeth Taylor, so some of her fans laid a memorial over her star.

Our next stop was downtown Los Angeles. We didn’t really step out of the place, but we just drove around the various districts. I guess there wasn’t much of a point stepping out anyway, given that everything was closed?

USA – Las Vegas, NV to Los Angeles, CA, 22 March 2011

Not much planned for today – it was a travelling day, where I take the four-to-five hour drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, the last part of our road trip, though there was some time pressure, as we were trying to get to Los Angeles in time for our Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns game in the evening at 7 pm.

It was an easy, not exactly inspiring drive, compared to the drive to Death Valley National Park, but I got to eat In&Out, so that was nice. The various state highways running around California and the great area of Los Angeles is simply insane! I was like turning round and round, and had no idea where I was going. I am not sure how other people do it. Thankfully, it was not frustrating for me, as with our three-person car, we were able to hit the carpool lane.

The Lakers vs. Suns game ended up being more than what we bargained for. It was a super tight race, that ended only after the fourth overtime, with the Lakers winning. I know many people have issues with the way Kobe Bryant plays, but he was seriously worth the money.

In & Out Burger

In & Out Burger: Mine is the one to the left – a double meat, Animal-style. Thanks J for tips on ordering

Staples Center

Staples Center

Inside Staples Center

Inside Staples Center – LA Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns

Kobe Bryant doing a Free Throw

Kobe Bryant doing a Free Throw

US Spring Road Trip: Nevada, Arizona, California, 17-26 March 2011

Took a road trip during Spring break. Here’s the itinerary:

17 March 2011: Seattle, WA – Long Beach, CA – Las Vegas, NV

18 March 2011: Las Vegas, NV (Ski trip)

19 March 2011: Las Vegas, NV – Boulder City, NV – Grand Canyon, AZ – Flagstaff, AZ

20 March 2011: Flagstaff, AZ – Grand Canyon, AZ – Peoria, AZ – Grand Canyon, AZ – Las Vegas, NV

21 March 2011: Las Vegas, NV – Death Valley National Park, NV/CA – Las Vegas, NV

22 March 2011: Las Vegas, NV – Los Angeles, CA

23 March 2011: Manhattan Beach, CA

24 March 2011: Los Angeles, CA

25 March 2011: Santa Monica, CA

26 March 2011: Los Angeles, CA – Seattle, WA