Los Angeles 2009

It wasn’t my first time traveling to L.A. but it was my first time going there without my family in tow (translation: without hiding behind our mother’s proverbial skirt). My sister was supposed to come with us, but as you can read in her blog, she would rather study fashion styling at SoFA than go to the US.  Tita May, Cris’s mom, found out I was going to L.A. and she promptly told Cris to meet me there.

Then we were supposed to be 4 people, but arrangement problems had one friend staying near the LAX and I don’t know what happened to the other friend. In any case, Cris and I were left to fend for ourselves. It’s a good thing our hotel room, Best Western Raffles Inn & Suites at Anaheim, costs about $70/night. The room can fit 4 people (2 queen sized beds), so that’s almost like $17.5/person/night. Not bad! If there were still 4 of us, that is.

Plane Ride and Day 1
I was super early at the airport because I wanted to get aisle seats. So can you imagine my consternation when this middle-aged man refused to give up MY seat. I was poised for war since the man wouldn’t seem to listen to what I had to say (about me potentially disturbing him every 20 minutes because I know my habits). And in the end he said, “So dito ka na sa gitna, ako na sa gilid?” GAAAAAH! I just shook my head and he grumbled (“Ang hirap pala kausap nito!”) all throughout the ride. So that was 11 hours of tension riding on my back. Did not get any sleep, which actually helped because my body immediately adjusted to the timezone.

Upon arrival, I lined up for immigration and was approached by an immigration officer. I was the only one approached. Come to think of it, all my answers were so TNT material. Hahaha! But the guy was friendly enough and he walked back to the other group of officers. The woman in front of me asked why I was the only one questioned and I shrugged. Then she said, “Baka type ka.” I looked at the guy and his crew — they were all male and looking at my direction. When it was my turn, the guy at the counter asked me the same things. Weird.

Airport officers were friendly. I never noticed before since people would usually greet my mom when I travel. Met Cris at the exit. She came from a different terminal since she flew in from Vancouver.  We checked into Best Western and ate at Denny’s.

Denny’s is sinful. And since there was too much of it, we had it for breakfast.

Day 2: Disney California Adventure & the Pre-Season Lakers Game
My biggest mistake was deciding late what to do for the first day. Cris and I ended up buying two-day Disney tickets for $300. When my cousin Toto found out, he was like, “Why did you pay for Disney! Tatum works there! He could’ve given you the tickets for free.”  Gwah. California Adventure was actually relaxing (all those “old people” rides are pretty restful) but after knowing that we could’ve spared ourselves $300, we sorta felt bleh.

Random thought: Being in Sephora (in Downtown Disney) is like being a kid in a candy store.

My nephews Oliver and Tatum picked us up later that evening for a Pre-Season Lakers Game (versus Nuggets) at the Honda Center. VIP Room. Turns out that there was also an Angels versus Yankees game so it was a good thing there was a flat screen TV on the VIP lounge. We were able to see both games. It was L.A.’s night: Lakers and Angels won. The whole court was celebrating both victories.

Day 3: Disneyland
Was so exhausted from the time frame difference and I was hungry on the way to Disneyland. Hunger + Exhaustion = Cranky Bea. Didn’t enjoy it as much as California Adventure but I enjoyed the walk, even though it was hot as Hades. It was only two blocks away from our hotel anyway so we skipped the $8 shuttle this time around. Gosh, so many people on a Friday! All big and in your personal space all the time. And I got called “skinny” by a Chinese waitress. I am not skinny. People in L.A. just happen to be huge.  But it wasn’t as bad as my last Disney trip with my family (2 hours in line for a 2-minute ride).  I know I can’t handle the tough rides this time around and Cris has a fear of heights. Those things come with age. We took “old people” rides again.

We watched the Disney fireworks at the hotel but were too lazy to take pics. Looooove the fireworks. There was even one that had a smiley on it. A lot of the fireworks display were pretty unique as they formed figures and had timings.

Was supposed to meet up with another friend but it traffic was bad and I was getting cranky with hunger again. We went back to Denny’s. Hehehe. Denny’s is the ultimate comfort food, I swear. I just wish there were smaller portions so I can sample everything!

Day 4: Lunch with the Tabares Family & Shopping
With my cousins, Toto and Zeny, and Oliver. They have a pretty dog named Kobe (named after Bryant). We had steak, something that Cris had actually been craving for the past two days. After lunch, we went shopping for Nicco’s books and Elena’s Skor bars, which, by the way, were a hell to find! It wasn’t until Oliver stopped by the gasoline station — on our way to the airport — that he actually found them.

Shopping at Nordstrom was amusing. We had to do a search on Shu Uemura products because I heard that they’re cheaper in L.A. (waaaaay cheaper!) than here in the Philippines.  We ended up at Nordstrom. Among the three of us (Oliver, Cris and me), Cris is the only one who looks remotely Japanese and she doesn’t even look like she’s interested in Shu Uemura.  The sales ladies were just busy chatting over whatever and were clearly ignoring us even though we obviously needed help.  Oliver said, “We look like we don’t have money.”

I called the attention of one of the ladies and pointed to the pink Shu Uemura cleansing oil, “Can I have two of these?”  She turned to me and said she was just going to go and get some stocks from the second floor. I whipped out my credit card while waiting for her (thank you, Rustan’s Citibank Visa for giving me a pre-approved Gold one) and suddenly, the other sales ladies were noticing me and asking if I needed anything or if I had already gotten help. Tsk. Honestly, they really should practice figuring out which ones are paying tourists and which ones are just there for a free makeover.

And Rowena was right. Shu Uemura here is highway robbery. The cleansing oil at Nordstrom is only $30. Here, it would cost about $47.


Plane ride back…
Was hell. Not only did I think that my time in L.A. was too short, I also happened to sit beside someone who didn’t seem to have manners. Her limbs were everywhere, so were her garbage, which I’d kick back.  I wanted to plant my elbow into her face or ask her to pay for half my fare, since she kept encroaching my personal space anyway. Again, wasn’t able to sleep for the whole 12 hours of the flight.

I slept the entire Monday morning away, which kind of fixed my body timezone again.

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