Tag Archives: California

Celebrity Saturday

Hey! A couple of weeks ago in California, I experienced something I wouldn’t even dream of. It all started at a festival in Pasadena called Make Music Pasadena. My friend from New York was playing at the festival and near the end of his bands’ set, someone came on stage to sing with them. I had no idea who this dude was but they seemed to have fun. After the gig I met that dude, his name was Matt.

Matt invited my boyfriend and I to come to his after party in Los Angeles. Of course we joined him, as Pasadena is one of the least exciting cities I’ve ever visited, and because this after party sounded like it could be fun.

When the band wrapped up, my boyfriend and I left. I got a text message with the address and we called a cab. When the cab arrived, it ran me over so naturally we had to order a new cab. About 40 minutes later we finally were on our way to this mysterious place somewhere in Los Angeles, not too far away from the festival we were at. The cab driver stopped the car, we paid him and didn’t have a single penny left.

This after party was in the Los Angeles hills. We couldn’t find it at first, until we heard someone say “Hey! You’re the first to arrive”. This kinda reminds me of Jay Gatsby’s parties in the book called The Great Gatsby. Mysterious, no idea of what’s coming next and no clue of who the host it. Anyway, we walked up to his garden and Matt was still busy preparing for the party. He told us that he likes to organise these kind of garden parties. The year before he threw about 20 parties in the summertime (if I recall this correctly). Still, I had no clue of who this guy was. Maybe I am too young to have recognised him.

He placed a vinyl in his record player and by the time this happened, the first guests arrived. Everyone brought drinks and some even brought snacks. All of them knew each other so of course the boyfriend and I felt a bit left out. His advantage was that he’s in his thirties, which was basically the minimum age at the party. And there I was, 21 years young and at least 13 years younger than the average age. But who cares! I was in Los Angeles at some weird, but fun party having the time of my life.

Matt told us he was born in Thailand and told us some more about his life. He was super hospitable to us even though he didn’t know us and the one person that did know us, arrived a couple of hours later than us.

Then Matt took out two wooden steep boxes. Each of them had a hole in the middle.  The boxes have to be about 15 yards away from each other and the goal is to throw all of the three little bags into the hole. There are two teams consisting of two persons. You throw in turn, so only one person per team per round is able to make points. I’m double jointed so throwing a straight line is pretty difficult for me. Needless to say, I sucked at this game. And it probably didn’t help either that I was drunk from all the vodka. My teammate and I surprisingly won the game (I don’t know how we managed to do so, but – thank God I guess? – the point counting system is incomprehensible and you can just throw them carelessly). This meant we were still in the game. The next round we were out and after this I gave up. Throwing seemed like mission impossible.

I took a nap in Matt’s music studio on a very comfortable couch and by the time I woke up, my friend had arrived. He brought me more vodka, sweet things but at that point completely unnecessary.

Couple of hours later, I believe it was 1 AM, it was time to go home. The party wasn’t over yet but I was worn out and so were my boyfriend and friend. My friend gave us a ride back and we immediately fell asleep in the motel in Pasadena.

Two weeks later, towards the end of our road trip I looked up some reviews of Make Music Pasadena. Apparently that dude called Matt is an actual public figure. Ever heard of the band called Weezer? Yeah, Matt = Matt Sharp. I checked it, he was born in Thailand and the picture looked an awful lot like him. So Matt, a guy who formed that band called Weezer back in 1992. Guess what? They have over 3 MILLION likes on Facebook…

I thought I had a pretty cool story, but my friend whom I’m currently staying with in London overruled me. What did he do? He played with his band at Prince Charles his house.. Their job was to scare every celebrity/person from behind the bushes. Now that’s something you don’t get to do every single day!

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Coastline journey

One week ago the boyfriend and I flew out to Las Vegas to celebrate his big three O. Las Vegas was cool, exactly how you’d imagine it. Casinos, rich men smoking cigars, drunk people, sun (freaking 100 degrees Fahrenheit!!), many many tourists and more. It’s quite the experience. Needless to say, we had a good time and spent way too much money on indulging ourselves. Three days and a tedious flight later we landed in the lovely LA again.

We spent a night in downtown LA and the next day we drove to Pasadena to see one of my friends play at a festival called Make Music Pasadena. It’s a cute festival spread over thee city centre. The crowd was young and it felt kind of like a little music community. Way different from what I’m used to in the Netherlands and even more different from the New York music scene.

After my friend’s gig we got invited to an after party in Los Angeles, but I’ll write more on that in a later post.

Sunday we had a long trip (7 hours!) ahead of us, driving all the way from Pasadena to Sacramento. I don’t know what was going on in my head when I decided I wanted to see the California capital. Everyone whom I spoke to about it said no Elja, don’t do it, it’s ridiculously boring over there. Stubborn as I am we went there and man, were those people right. Every shop was closed, as well as 50% of the restaurants and bars. Sacramento though, is a beautiful town with a lot of trees (it’s called the city of trees) and well maintained parks. But don’t go there, it’s not worth the long drive.

In college I took a wine tasting course and as a hospitality student, there’s no way around going to Napa. We stayed at the Silverado Resort which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. They have tennis courts (we even played there too!), pools, golf courts, a fitness centre, a spa and I’m sure there are more activities we didn’t know about. Their service was outstanding, from check in to check out. Nothing, absolutely nothing to complain about. It was simply perfect.

We also visited a vineyard called Mumm and tried six of their sparkling wines while sitting in the sun and enjoying the scenery. If you like wine and need a little rest from the city life, Napa is the place to be.

And finally, after two weeks we drove to San Francisco. I heard many good stories about this city and of course, seen it in movies. But it was slightly different from what I expected it to be. There are so many homeless people in SF, it’s unbelievable. Would these people be stuck in the seventies and eighties when they smoked weed all day long and do hippie stuff? Also, stylish people were nowhere to be found even though it’s so artistic.

I did have a great time in this part of California. It was super cold because of the fog, but the city itself is charming, musical and there’s lots of stuff to do. The Golden Gate Park is gigantic. It has a science museum, Japanese tea garden, botanical garden and more. I bet summers in San Francisco parks are awesome. I read 4/20 on Hippie Hill (Golden Gate Park) is one of the biggest 4/20 gatherings in the States. So definitely go there if you like your (medicinal) weed.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have to chance to visit Alcatraz as the tickets were sold out until Sunday (we stayed in SF from Tuesday to Thursday). Visit Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill for a view over the city as well as Twin Peaks.

On Wednesday we went to this bar on Van Ness and Hemlock to check out some bands. The first band had potential, but needs a new lead singer. He hurt my ears. The next band was surprisingly good. They’re called Girls in Suede. They had a good energy going on and knew what they were doing. The girl who played the bass also played two songs on a saxophone. When they finished their show, they handed out CDs. Can’t wait to listen to it!

For the next couple of days we didn’t plan anything so we just drove and stopped the car whenever and wherever we wanted to. And so we ended up in Santa Cruz!

Santa Cruz, a.k.a. Surf City, is in central California and known for their amusement park (voted the best of the world) and excellent surf spots for every level. The beginner surf spot near the pier was overly crowded so we decided not to rent boards.

Instead, we’re now driving on route 1 by the coast heading south, to our next – still unknown – destination..

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From LA to San Diego and more

Everything they say about this city is true. The grass is perfectly cut, there’s always traffic, everyone seems to be an actor and the list of things doesn’t end. But it’s truly a wonderful place. Wherever I go I’m astounded by the scenery, people and beauty of the city.

On Thursday we went to Disneyland in Anaheim. I’ve wanted to go here for a while now, but I was kind of disappointed by the insanely long lines that go up to 1.5 hours. We stood in line for Space Mountain for more than an hour when all of a sudden, the attraction broke down for the second time that day. Guest Services gave us fast passes for three attractions after we talked with them, so in the last hour we got to skip the line for three attractions. It was a nice day, felt like a kid again!

On Friday we took the car to San Diego. Surf was finally up!! The drive there was incredibly long. It should’ve taken us 2 hours but it took us 4 hours instead. LA traffic was killing us! Once we were out of LA, it all got better. Yeah, LA is definitely not the place to be if you’re in a hurry. Everyone always drives as if they’re in the Fast and the Furious, but when Highway Patrol drives by, everyone suddenly drives like angels.

We arrived in San Diego around 3:30 pm, parked the car and rented surfboards at a local shop. The people in the store were typical surfers. Blond, tanned, blue eyes, lean and beef cake-ish and talked in the most relax way you can imagine. The shop closed at 6 so we only had 2 hours surf. The guys from the shop didn’t charge us for the second hour, sweet!

So my boyfriend had never surfed before and I went to a surf camp twice when I was a little younger. This doesn’t say anything though. I have the knowledge of how to surf, but when I’m actually in the water, I still don’t know what to do (ok.. a little bit exaggerated). I taught him the basics on the beach and we subsequently walked to the ocean. Time to practice! I kind of hoped I could impress my boyfriend and luckily for me, I caught the first wave and stood up as if it was nothing. I guess the Californian waves are easier to tame than French waves!

I was very proud of my boyfriend. Even though he wiped out many times, he also managed to stand up, and one time he even jumped up (so without the knee-step in between). Yaaayy we have a natural! I feel a lot of surf holidays coming up!

On our way back (took us 2 hours), when we entered the LA zone again, we noticed how only LA’ers have crazy driving habits. It’s a combination of Formula 1 and go karts. It’s so dangerous and it really requires full attention on the road. But ok, enough about LA traffic. This is the least interesting thing to mention about this spectacular city.

On Saturday we went to Universal Studios in Hollywood. I didn’t know what to expect but it was awesome. They sure know how to entertain and it’s not a mystery why they’re the top production studio in the world. We went in the Jurassic Park water ride, the high speed Revenge of the Mummy dark roller coaster ride, the 3D Transformers ride (my absolute favourite, and I don’t even know what Transformers are) and a couple more. We also did the Universal Studios Tour which took about an hour. It was cool to see what it looks like on stage. The King Kong 3D ride at the end of the tour was amazing. Within a couple of years, every cinema will have moving chairs and stuff to make the experience of a 3D movie even more believable. When going to Universal Studios, do go on this tour! It’s so mind blowing!!

My boyfriend wanted to see shows so we watched the Special Effects show (there’s so much they do with and without computers, it’s crazy!) and went to the Waterworld show which was one of the raddest things I’ve ever seen. It’s based on the movie Waterworld, starring Kevin Costner. There was fire, and flying people and obstacles (amongst others a plane) and – of course – water. During a fight scene, one of the actors (woman) accidentally got hit by another actor (man). But I think she was okay. Those actors really have to be in top shape, it’s inhuman what they’ve to do! Running, jumping away from fire, swimming, jet-skiing and all of that at a high pace. I recommend everyone to see the Universal Studios!

It’s Sunday now and we’re going to Malibu in a bit. Exciting! Hopefully we’ll be able to surf again!

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I’m in California!

It’s a dream coming true. Ever since I was 15 years young I wanted to visit this part of the world, and finally I’m here!

I landed safe and sound in Los Angeles and now waiting at the baggage claim for the boyfriend to arrive from Detroit.

The travel from our campus to JFK was long and exhausting, needless to say I’m pretty spent and hungry as we didn’t get food on the plane – or maybe they did but I was sleeping. I passed out directly after take off and woke up after three hours. Watched Life of Pi on the plane (great movie to watch on the plane! It finished exactly when the plane hit the ground) and read a book about wine. Good flight, nothing to complain about.

JFK was – once again – total crap by the way. Everything such as escalators, elevators and stuff were out of order and with three mad heavy bags to carry, oof don’t let me get started. LAX on the other hand is a convenient airport. It’s big but divided into sections and it’s very easy to find everything you need.

Here are some snaps I took from my seat on the plane. I’ve seen snow, desert and typical American neighbourhoods.

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I see my boyfriend standing at the baggage claim. See you!!

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Goodbye east coast, hello west coast!

Exactly four months ago I left the Netherlands for the east coast. I didn’t know what to expect but it has exceeded all my expectations, and more. Now, I’m sitting in my dormitory lobby, killing time before – once again – going on a new adventure: California.

This spring semester was better, cooler, crazier and much more than anything else I’ve ever done in the 21 years on this globe. Reality hasn’t hit me yet, I’m still chilling at the university like every other day, but it’s really over. The last words of this chapter have been written. 

In two hours I’m leaving Fairleigh Dickinson University once and for all, and I’m really sad to be leaving but also this amazing chapter has to end. I’m flying from JFK to LAX at 4 pm so in less than 9 hours I’m in the Golden State. Woohoo!!

Sun, sea and beach, here I come! 

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