It’s my first time to visit Los Angeles, actually it’s my first time to be in US. Not too excited about it because it’s a business trip. Although I did hope to have some free time to walk around the area. I stayed there for one week and checked in at La Quinta Inns and Suite at Buena Park.

La Quinta Inn, Buena Park

La Quinta Inns and Suite, Buena Park

The things I love in this place are:

1. The weather. It’s like living in Baguio, Philippines. The weather is cool but the sun is up and smiling! It’s not very humid so you won’t sweat alot–opposite of Singapore.

2. The place I stayed is clean. But my sister told me that in some areas, it’s also dirty (like Hollywood).

3. The freeways (highway) are wide, but sometimes traffic jam is still there.

4. There’s a lot of food choices.

Los Angeles Freeway

Los Angeles Freeway

But for a non-resident like me, it’s pretty tough to go around the tourist places. When I thought I could “walk around”, I didn’t mean I could “taxi around”. The taxi is expensive. From the airport to my hotel, which is around 30 mins ride, costs me $80USD. From the hotel to Disneyland, an 18-minute travel, costs me $30. It’s definitely a must to own a car here because the public transport isn’t really good. Its public transport isn’t even at par with the Philippines’. The frequency of buses is per hour. There’s only one bus passing by the area where I stayed. Although it seems that cars are cheap so if you’re a working here, owning a car is probably easy. They have a metro railway transit though.

The food is also slightly more expensive, but that’s because the serving is really BIG. Sometimes the food is even good for three people, so actually it’s cheaper. It’s just that I don’t really need a BIG size meal. My office colleagues said that in the place where I stayed, it’s pretty safe but I shouldn’t go walking around at night. I heard that owning a gun in US is very easy so almost everyone owns a gun. Sometimes you’ll hear gunshots in the evening. I told them that in Singapore, it’s very safe to go out even during midnight (especially if you’re hungry and want to eat at the hawker shop). They said, it’s also the same in LA, but don’t expect yourself not to be shot by someone. πŸ™‚

I think it’s a norm for most western countries to close the shopping malls early during Fridays or weekends. In Asia, normally the malls stay really late during weekends. It’s the only time where people can go out and shop (and spend money) so they close the malls around 11pm. I guess US doesn’t encourage its people to go late-night shopping during weekends. I heard though that there’s a lot of outlet malls around, which is probably a haven for sale-seeker shoppers.

During my stay, I had a taste of Italian, American, and Korean food. The place that I liked most is Fuddruckers. The ambience, the look and feel of the place is so “American”. I got totally amazed by the 150 flavors of drinks! One coke can have 5 flavors.

I was sent there to conduct trainings to the operations team. All of them are Koreans except for a lady from Mexico–Daniela. I was thrilled to have a Spanish-speaking attendee in the training. I have been studying Spanish for the past few weeks. I love the Spanish language. You can read my post about using Duolingo to learn Spanish. I noticed that there’s alot of Spanish-speaking people in LA, probably because it’s near some Latin American countries. It’s another reason why I love the place. I think I’ll become a fluent Spanish speaker if I stay there for a year. There are even rare occasions when Daniela asks me to translate an English word into Spanish. It’s so gratifying to be able to do that. When I hear people talking in Spanish, my heart just starts jumping. My mind starts translating them.

The highlight of my trip is the part where I unintentionally saw Johnny Depp in person! I went there Saturday afternoon. I still have free time in the hotel so I decided to go to Disneyland and try the “kiddie” rides. The staff at the ticketing counter told me that a part of the park will be closed because of the red-carpet event for the movie Lone Ranger. I didn’t really mind it as long as the roller coaster is open and the other “near-extreme” rides. When I’ve tried almost all rides, I decided to go out of the park till I saw the crowd starts shouting “Johnny Johnny Johnny”. Fortunately, I was able to see Johnny in person! He really looks younger than his age. He’s probably using stem cell therapy. πŸ™‚