New year and new us, so what better way to kick off the new year than to do it extra large in the states. Let me tell you this, it is not cheap to get to the states from Singapore, no sir. The best way to get the best price, and to fly with a semi-reputable airline was to connect. In Doha. Traveling the opposite way back around where we came from. Only one airline carrier travelled across the Pacific and that was United, so with recent events, no thanks, also too expensive. So with Qatar Airways* it was, they got us to India in comfort so we trusted them to get us to America.
* Although it has to be said, careful when booking with them abroad and online, I had to perform and fill out rigorous security checks because they thought my card was fraudulent, as I was booking from an area that was ‘red flagged’. Which happened to contain Thailand, it was infuriating, and so badly done that I had to ring them from Bangkok and run up a bill of over 80 quid, just for them to tell me I was already cleared. Seriously, what a fucking pain that was!
Anyways, so this connection was son unbelievable awkward, and long, we actually ended up losing almost 2 full days in Singapore because of it. It left a the morning, and we travelled 28 hours, including a 6 hour connection in Doha, Yeh I know… ‘Twas grand though, although the second 16 hour flight really took it out of us.
So going back 11 times zones, and a total travel time of over 28 hours we had arrived in sunny, but hazy LA.
This is where our hostel, Samesun* was located, right on the infamous Windward Avenue straight down onto the epicenter of the Venice Beach Boardwalk. From the dope-ass panoramic you can see exactly where it was at. We literallycouldn’t be in a better area, it was straight up awesome. Was we stepped out of the taxi it was around 2 o’clock on the same day that we had left, sorta trippy, we had gone through so many time zones we may have well gone back in time, it a shame we didn’t actually travel for that amount of time. So settling into our shithole, sorry I mean our hostel, we were beyond tired, so what better way to relax then head out onto the boardwalk for a nice relaxing stroll!
It was then we saw, felt and smelt the good SoCal vibes. The sweet sweet green filled the air, the place was alive with floods of people from every corner of the planet, all embracing the laid-back Venice lifestyle.
We felt like home. It a sort of strange crazy sense…
It was certainly an experience, humans from every single walk of life meshed here, from the hundreds of homeless stoned and sun-worn beyond repair, to the drunken frat boys shouting at each other, the surfers and skaters blaring rock and hip-hop music while throwing the onlookers sideways glances, to the posers and fakers with plumped lips and even faker boyfriends, maxed-out bodybuilders walking topless and flexing. It truly a sight to be seen. I think on the first day we were just so tired, but all this just passed us by unnoticed, it wasn’t until after a good 10 hour sleep did we really begin to soak in the lifestyle, and get uplifted by the constant smog of kush the hugged the area on a daily basis ( keep in mind marijuana was legalized not just 3 days ago… ) so it just became the good smell of Cali. Although we just assumed it smelled like this all the time.
Samesun Venice* without spoiling my entry too much, this place is a bit of a shithole… like really. I’ll be honest, if your by yourself and only need a bed than this place is ok. But it’s horrendously expensive, waayyy too much for what you get, and you get the bare-essentials, really you can’t get a better location, this is literally the best you can get, buuuuut, keep in mind you can get bikes everywhere so it’s up to you, you can check out the website if you like!
We had a truly awesome week here, but for the first 3 days here, I personally felt a bit off, and I really couldn’t explain it… it drove me insane, it was so fuckin frustrating, and even looking back now it annoys me. I just feel a bit disjointed, and out of sorts, somewhat like I had felt earlier this year when my anxiety was kicking my ass. I just couldn’t put my finger on it, and it was annoying the shit of Sarah too. If I could explain it I would, and the type of person I am needs an explanation, and I just can’t give one, or even look for a solution. You’d think the most chill, laid-back and awesomely high place on the planet would be enough, but no, my stupidness was closing me off, and driving me into insanity. So to Sarah I was sorry, even looking back it still annoys me, but we had another 4 days to sort it of which we did.
We both woke up at the same like the 4th day and looked at each other, we both had a similar fed-up exhausted look on our faces. We were fuckin sick of this place, and neither of us had said anything to another, because we were both just putting up with it for each other. But it got a bit too much, and we booked into somewhere else. Not before long, ie. 1 hour later, we were checking into another hotel instead, the Inn at Venice Beach*. It was so awesome.
But why you ask? This is why:
- Our room literally vibrated, like literally, it made constant noises and vibrated all day and night, apparently due to the restaurant 2 floors below us
- Our window didn’t close, it wasn’t that cold out, but it wasn’t warm either, and every morning it was really foggy, and had a constant stream into our room
- The bed was tiny, it was a double although it would had constituted being a large single
- The carpet was so shit, it felt like it was wet all the time, it’s hard to describe, it feels like it hadn’t changed in years,
- There was only 4 bathrooms, 2 on each floor, for like 60 plus guests, come on lads,
- The staff were just too cool, to really care for anything, or do anything, or help, or even say hi
I think it was those reasons that made us hate the place, but we were just too considerate to say it to each other. So we actually got a refund, and ended up getting the other place for the same price, so basically we didn’t spend any money at all. As soon as we arrived, it was so so much better, so much fact that my haze completely lifted and I began to feel myself again. Not to mention they had Fuitloops!
Anyway enough of that, here are some more awesome pictures!
* Inn at Venice Beach, this place I think is still the nicest place we have stayed, you can book them here!
Over our week of awesomeness in LA, we got bikes most days, and just hung out down in the beach, or on the piers, the skatepark, or even just walking around. We also explored all the areas surrounding Venice, and we also learned that in fact, this city is huge, and we were staying in one of the many Burroughs. We were staying at Venice Beach, and we moved to an area called Wapa, still Venice, but it’s own independent area. Our new area was at the intersection of Washington and Pacific Avenue, it had a little Starbucks, loads of great restaurants, the original Arbor surf and skate shop, and where the owner had his studio ( the dream job ).
We went to Santa Monica a few times also, and loved that place. Although a tiny bit pretentious, just a small bit, but still very cool. It’s also the birthplace of modern day skateboarding, and we also got to see the original Zephyr Surf Shop, although closed a few years ago, it’s now been converted in a coffee roasters and Café called Dogtown Coffee*. They made a mean coffee and croissant, although sad to never see the shop that started it all, it was still awesome just to be where all the greats would have been.
*Dogtown Coffe, defo worth a stop, their website!
I was being hipster that day and for some reason only had the Fuji Insta, also it was too busy that morning to take pics inside, and I was embarrassed.
Cycling is by far the best way to get around all these areas, there is even a track that runs from Wapa to Santa Monica and beyond, but we didn’t go further than that. We also went inland, to the canal district, which is claimed to be by far the most beautiful area, but all of the areas were amazing in the own right, and all widely different. We also headed down to Marina del Rey, but that area, although has a cool marina, is the most fake area in all of LA, so we just moved on, back to the smokers haven, and back to insanity.
One morning, we made the half an hour trip to downtown LA, which was nice, but not as nice as you think. The building were incredible, we even made a stop into the Last Ever Bookshop, which contrary to popular belief, the people that worked there were rude, and total bellends, kinda annoying but, ah well. We even wandered into Skidrow, which I don’t need to talk about, but is really sad to see so many people struggling and homeless. But it was nearing lunchtime, and we weren’t sure where to go, until we found the cool Grand Central Market* a totally awesome farmers market, with independent food vendors that has literally every type of food anyone could possibly want. We had some dope bagels from Wexler’s Deli, worth it, but if you pay a visit, explore a bit more, we were just hungry and just hopped on what stood out to us most.
* Grand central market website for more info…
After wondering Downtown, we stopped into the most hipster place upmarket place called IlCaffé, it was actaully reasonably priced, but was so arty-farty, even though we were in the art district, it was ok. So we decided what to do, and one of the place recommended to us was The Grove, so grabbing an Uber we headed out there, and as soon as we arrived we saw ANTM contestant Nyle DiMarco, who Sarah lost her shit over, and I was like ‘oh’. Nah pretty cool, but before we left we saw one of our favs Emma Roberts, just casually walk by us, but obviously wouldn’t stop her, she was there to ‘treat herself’.
Following some more chilling and beach bumming, it was time to see the real LA, or rather the fake face it shows to the world, so we booked the Rasta Bus*, for a Day in LA. Instead of boring you with all the deets, I will just say it would be totally worth it, if it wasn’t absolutely fucking miserable. Seriously the people we talked to, including our bus driver, had never seen anything as bad for this time of year, it just doesn’t happen. It was so annoying, it did hinder us in a way, but we still had an amazing time, and we still got to see all the great sights.
But, oh well.
*This is the tour recommended to us, as all the people are locals, and is a local company born and bred, check the out here!
so with this came the end of our dope-ass trip to LA, and it’s Burroughs, and even then, we barely scratched the surface, even if at all. There is so much more culture and awesomeness in their street, we just didn’t have enough time to really explore it all. So just as typically did on our entire trip and would only happen to us, our last day and the we left was pure sunshine… But alas, wouldn’t have changes anything, our trip was amazing, although we could’ve done without the hostel.
So onto our next stop, a sweet 9 hour Greyhound ride to San Francisco, which in our fashion, ended up being 3 hours late. Typical, but until next time!
James & Sarah 🇺🇸🤙😎