One of the last places we visited in Los Angeles was an open mall called The Grove. It’s an open area with lots of greens and a fountain facing most of the cafes and restaurants. It has a mini park where you can see some people doing some stunts or moves or whatever you want to call them. When we were there, we saw 2 Chinese men throwing lemons and cutting them in the air with a sword. The audience enjoyed it, they were cheering and clapping for them. Also you can find a very beautiful and fancy store called The American Girl. I’ve actually haven’t heard about it before until I saw the the place, went inside and explored it. It’s actually a dolls store that has a cafe, beauty salon and furniture shop, all for the American Dolls. There are lots of American characters; Julie, Samantha, Sage etc. All were so beautiful and real. Girls inside the store were having so much fun, I was only wishing that Juju was old enough to see this stuff and enjoy it as the girls in the store, but i think she’ll be old enough without me noticing it anytime soon 😛
At the end or maybe at the beginning of the market there’s a Farmer’s Market, this one is really huge not as the one you see on the streets that happened once a month. This one is there and it doesn’t closes. Whatever you want you can find it there. We weren’t very hungry so we didn’t get to try anything from the place we enjoyed walking around the place and exploring the mini stores. Check it out, it’s fun 🙂
After we settled in Calabasas, we wanted to visit Malibu, go around it and explore the area. We wrote down the places we wanted to visit and off we went. The first place was Malibu Creek Park, we went up and down the hill trying to find the place but with no luck, the GPS said that we were in the area but all we saw was forests, hills and lots of trees. We spent 30 minutes going around the same place looking for an entrance but with no luck. As we were heading out of the road to the main road, we saw people park at the beginning of the road and going down the hill, then we realised that we were in the right place but there was no actual entrance, you just park and move your legs. Of course we weren’t ready for such an adventure so we skipped this place and to the pier we went.
I was the one driving the car and husband was giving me directions from the GPS. The road was fine on the mountain but then it started shrinking and it became really small and we were going up, I was actually looking down the mountain from my left and it was so scary, we were very high, almost reached the sky 😛 I became really nervous as we went up and the road shrinker more and more. Husband asked me to park on the right so he can take over but it was too risky to do so. I continued driving nervously until the road became bigger and we were descending to the ocean side, then I became relaxed and I enjoyed the road.
There was nothing to do in the pier, it was very windy but very beautiful at the same time. We had fresh juices in one of the restaurants. They thought we wanted to have lunch but all we had were juices, and I thought they they didn’t like us sitting for juices only but it wasn’t crowded so they didn’t say anything but I kinda felt it 😛
Then we headed to Point Dume. A very high area in Malibu, all fancy houses and villas, fancy cars and atmosphere. It was very easy to reach the place, we parked our car and we headed to the stairs taking us down the beach. As we saw how deep down it was, we almost had a heart attack it was really deep. My husband didn’t want to go down because it would take all your energy literally. I mean going down is easy but going up,,,Oh boy. I went down to take some nice pictures. And when I went up :S I couldn’t feel my legs, and it actually took me 15 minutes to reach our car but it was worth it as you can see from the pictures 🙂
It’s just across the street from our hotel, what a location 🙂
A small open air complex that has a cinema, shops, supermarket, cafes, restaurants and Barnes & Noble 🙂 As if i was living in heaven 😀 The whole place was so clean and beautiful, a lot of greens which we rarely see in our area. Beautiful clean breeze to breath every morning and every night. We loved taking a walk around the place, just going and coming back. Even walking in the parking lot was so much fun with those tall huge trees covering the area.
We enjoyed our nights going to the cinema, choosing from a very small variety of movies but we didn’t mind it at all. The movies didn’t have anyone working there except the guy who we bought the tickets from and the one selling us popcorns and snacks. We entered without anyone asking us about our tickets, and we headed to our hall without being directed there. Also when we got inside the hall, no one asked us for our tickets, we seated ourselves and that was it. People there trust the people of Calabasas. No one would ever dare to cross the line which we liked and respected very much.
My mornings in this city were very beautiful. Why? Because I had to spend them in Barnes & Noble, a huge bookstore that we don’t have in Kuwait and I don’t think we’ll ever get to see one. Every day, I’d wake up around 9 am, take the car and head to The Commons, park in front of the bookstore, order my coffee and choose my table. To my surprise, it was really crowded. I didn’t think i’d see a lot of people in the place because I thought they might be at work, but actually many of them were doing their work in the coffee shop of Barnes & Noble.
At the end of our trip, we decided to get some quality time and relaxation away from the city, tours and places to visit. We just wanted to relax, breath healthy air and enjoy our free time doing nothing. We thought why not Calabasas? It’s a luxurious city, many celebrities reside in it and it’s so healthy that you won’t see anything with plastic in it 😀
We booked 5 nights in The Anza Hotel, which is the best one in town. The hotel looked really good, though it was small but everything was brand new and clean. What we didn’t like was their service. They rarely changed the towels, we had to call them more than once to ask for clean towels. And they charged us $10 parking per day, why not offer free parking spaces for your residence? Our hotel in Anaheim did that and so Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. That made us frustrated because the rate per night wasn’t cheap at all.
I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it, I did and the room was very spacious. I enjoyed waking up in the morning, preparing breakfast for husband and I and watching the cars pass by on the highway.
We ended our San Diego trip by dropping the USS Midway a visit. Admission was very cheap and it was about to close, so they told us that we can stamp our tickets if we want to visit it next day but of course we didn’t because the was very far from our hotel. To be honest, I wasn’t interested in such place but my husband skipped a heart beat when he saw the huge aircraft carrier standing in front of his own eyes. He dies for such places and museums, because he’s into planes and fighters.
When we got inside, we saw some small planes standing, you can see them but you can’t get inside them, then we saw stimulators, we wanted to go and try them but we’ve just had a hearty meal so we didn’t want to risk throwing up inside it 😛 Then we went up the aircraft carrier and then everything became so dreamy and beautiful. So many planes, fighters, helicopters to see and actually go inside them, I loved looking at them but my husband literally took photos with each aircraft 😛 I just sat there looking at the ocean and enjoying the beautiful breeze.
Then we had a chit chat with one of the navy men who served in Kuwait’s war and he told us about his experience. We loved talking with him and listening to his story. We also saw some women who also served in the war, we saw them wearing the Kuwaiti flag on their uniform. It was a pleasant experience.
And the huge Soldier Kissing Nurser statue was there 😉
So by far, this is the best restaurant we ate at in the US. After the horrible experience of San Diego Safari Park, we decided to visit this restaurant and enjoy the food that everybody talked about online. I wanted to eat seafood, so I did a lil bit of searching on google and found about this place. It has around 4 or 5 branches in California.
The San Diego branch was really nice and big. Many people said that this place gets crowded around 3pm. It actually opens at 3pm on weekdays but on weekends it opens at 12pm, so we reached the place around 1pm and we found many tables to sit on. We got the biggest one because we knew we were going to make a huge mess 😛
Th waiter was very helpful, they did a great job in explaining everything but actually they didn’t have to because I knew what to order (from American blogs). We ordered 2Lb shrimps, 2Lb of clams, 3 crabs,a huge lobster, steamed rice and soup (I forgot the name). We chose the Whole Shabang sauce which was all the sauces together and medium spicy which wasn’t medium at all but we loved it.
They gave us bibs to wear, they put a waxed paper on the table and the food came in plastic bags. Of course this place didn’t have forks and knives as you can see from the presentation of food. You have to use both hands in eating your meal. Eating with your hands makes food more and more delicious, as you can see we’ve made a huge mess 😛
We went to this place again but this time we tried the Los Angeles branch which was small, crowded and kinda old (From the decoration) but the quality of food was superb and the service was awesome as usual. I have to say the prices were very reasonable considering the amount of food we ordered and the LOBSTER we ordered 😛
You have to try this place, it’s really good.
Let me begin with this; It was the most awful trip ever. Honestly, we enjoyed our time to the max in California and everything we went to or visited was totally worth it except this trip that almost ruined our day for us.
Driving from Anaheim to San Diego Safari Park took 2hrs. When we reached the place which was located on a hill away from the city, we were shocked to find out that we had to pay for the parking. Why? Then we had pay entree fees for the park and then we saw the fees of the other attractions in the park and everything had a separate fee???? Why all this money? Seriously! Why don’t they just include it all in one ticket and Voila go and have fun? Not to mention the parking was really far from the entrance and we had to go up for about 15 minutes in the burning sun, and trust me, it wasn’t your regular up, it was really UP. I couldn’t feel my legs afterwards.
We entered the place anyway because we drove 2hrs and we weren’t going to go back without seeing what’s inside this park. It was a very regular zoo, I don’t why they called it a Safari when the entrance fee was for the zoo. You have to pay extra $50 for Cheetah Safari, extra $50 for Loop Safari and so on. So our entrance was for a boring zoo. I can’t lie and tell it wasn’t cool, no the place looked really huge but the only thing we enjoyed was the birds show. We couldn’t finish the whole place because it was boiling hot. So we left the zoo after one hour from going around it.
Wasn’t worth it at all.
We ended our day in San Francisco in Pier 39 which is a famous area and the centre of everything. The whole action is there. You want to have a bite, you can have it there, a snack is there, cafes, restaurants desserts and bakeries are all there. You want to buy a souvenir you can also buy it from there. So many activities, movie theatre, cruises, shows, mazes and so much more. You can spend your whole day there without feeling bored.
I feel that we didn’t stay that long in this area and didn’t explore it that much, but our visit was okay. Maybe next time when we head to the USA, we must plan few days in San Fran to finish everything. The place is huge and CROWDED. You can hardly find a place to sit in so if you want to have lunch, make sure to eat around 1 or 2pm because around 3 or 4pm, the place becomes crowded.
“PIER 39 is a 45-acre waterfront complex that is a gathering place for millions of San Francisco locals and visitors. In addition to its 14 full-service restaurants, 90+ shops and popular attractions, PIER 39 is home to a 5-acre waterfront park and a 300-berth marina. PIER 39 is known for its spectacular views of San Francisco Bay including the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge and Alcatraz, as well as the world famous California sea lions hauled out on K-Dock.”
Check their website for more information Pier 39
Oh yeah, we were inside that famous prison called Alcatraz. I’m sure all of you guys have heard of this prison and the criminals that stayed there, one of them was Al Capone. Alcatraz Island belonged to Mexico long time ago but then California governor bought it from them and became US property/land.
How this place became a very famous prison is a very long story which you can google if you’re interested. I can tell you that I came to know about this prison from Kevin bacon’s famous movie Murder In The First 1995 which was about a prisoner in Alcatraz that his case led to shut down the whole place. Watch it, a very interesting movie.
Back to our trip, we reached our ferry just before 1pm and boarded immediately. As I said it was freezing called, so imagine staying in the upper deck just to get some cool pictures of the prison, we almost became ice cubes 😛 When we got to the mini island, there was a guard who spoke to every group that arrived to the mainland, we kinda skipped the speech because we wanted to save time. The place was really huge and it had a lot of going up and up and up. My legs started melting after few steps up.
The place was really scary as we first passed by the morgue which looked horrible! Then we entered the prison and saw where they showered and changed their clothes for the first time. Then we got our tour audio and headed up to the cells. Some places were closed for some reasons. We got to see the cells, the kitchen, the library and other places. It was so overwhelming, and there was this awful smell that made me feel death was surrounding us :S A very creepy tour.
We finished the whole place in 2 hours or less, something like that and headed back to Pier 39 in the ferry but this time we stayed inside because it was getting very cold.
A dream came true … San Francisco in front of my own eyes.
We were planning on visiting San Francisco for one day, so when we reached Las Vegas, we booked our one day ticket through Virgin Airlines and waited for the big day to come. It was on the 7th of August 2014. Our flight was at 7am something like that so we went to LAX airport around 5am, parked our car and headed to the gate. We didn’t have luggage with us and we have already checked in and got our boarding bar codes throughout Virgin Airlines mobile application which was awesome.
The plane was very small and cozy, they served us organic snacks *thumpsup* and without knowing it, we were getting ready to land. And guess what? It was freezing cold :S It was summery in Los Angeles but it was the total opposite in San Fran, we thought maybe because it’s early in the morning, but we were wrong, it didn’t become warm, actually it became colder :S but it was nice.
We headed to Pier 39 to an exact Kiosk that we booked our tickets from online. The tickets were for Alcatraz, and Big Bus Tour and other stuff which we didn’t have the time to visit. We decided to start with the Big Bus Tour which was so much fun. We took the upper seats (so cold) to see San Francisco clearly.
The tour started from Pier 39 and continued to the main city, union square, then to a museum which I can’t remember the name, the painted ladies, to the golden gate and then back to Pier 39. We stopped at The Golden Gate took some pictures and then we headed back to the pier by taking the ferry 🙂 We lost our bus and took the wrong bus which helped us in finding the right ferry to get us back to town because we were going to miss our Alcatraz tour.
It was so much fun 😀
When we arrived to Santa Monica, we were very hungry as I said in my previous post. We took a quick look around the restaurants in the area and our eyes picked a very far one located at the end of the pier. The location looked very tempting and we actually needed such place. I remembered reading about this restaurant but I didn’t check their menu online so can you imagine our faces when we saw the menu 😛 ?
When we were seated, they gave us the menu and it was all Mexican food, even the ingredients were Mexican words written in English so it was very difficult for us to comprehend the dish. It’s not your regular Mexican restaurant that you can find here in Kuwait. This was Mexican for real.
The waitress was extremely helpful and she managed to explain everything in detail. We managed to choose 2 main dishes. They brought us complementary nachos with salsa which was amazing. Then our orders arrived. We were worried that the dishes won’t be enough for us but it turned out to be more than enough. Everything looked just perfect, the taste was really good but it was very heavy, we couldn’t move afterwards 😀 But it was a good experience.
It is a place I’ve always seen on TV but I’ve never ever dreamt of seeing it alive and actually visit it. Santa Monica Pier, the popular place that you have seen in many movies was in front of my eyes 😀
After we finished from touring Hollywood, we headed Ice Cream Lab (previous post). Then we continued to Santa Monica Pier. The place was crowded because it’s summer obviously. We reached the place very hungry, so searched for a place to eat (post coming) and then we started exploring the area.
It wasn’t THAT huge, but it was decent. It had many restaurants and cafes, small food kiosk and some games to play. Not to mention the sea itself but it was rough, and the weather was very windy and kinda cold (to me). But it seemed that it wasn’t a problem to the people swimming in the sea.
We enjoyed walking on the sand which was cool and soft. Watching children play, teenagers playing volleyball on the beach, lovers talking etc. The place was very relaxing and soothing to the mind and soul. Get your book and beach rug and enjoy the sunset there.