Road Trip: Los Angeles: Part 1 / by Will Tung

Mulholland Drive

Sunday: The first thing I did when I got to Los Angeles was to go to a BBQ at Sid's (Nick's bf). He's subletting a cozy little apartment situated upon a hill in the Echo Park region. It was a good time, and good company, although we arrived late, so everyone had already eaten. Later that night, I took the obligatory tour of Hollywood, including the Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theater, Kodak Theater, etc. I realized that my feet and hands fit John Woo's the most. Afterwards, we decided to to take some photos up on Mulholland Drive. We (Nick and I) stopped at a scenic overlook, and it was starting to get cold. I got jackets from the trunk of the car, and then later on realized that I had locked my keys in the trunk! What's worse is that both my spare key and valet key were in the trunk as well. My convertible top was up too, so I couldn't get into the car to open the trunk. That was most likely the dumbest thing I've ever done in my life, and I had to get a tow truck to tow it into a secure lot, and then to take it to the dealership in the morning. Luckily for us, we were in a wealthy side of town, or else it would have been a little scary.

In-N-Out Burger

Monday: The next day I tried out the infamous In-N-Out Burger. The menu is quite simple, offering you I believe 3 choices of burger, (regular, cheese, and double). The burgers were just normal to me, but the fries I love. Maybe the freshly delivered, sliced and peeled potatoes really did make a difference, or maybe the marketing jargon got to me psychologically. The best way to describe it is that they have this spongy crisp. They of course have no competition against homestyle fries at a local burger joint, but they are probably the best fast food chain fries I've tried. I visited the UCLA campus as well, and let me tell you, I am in love. Whereas my alma matter (The University of Texas) was nice, the campus took a while to grow on me. The architecture just doesn't inspire me and the landscaping is a little bland as well. However, UCLA is exactly the way I imagined college when I was in high school. Beautiful buildings, beautiful quads, and great weather. Reminds me of the University of Michigan, and although Ann Arbor is nice, I think L.A. just takes the cake in things to do. I went to Rodeo Drive for a short bit, and as nice it is, I just can't afford any of the things there. There was, however, a Porsche Design store, which was kinda cool.

Sunset @ Santa Monica Pier

Tuesday: I spent most of the next day in Santa Monica Pier. I took the long way through Sunset Blvd. and the Sunset Strip to get there. I didn't get a star map, but I believe I drove by many famous celebrities homes and ex-homes. I'll have to do that tour some other time. I just wanted to get to the beach, it was the only thing on my mind. When I finally got there, I felt like I was home. I love the beach so much, and it is one of the few places in the world where I feel like everything is alright. The pier had a small amusement section complete with roller coaster and ferris wheel, and they were showing a 'drive-in' movie (Akeelah and the Bee) preceded by a local spelling bee, where a kid could not spell "discuss." There were the typical artists that you see everywhere engraving names onto grains of rice, drawing caricatures, pretending to be statues, etc. I watched the sunset and waited for Nick to get out of work and meet me. We ate dinner at Cha Cha Chicken, which was a Jamaican/Caribbean restaurant. I ordered the coconut chicken, and although their chicken was good, it was their sides that were to die for: the fried plantains were delicious and sweet, while the spicy cuban fries were sliced sweet potatoes with a slight kick. Mmmm... I'm craving some now just writing about it.... And that's all I have to say about that.