Tuesday, July 19, 2016


(music: The One That I Want - Lo-Fang)

Last week, the French girls let Jesse and I listen to this slow version of The One That I Want, from Grease, which has been an on-and-off earworm for me, the past couple days. The short video clip makes no sense to me but I figure it features the beach so it's kinda apt for this post and also, Chanel No. 5 is my favourite, go-to perfume ever since Mum got it for me for my 21st.

So last week, you'd have known that I was staying at this guy Bill's house. A reminder that it was at the nice end of Glendale, on top of a mountain/hill and the view was spectacular.

His son was adorable. he hijacked my phone and headphones and went through my songs for a track he could dance to.

Unfortunately, his dad was not so adorable.

Even before I'd gone over to the place, his messages seemed a little off, but I thought "what the hey, maybe he just types very unfortunately" (especially because he actually had nice references from other previous travellers) but when I met him, his behaviour really was quite off and off-putting.

Initially I thought it was just me overreacting, but then the other female couchsurfer who was also there at the same place said something, and we both opened up to each other. Apparently he would isolate each of us and say weird stuff, so neither would suspect the other received the same treatment.

His son told the other girl, that the dad got mad and has to go to "drunk school"/AA. We both felt so bad for the kid. Anyway, after both the girl and I didn't warm up to the dad, he made us feel unwelcome although he had initially agreed to hosting us for much longer periods, so we left and reported him to Couchsurfing.

Yeah, no surprise, that happens on Couchsurfing. They don't or can't really force anything on you as their identities and addresses are open to us, but it can get pretty damn uncomfortable just by being around them and the weird pressures.

I guess so far most of my experiences have been safe and warm, so I'm glad for that. I've just learned my lesson to be more wary of hosts before I make my way over. It's sad that people abuse such a system though, I mean most nice, decent people would do it just to interact with travellers and show them the side of their localities that tourists wouldn't normally know of firsthand.

Most of them don't expect anything besides some treats/tokens of gratitude, or to be hosted when they visit the traveller's home country. Why would you prey on travellers and depend on them to hook up? There are other platforms for that. Gross.

(By the way: to my best friends and family, I didn't tell you because I didn't want yall to worry, and really, everything is fine now, do not worry!!! Everyone else I've met is really nice and helpful.)

Also: another lesson I learned from actual experience is that money can't buy class nor happiness. He lived in the biggest house I've been in in LA, but his behaviour was unappealing, and his life didn't seem all that great.

Anyway, while waiting to go to my next place to stay, I watched The BFG, my first movie in the USA! It's more expensive here than in Singapore.

It's spacious as all heck, though. I stretched out my legs and could barely reach the next row, and as you know, I have rather long legs.

The BFG was enjoyable, both visually and character-portrayal-wise. It was sufficiently whimsical and amusing.

The Glendale Galleria/Americana at Brand is a pretty nice mall, there's an area where kids were blowing bubbles and running around on the grass. It all felt very, posh.

In any case, I was at a loss for where to stay, and I recalled that Radhika, my friend from primary school, works and lives in LA now, so I asked her if I could crash for a while, and I'm so grateful she said yes. I'm sorta glad that creep-thing happened because it was really nice to have caught up with her.

It was weird to just initiate something after fourteen years of not having talked to her, not even on Facebook, but we had the Singaporean hometown spirit in common, so I felt at ease knowing this was someone I could still pretty much identify with, more so than most of the rest of LA.

She works at Faraday as an engineer, I think it's an automotive company that positions itself to rival Tesla. It's quite cool, and I was very impressed by her. I dated a guy once, whose idol was Elon Musk. Didn't work out well. I wish I could see the SpaceX facility, still. Anyway, not relevant.

She set up an air mattress for me at the very last-minute's notice (like a couple of hours). Really sweet!

She had quotes from Albus Dumbledore printed and pasted on her wall. I recall her being a full-on Harry Potter geek (as was/am I) so it was good to see that some good things never change.

Her books made me wish I could have gone/was going to university.

Anyway, when I arrived, she said the house wi-fi password was "CharlesShaw2" because apparently, there's a Californian wine from Charles Shaw's vineyard, and although it's decent wine, it sells for $2 per bottle at Trader Joe's (at least it used to, now it's $2.50). Charles Shaw and his wife divorced, and he didn't want his wife profiting from the business so he undercut the prices of his own wines!

Amazing!!!!!! The things you learn!

The upstairs/living room of her apartment was gorgeous, because one of her housemates is an interior designer. 218928 points to them!

I loved the house, it was just so comfortable and yet plush-looking. Very tastefully done. My mum would have loved it.

Another thing that was great about the house was it was literally a two-minute walk to Manhattan Beach. My Uber driver was telling me that it was prime property and I was like, yeah okay, I geddit, but I didn't actually get it until I woke up and walked down to the beach.

On the first day, I sat on the beach and read my book.

That evening, Radhika drove us to a Thai place, called (very original, #sarahcasm) Thai Dishes.

Have you ever heard of Kang Mus-Mun, Muslim curry? Americanised Asian food fascinates me to no end. What in the heck is Muslim curry???

I had a roasted duck red curry. The flavour was good, but they added bamboo shoots which is confusing because bamboo shoots are found in Burmese food, not Thai! But hey, when in America... Eat as the Americans eat, right?

After dinner, we went to watch The Secret Life of Pets at AMC. My second movie in two nights! I am now a full-fledged American!!!! It was also entertaining and I laughed much more than I expected, and the animals were really cute. Also, it opened with Taylor Swift's Welcome To New York, which is when I already decided the movie could do no wrong. ;P

The next morning, I busted out my running shoes (well actually just took them out of my shoe bag) and ran by the beach.

I ran from Rosecrans Ave to the pier. It wasn't the most productive 'cos I kept getting distracted by friendly dogs and guys playing volleyball or cycling or surfing, etc etc. But I don't complain. ;)

After my run, I put on my swimsuit and tested the waters. The waters were fine but some guy surfed his board right into my head and I went under. Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even that didn't faze me, I just swallowed some of the Pacific Ocean and decided I survived a hit from a surfboard, I'm less scared to learn to surf now.

After my run and swim, I went back to Radhika's place for a final change of attire, and walked down The Strand, just to take in the views of/from all the houses there.

These houses are legitimately right by the beach. You know the feeling you have when you wake up in a beachfront resort apartment and you take in the sea breeze, stretch and think "ahhh... this is the life"? You know that feeling?

I wonder when the people who live in these houses have that feeling, 'cos they wouldn't be thinking it if that's their life everyday, yes/no? I mean, once you've got it made like that, then what? But also, how do you get it made? Who are the people living in such houses? Are they born into the families? Are they self-made? The nouveau riche? I need to know!!!!

This kid was the cutest, he was waving at everything. Even plants. SO CUTE!

Some poor kid left his or her shoe behind.

When you open your French doors and let in the summer sea breeze, THAT IS THE LIFE!!!!!!!!! (Thinks back to Bill and reminds myself: money cannot buy class nor happiness. Repeat over and over as mantra. ;P)

I didn't quite get this place. I liked the wooden exterior but the yellow glass panels, what are they? I don't get the aesthetic??

My mother would die of envy looking at all these houses.

"If I visualise myself in the house, I will live in it one day...." thinks every single person who walks by such a house and doesn't live in one themselves.

This guy had this pose out from like a mile away, when he first saw me with my camera, hehe.

For dinner, I ate alone at a sushi place back on Rosecrans. It's a good thing Americans are so friendly, even when I'm dining alone, people from the other tables are always saying hi and asking about me. #phew

I had carpaccio, crispy lobster and chocolate flan for dessert. I decided to indulge myself as I hadn't spent that much last week. Everything tasted really good, but somehow I just feel like it would have been better if I could have shared it with good company.

That night, Radhika drove to a Ralph's to do some grocery shopping.

Ben & Jerry's is like a third of the prices of those in Singapore! Because it's made here locally. I am so peanut butter and jealous!!!!!!! Ben & Jerry's is my favourite!!!

I bought four flavours and spent less than half of what I would have in Singapore. I had two for breakfast on Saturday, and then..... I died.

Completely forgot that my period was impending, and I usually avoid cold things and especially ice-cream during my period/PMSy days, so that afternoon I just had cramps and wasted the entire afternoon curled up on the air mattress and groaning and wishing I would die.

I was whining to G all the while, which is ridiculous if you think about it! We have never met each other, and yet he's pretty much in sync with my period cycle.

I took a nap after drinking some boiling hot water, and when I woke up, Radhika's cherry tomato pasta sauce was ready.

It was delicious. She added some chilli flakes so there was a tinge of real spiciness there, unlike how the people here always just add sriracha to everything for some hotness in their food. Pasta was also much-needed carbohydrates and comfort food for my crazy menstruating body.

Radhika's fridge photo.... I left her place that night as her fourth roommate would be returning from her vacation and I didn't wanna impose on them too much. Radhika gave me some tips for if I would be flying to NYC sometime this summer (I have to do this!!!) and I'm super stoked, and will always be indebted to her!

The next place I went to, for a night, was Josh's, and his cousin collects -get this- pinball machines.

I played on two of the machines, and was endlessly amazed that there was a collection of pinball machines in someone's house. LA APARTMENTS ARE THE FUCKING COOLEST!!!! /goes batshit crazy

I was still pretty out of it from my period, so I crashed the night away.

Yesterday, Josh drove us out to some hipster area in Long Beach.

"The universe will open doors where there were only walls" yesssssss I love quotes like this. :)

We went to The Attic for brunch.

Say hi to Josh. He's a dick. No don't worry, we've gotten to such camaraderie. He called me a dick first, so. I was nothing but nice to him!!!

I had a really good hot chocolate. (OMG why doesn't the world live with hot chocolate as a staple? This world needs to wake up its idea.)

Josh had their legendary Mac & Cheetos, which. was. incredible!!! I wanna get one on my last day in LA and bring it back to Singapore, and tell them LA is the land of mindblowing things like Mac & Cheetos mac and cheese.

I had a Blue Bayou, which is eggs (served scrambled or omelette but I chose for scrambled this time) with crab and shrimp, with avocado, toast and potatoes. This might not be their signature dish like the mac & cheese but it was so, freaking, good. I completely forgot about the sushi I'd had by myself, and thought this was the best meal I'd ever had in LA.

Also, for 15 USD and very good service, super recommended for a great brunch experience!!!

My sunglasses/panda tan is crazy, my nose is a completely different skin colour from the rest of my face!!!! I need to take better care with sunscreen/sunblock/aftercare lotion/Vaseline. The sun here is crazy.

Last night, I made my way to my newest host, Keith's place, in Venice. When I arrived, he showed me around and he gave me a pink towel to use, and he remembered that I like pink. The moment he started being sweet, you know I was like "game over, here, have all my feelings" lololol.

How do you indicate your attraction to a host? You don't. What if he thinks I'm a creep and it's awkward for the rest of my stay here, or what if I get thrown out 'cos he thinks I'm crazy! Also why does this always happen. Dyou guys know/recall the 40DOD experiment? I'm basically Jessica Walsh. Lord, help me.

I haven't taken many photos, but I'll start exploring today. I think I'll have a really good time walking around this place. Keith is working but he gave me so many pointers on things to check out, and I'm pretty sure they're incredible.

This morning, he made me a cup of Bulletproof coffee because his description of it was intriguing enough (made with butter, taking Venice Beach/the world by storm). I actually enjoyed it and lapped it up 'cos it was delicious, which is like ?!?!?!? I don't drink or like coffee, I'm a tea person!!!!

He was explaining that it's made with expensive butter from Ireland, and the Omega-3/Omega-6 was good if the cow eats grass instead of being corn-fed, and that the caffeine from bulletproof coffee is fat-soluble or something, so it's slowly released through the body instead of regular caffeine which is instantly sent through the system.

I'm not exactly sure what the mechanics were, while he said all that my brain was still just processing that I liked this coffee.

This morning, I did my laundry and had a slow start because it's still the third day of my period, but I think I'm game to walk around Venice/Santa Monica for the rest of the day. I wanna watch Swiss Army Man, I'll go and see if I can do so anywhere nearby this week.

Have a really good week ahead! So Much Love! xxx


pamela said...

but money can buy you a house by the beach hahaha anyhow my brother bought bulletproof coffee home before and yes that was good! i laughed so hard at muslim curry btw. in korea, mee goreng is sold as pasta. in an italian restaurant.

Sarah Lyana said...

Heh but what's the point of owning a house by the beach if you have alcoholic problems/treat people in a way that makes them miserable o.O :/ oooh yes I'll try to get some back for you! Lolol mee goreng pasta. Apparently Asians do it even among our own cultures I guess D;