Los Angeles, California

My best friend, Sydney, and I decided to take a short trip to southern California together. The two main purposes of this trip was to spend time with Sydney before I leave for my study abroad program (as I won’t be spending much time in Arizona this summer) and to spend quality time with my family before my brother’s graduation.

Wednesday, 13 May: My dad drove Sydney and I to the airport for our early flight and all our travels to Los Angeles went smoothly. My grandparents (my dad’s parents) were waiting to pick us up from the airport. They took us to lunch at a Hawaiian restaurant in Malibu, where the highlights were definitely the ocean view and the hula pie.

Thursday, 14 May: Sydney and I drove about an hour from my grandparents’s house in Camarillo to Six Flags Magic Mountain to ride the “big girl” roller coasters. We got there a bit after the park opened and were warmly greeted by overcast. In all seriousness, the overcast was a gift; the park was a ghost town and we got on all the rides we wanted to almost immediately. Correction: the overcast was a gift until it turned into rain, shutting down half the park. We weren’t sure if (or when) our favorite rides would be back up, so we left, mostly satisfied with our time there.

Friday, 15 May: We rode the train into Los Angeles Union Station and took the subway to Hollywood. We walked parts of the Walk of Fame on Hollywood and Vine before continuing to Hollywood and Highland. There, we ate, met a very convincing Captain Jack Sparrow and saw typical tourist sites (Chinese Theatre, El Captain Theatre and more). We also watched a new star on the Walk of Fame being made for Melissa McCarthy. To wrap up our day, we took the subway further to Universal City, where we explored the city walk and I bought my first (and probably my last) designer bag from Fossil.

Saturday, 16 May: We had a cookout lunch with my mom’s dad and my step-grandma in Thousand Oaks before taking the scenic route to Venice Beach. While Sydney wasn’t the biggest fan, I love it a lot down there. Everywhere you look, there’s something (or, more often, someone) interesting to see. Speaking of which, an exuberant English man with a balancing act drew in a large crowd, including Sydney and myself. He was hilarious and quite the athlete. After a stroll up and down the boardwalk, we headed over to Santa Monica Pier, where we lounged on the beach, rode the Ferris wheel and had dinner at Bubba Gump’s.

Sunday, 17 May: After a busy couple of days, we decided to take it easy for our last day, going out to lunch with my grandparents and cousin and seeing Pitch Perfect 2.

The next day, we bummed a ride with my mom’s dad back to Tucson and about eight hours later, we were back.

I wish we had a little more time in the area to explore downtown Los Angeles and better weather wouldn’t have hurt, but I had an amazing time regardless. I’m glad I got to spend this time with both Sydney and my family before I leave for my study abroad program.

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