We spent the entire fifth day of our trip exploring around LA. It was one of the only days of our trip where we didn’t have to be anywhere in particular, but we did map out all the things we were interested in doing.
Our first big stop for the day was the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We spent hours walking through each room and checking out everything they had to offer. I was quite surprised to see René Magritte’s Treachery of Images, which Erin had never heard of. I explained to her the idea behind it and got a picture of her with it for a lame joke.
After that we got lunch at Good Beverage and sat next to Tom Morello. Then we checked out stores on Melrose, where I got a nice grey hat at Goorin Brothers. We drove past lots of LA landmarks, like the Chinese Theater, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the Bradbury Building, LA Central Library, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. After a quick nap back at our friend Tavi’s place, we went to catch the sunset at the Santa Monica Pier.
Unfortunately it was completely overcast the entire time we were at the pier, and could hardly even tell the sun was setting. Our perfect sunset streak had ended. What’s funny though is that night we saw that our friend Kylie, who is also from Denton, was at that very same pier, seeing everything we saw, only 20 minutes behind us. Small world.
For the sixth day of the trip, we only had one thing planned: Disneyland! I had been once when I was a kid, and had been to Disney World twice, but Erin has never been to any Disney theme park. Everyone had hyped it up for her so much before we got there. Whenever she would mention it was her first time at Disneyland, people would say “Oh my gosh, you are in for a treat! Disneyland is the best thing ever!” So as you can imagine, by the time we got there, she was doubtful it would live up to the hype.
The first thing we did was get our fastpasses for Space Mountain. Then we rode one of my favorite rides, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, which is basically a cart ride with laser tag. By the time Erin got the hang of it, we took it very seriously, and it shows in our photo…
After walking around Main Street and Tomorrowland for a while, we made use of our Space Mountain fast passes. I must have completely forgotten how impressive Space Mountain was, because the spaceship in the loading area was amazing, and the ride itself was absolutely the most fun ride at Disneyland.
On our way out of Tomorrowland, we watched the Jedi Training Academy, where a bunch of little kids were given lightsabers and were allowed to fight Darth Vader and Darth Maul one at a time. Erin & I were super jealous of those little kids. Next we went to Toon Town to ride the Roger Rabbit ride and see all the goofy things built into the set. We kept the camera put away most of the day so that we could focus on enjoying ourselves.
We split up to ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds as single riders, which didn’t seem any faster than the regular line. I insisted on riding the Jungle Cruise, so that Erin get the full Disneyland experience, cheesiness and all. We watched one of the midday parades for a bit, which Erin was very impressed by. Then got in line for Splash Mountain, but a guy walking by offered us his fast passes that were good right then, allowing us to skip the entire line. Erin couldn’t believe people were so generous. When we got off the ride, soaking wet, we realized that our fast pass for Star Tours was about to expire, so we rushed across the whole park just in the nick of time. At the beginning of the ride, they show the face of someone on the ride, saying their the rebel spy and it’s everyone’s job to get that person to safety. Well for our ride, the photo was of me, and it absolutely freaked Erin out. She thought surely while we were in line they had asked to take my picture when she wasn’t paying attention. She was even asking the people sitting next to us if they saw me as the rebel spy. She just couldn’t figure out how they did it. She insisted we ride it again later so she could crack the case. Next we rode the Haunted Mansion, which also confused Erin with all their really clever optical illusions. Then it was time to catch the Paint the Night parade.
Erin was blown away be how creative and impressive the floats and costumes were covered in lights. I was impressed by the speakers, because you could only hear the song from the float closest to you, and the music transitioned perfectly from one float to the next. Then it was time for the Disneyland Forever fireworks show, which I think was the single most impressive thing to Erin. All the fireworks timed so perfectly with all the music, and it went on for what seemed like 30 minutes. Erin kept saying “They do this every night?!”
Afterwards we rushed to Indiana Jones Adventure before our fast passes expired. Then we rode Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters again to improve our scores. Then Star Tours again she could figure out how they photographed the rebel spy. I wish so badly I had been the rebel spy again so that Erin’s mind would have been blown, but it wasn’t me. In the Star Tours gift shop, Erin made fun of me because I was amazed that they had a make-your-own-lightsaber booth. Then we made our way down Main Street so Erin could stop in the gift shops and get things for her friends & family. I stopped at the penny arcade to watch all the mutoscopes, which I was very inspired by, since it’s a great way to combine photography, storytelling, and a unique viewing experience. All in all, I think it was a very special day, and I’m almost glad we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to, because it leaves more fun stuff for next time.
The seventh day was our one day to relax, so we slept in a bit, went to the beach in Santa Monica so we could play in the ocean and relax on the sand.
Unfortunately we got a little too relaxed, and both fell asleep for probably an hour. It wasn’t much of a problem for Erin, because she had properly applied sunscreen. Meanwhile I was trying to even out my farmer’s tan, but instead got a pretty rough sunburn on my back.
After that we went back to Melrose to see if my all-time favorite gallery space was open, Gallery 1988. My favorite artist, Scott Campbell, has had several shows there, and everything I’ve ever seen from them looked amazing. I was in heaven. There was so much fantastic pop culture inspired art everywhere. Posters for all favorite movies and TV shows, interpreted by such talented artists. Erin & I spent an hour looking through all of their prints. I ended up buying a brilliant screenprint called “Vincent” by Adam Hanson that inspired by the under-rated movie Gattaca, and a screenprint called “Instead” by Justin Santora of a TV turned off in an empty living room as two boys build a treehouse outside.
The last stop in LA was a small hike up to see the Hollywood sign. It may be awfully cliche and touristy, but why not?
Next up was a visit to Bakersfield to see my friend Marielle Chua.