I arrived at LAX in the early morning but the airport was already very busy. After I finally got through customs, I took the C shuttle to get to the parking lot with the public buses. It was already quite hot and the sun was shining brightly. Finally I made it back into summer.
Nr 8 bus to Torrance arrived soon. I thought I’d go as close as possible to my relatives’ house and then take a taxi from there. The 40min ride only cost 70cent. Some nice people told me where I should get off but since I didn’t know the area at all, I felt like I was standing in the middle of nowhere. No cabs were driving by and no people around. But there were a lot of banks and so I walked into the Bank of America and asked whether I could make a local phone call. They were really nice and 2min later I knew I was at the right spot and my uncle was on his way to pick me up. He just hadn’t wanted to drive the crazy busy roads around the airport.
It was great to see them again! LA is not really around the corner from Switzerland and therefore we really don’t get to see them enough.
I had planned to be there on 1st August for the Swiss national holiday. Like that I would at least be surrounded with some Swiss people 🙂
I had my own room, which was wonderful after these huge dorm rooms and finally could enjoy cheap Starbucks, donuts, great Mexican food and the most delicious Ben&Jerries again. However, I was surprised that a lot of donut shops seemed to have disappeared. Instead, there are more Starbucks as McDonald’s now.
We visited the close by Redondo Beach. I had a corn dog from the boardwalk and swam in the pacific. The water had never been so warm when I was in the US. When we weren’t at the beach, I could swim in the pool that belonged to the apartments where my relatives lived. A 10 year old boy was there very often too and so we usually talked while I was swimming and he was jumping into the water from every possible corner. At some point, he asked me how old I was and so I told him. At that, he was shocked and replied that he thought that I was ‘only a teenager’. I don’t know whether I should take that as a compliment or whether it’s my short hair’s fault.
On Saturday, we visited the Getty museum. It’s a beautiful, huge house with a nice garden somewhere in the Bel Air Hills. You have to pay 15$ for parking but everything after that is free. In a tram or cable car we rode up the mountain to the entrance of the museum. From the terraces, you have a really nice view over LA.
We only saw a small part of the museum since it’s so big. There are paintings by many famous painters and very helpful staff. We could have done one of the free tours also but there just wasn’t enough time in one day. Someone pointed out to us that we could go to the Getty Villa for free too if we exchanged our parking ticket at the office. So, we did that and then drove towards Santa Monica.
The Getty Villa is a beautiful roman mansion. There are a lot of historic artefacts and sculptures but the villa alone is already worth seeing. There even was a mummy and outside beautiful gardens with water basins. These two museums are definitely worth going to and then returning again for the things you didn’t have time for.
On Sunday, we spent another day at the beach at Riviera Village. All places along the water here have a nice holiday touch.
There was a huge crowed doing different kinds of activities. Apparently, there are free public workouts every Sunday.
On Monday, I wanted to have a day in LA downtown. I took the bus to Union St which takes an hour and cost 2$ (student fare) because I had to switch buses. I could have arrived half an hour earlier, if I hadn’t waited at the wrong corner of the intersection. The signs at the bus stops don’t say which buses stop there. The bus to the city is called metro, which I find a bit confusing, since it’s not a train. But it has its own lane in the middle of the freeway with stops every few kilometers. This meant that we got to rush past all the people that were waiting in the traffic jam.
Union Station is a beautiful Spanish looking building surrounded by many palm trees. When I arrived, I first wanted to find the stop for the nr 4 express bus back to Torrance. Not that I would miss it again. But nobody of the employees at the station knew where it was. They all sent me in different directions and not even the bus driver from another bus who was parked at the right stop could tell me whether this really was correct. In the end, I just estimated with google maps and hoped that the bus would show up and I was on the correct street side. Then, I went to Olvera St, which is very touristy and you can buy anything that has to do with Mexico. After that, I walked to city hall. At the bottom, I had to show my passport to sign in and then I could take the elevator to the 26th floor and then walk up another floor to have access to a terrace. The view over LA was great and I could make out all the sights I wanted to visit by foot afterwards. And all that for free!
Back on the ground, I walked towards Lt Tokyo to find some lunch. Either I was in the wrong street or everything was closed because I didn’t find any food. I went to central market instead, where it then was hard to decide on something out of all the choices.
With new strength after resting in air-conditioning, I then made my way to the Disney Music Hall. I had seen this building before but it’s nice to look at every time. Plus, there are chairs in a small park at the back of the hall. On my way back to Union St I stopped in Grand Park. There were chairs too plus free wifi. And a crew was filming something.
Then, the moment of truth came and I saw whether I was waiting at the correct stop. I was, it’s opposite the front entrance of Union St.
This time, I could ride all the way to Torrance on the same bus for only 1$.
My aunt cooked another nice meal and the rest of the evening we played Swiss card games.
The next morning, we had to get up early to drive to Long Beach, from where I caught a 2 hour Greyhound bus for 11$ towards San Diego.