Over the summer, many USC students go on all sorts of incredible trips abroad, whether it’s through a Maymester, Problems Without Passports, summer study abroad, or research. As a result, my Facebook feed has been blowing up with pictures from Australia to Ireland to Beijing. Meanwhile, I’m in LA for the summer to do research, which is great, but it does pale slightly in comparison to my friends’ worldwide travels. So, I’m going to do my best to recreate their experiences of exploration and adventure right here. With the help of public transportation, a “Top 100 Things To Do in LA” list, and some Groupon deals, I am going to make the most of my summer here and fully explore everything that the great city of LA has to offer!
This weekend, fellow ambassador Chris and I went on two adventures to get it all started. Check out his latest blog to read about our trip to the world-famous Getty museum, which we visited on Saturday.
On Sunday, we started off by renewing our Metro day-passes. After the numerous bus rides the day before, we felt like seasoned travelers– especially when we actually recognized most of the bus stops! Our first destination was Angels Knoll, also known as the park in 500 Days of Summer (one perk of LA: movies have been filmed all over!). On our way from the bus stop to the park, we passed a place called Water Plaza, which was simply a plaza full of some incredible fountains. As a USC student, I love my fountains, and these ones were fantastic! The plaza was surrounded by restaurants, and it was also right next to MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and the Walt Disney Concert hall. Chris, who loves photography, was running around like a chicken with its head cut off to capture it all.
On our way from the plaza to the famous park and bench, we took the world’s shortest train, which is called Angels Flight. It was built by a buddy of Abe Lincoln’s back in the days before escalators. The train goes from the second story to the first story for 25 cents (50 round-trip), and saves visitors the trouble of having to walk the stairs. Apparently, this train has had more passengers per mile than any other train- which is pretty easy, considering that it’s only about .05 miles long.
Finally, we made it to the park. After scouting around a few moments for the bench, we were able to recognize it by its plaque. But we weren’t the only people there to visit the famous bench (I sort of felt bad for all the other benches, which look exactly the same but get no attention). Somebody was filming there! We still don’t know who it was, but they offered to take a picture of us at the bench. Then we set up a picnic in the park and enjoyed the view shared by our friends Tom and Summer.
After lunch, our next stop was Hermosa Beach for an annual arts festival called Fiesta Hermosa. This festival is apparently pretty popular, considering that it was mobbed when we got there (after a few different bus rides, which were a breeze now that we were Metro geniuses). We got a quick look at a few different stalls in the festival- adopt a puppy was probably my favorite- on our way to the beach.
One of the most shocking parts of the beaches in California, as a Texan, is how cold they are! Everyone talks about sun, sand, and surf, but they don’t mention the wind that comes with the surf. They also don’t mention that this ocean water comes from Alaska, so even during the summer, it’s freezing! I’m used to ocean water from the Gulf of Mexico, so I’m still adjusting. I was a chicken at Hermosa and didn’t get in the water, but Chris did, and he had a lot of fun body surfing. I was content to lay out on the sand in the sun.
After enjoying the beach for a while, we checked out the art festival again. Live music played as we meandered through art displays. We saw pop art, stained glass, music-themed art, a few random misfits like somebody who was selling fake grass, plenty of clothing, and of course, some photos for Trojan fans. One photographer sold posters of the fan-filled Coliseum and some individual football players, which we saw a few adorable little kids begging their poor mother for.
Once we had seen all of the art, we randomly found the bus we needed in the middle of an intersection, and the driver kindly let us on. I felt pretty legit jumping on a bus in the middle of the street. We headed home after a long and exciting day of exploration and adventure. Now we’ve crossed a couple of places off the list, but there are many more to come!
Until next time!