The deserts of Nevada changed quickly into the dry, hilly landscape of southern California. Soon after crossing the state border, the second giant electricity production plant of the day (the first being the Hoover Dam) was spotted as the car sped by the Ivanpah solar power facility, a massive construction literally in the middle of the desert. Impressive!
The first evening contained a vegan dinner at Healthy Junk in Anaheim and some driving around Fullerton, south of Los Angeles. After having had a diet of mainly meat and fried foods over the previous couple weeks, a pile of lettuce, avocado and soy products was more than welcome.
Morning the next day started with a smoothie and milkshake breakfast at Pink Boba and then it was time to head for Hollywood. An hour of driving later, Hattivatti and friends had made it to the Walk of Fame. Unfortunately, the front of the TCL (formerly Mann’s and Grauman’s) Chinese Theater with all its handprints etc. was closed and for the most part covered with red carpet: the premiere of the final season of True Blood would be occurring there later in the evening.
After a lunch of wings at Hooters, it was off to the hills, namely Beverly Hills. On the way, driving along Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard was of course deemed necessary. No celebrities were spotted in the residential areas of 90210, but the houses were stunning all the same.
Then onwards west to Santa Monica, where our lucky travellers ran into a small local food truck event. Lunch was still being felt, so the offerings of the trucks were mainly just admired from afar; good iced coffee was a refreshing and light treat. A short walk on the beach was also welcome after spending hours driving around L.A.
On the way back south towards Fullerton, a grand mistake of not believing the warnings of friends and guidebooks was made and the car was taken onto highway 405. Big mistake. Three miles on this highway from hell took over 20 minutes and left everyone a bit shocked. Luckily this didn’t make a mess of the evening’s dinner plans: all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque at Mr. BBQ. Tasty food and a fun, social way of spending an evening.
The following morning, breakfast from 7 Eleven consisted of less healthy and more sugary things: a piña colada slushee, blueberry coffee and of course Twinkies. All that energy would prove necessary during the five hours spent exploring the San Diego Zoo, one of the largest zoos in the world. So many animals from all over the planet! The most interesting from a rareness point of view were naturally the koalas and giant pandas (which were seen after 30 minutes of waiting in line), but also everything from tapirs to lions and hippos to orangutans as well as a two-headed snake and komodo dragon were viewed with curious interest. Really worth the visit!
Before the drive back towards L.A., a bit more of San Diego was explored. The retired airforce carrier USS Midway was an impressive sight, although it was still quite difficult to comprehend the sheer size of the vessel even when standing right next to it. Dinner was had at the sushi bar of the nearby waterfront restaurant Fish Market: fresh sushi prepared by a Japanese chef before the diners’ eyes, nice!
The final evening in The City of Angels was topped off by the Disneyland fireworks viewed from the balcony of the hotel. To be honest, L.A. Itself did not leave much of an impression with all its cars and concrete, although the Anaheim area was enjoyable. The following day would lead on again to new adventures, this time towards the north.
Epicness of Los Angeles traffic on The Scale of Epicness: