Our brief encounter with L.A.

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow it will be exactly six months since we left home. We’ve seen so many things in the past 182 days and I can barely remember them all until I start browsing through our photos. As I write this paragraph we’re landing in Lima, making this the 19th flight we’ve completed and the 16th country we’ve landed in since October.

For the past two nights we’ve been in Los Angeles, staying in a motel in Long Beach. We didn’t get up to much, but we did make sure we got some diet destroying diner meals and American candy while we were there.

We landed in LAX in the early evening, having technically flown out of Fiji 5 hours in the future thanks to crossing the international date line. Once again our efforts to sleep on the overnight flight were unsuccessful and we arrived groggy and confused. Due to the time difference it wasn’t long before we could go to sleep in a real bed, which is exactly what we did right after our burgers at a café down the road from our motel. Unfortunately for us though, our neighbours for the night seemed to think they were the only people at the motel and were playing bass-heavy music late into the night. At 4am I had to get up and knock on their door, asking them how long they planned to keep their music going for. The guy who answered told me he would turn it off, but it wasn’t until half an hour later when he must have heard me opening our front door again that it actually stopped. We slept until almost 11am after that, waking only because of the cleaners knocking on our door before they tried to enter.

For our only full day in Los Angeles I’d initially expected us to get up early and make the most of the time, but after finally getting some sleep we had to adjust our plans. Mark wanted to head to Hollywood for a wander so we got on the Metro and headed north toward the stars. I don’t think either of us had realised just how big the city is and just getting from Long Beach to Hollywood took nearly two hours. The scale of the States always amazes me.

It was late in the afternoon when we actually reached the Hollywood Boulevard, where we visited some tacky souvenir shops and tried to spot the stars of our favourite celebrities. We visited the Chinese Theatre and the imprints people have made over a time, and we also stumbled into a pop-up exhibition in a candy shop of the dresses Rupaul wears on the runway of Drag Race.

For lunch we went to In-n-out Burger, which was recommended to us by a guy we met in Fiji. They didn’t have any meat-free options, so I just stole half of Mark’s weird fries and ate a cereal bar I had in my bag.

Once we were done with Hollywood the sun was already starting to set, so there was no chance we were going to make it to any of the beaches for the sunset. We decided to go back to the motel and maybe wander around Long Beach depending on where the sun was when we got back. By the time we got there it was already dark, so we just took a look around a couple of supermarkets for candy before we ate a dinner of pancakes at Denny’s. Not realising how big the pancakes were going to be, we ordered far too much food. Portion sizes in the States is another scale thing which blows my mind. It’s honestly no surprise that some of the people we saw in there were hugely overweight, and I even felt like I was gaining weight as I tried to finish my completely unhealthy sugary meal with eggs and hash browns on the side.

That night we got to sleep much later than expected, once we’d finally packed our bags and spent some time trying to book our first night in Peru. Not wanting to miss out on the actual beach of Long Beach we set our alarms pretty early and tried to sleep despite stomachs full of sugar. It wasn’t fun trying to get up at 7am and looking at the actual beach I’m not sure if it was even worth it. At least we had time to grab some Hershey’s Kisses and Jolly Ranchers on the way to the Metro stop.

Our time in the States was short and very sweet thanks to lots of lemonade, pancakes and American candy. It was a strange break near the end of a long trip, but I enjoyed the brief moment of being somewhere so different to everywhere else we’ve seen so far.

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