Friday, December 4, 2020


Today I decided to explore Hollywood using the very convenient hop on hop off tour bus which was making a full circuit around Hollywood with various stops along the way. I swear things are so dead here, I ended up being the only person on the bus which was fine by me. I even developed a rapport with the bus driver......more on her later.

I got the opportunity to learn some interesting stories about the various sites in Hollywood as I listened to the narration in the bus. Hollywood is not really my kind of vibe but I am still glad that I got the chance to visit and I think a day was more than enough for me. Here are some of the photos I took along the way.....

Hollywood Boulevard - where you can find various landmarks and Hollywood attractions, see how empty it is? on a normal day it would be jam packed with people.

The Laugh Factory - Many seasoned and upcoming comedians have and continue to perform here.

Beverly Hills - Home to many Hollywood stars and upscale shopping. 

The Original Farmer's Market - Opened in 1934 and is popular with the locals and tourists, it's worth your while to get inside and grab something to eat from one of the many food stalls around.

That's it folks! we passed through many other areas before finally getting back to the starting point at Hollywood boulevard. It was interesting learning the significance of certain sites in Hollywood and seeing places that I have only seen or heard off in movies or TV shows. Today was my last full day in LA thus ending my 3 week vacation from work, I have enjoyed myself thoroughly and now it's time to get back to reality until the next vacation.

Random Thoughts of The Day:

There are plenty of sketchy characters along Hollywood Boulevard and I definitely wouldn't feel comfortable walking alone at night. 

When on Hollywood Boulevard, avoid taking any music CD's that someone might shove in your face because they will expect you to pay them. That goes for photos too, you will see people dressed in costumes from various movies and they will approach you for a photo opportunity. You could chose to decline or accept but if you do accept be ready to give them something. At the end of the day people still need to earn a living.

Remember the bus driver from the hop on hop off bus? well, since I was the only one on the bus we started chatting and she was a very funny and interesting lady. She was telling me that she is in her 50's and she has a show that she wants to pitch to Hollywood execs about dating when older. She mentioned how older women age better than men so her advise to older women is to date younger men. If they date older men they will have to take on their health issues as many men her age don't fair too well since they didn't take better care of themselves when younger. She was hilarious.

At the end of the tour she gave me her business card with a very glamorized photo of her on it as I wished her well on her endeavors. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Venice and Santa Monica

I had a really good day today, the plan was to spend part of the day exploring Venice and Santa Monica which are both situated in the western part of LA. You all know by now that I really enjoy taking tours so there was no exception in this case. I came across an interesting Venice and Santa Monica tour that had been posted on Airbnb and I quickly signed up for it because it seemed interesting and to make matters even better, it was a one on one tour so no large group involved.

The starting point of the tour was in Venice and since I am currently staying in Hollywood, I had to get an Uber and I would say the ride took about 40 minutes with minimal traffic. I met up with the guide who turned out to be so cool and within a short period of time we were talking and laughing like old friends. There are some people that you immediately click with and such was the case with the guide whom i'll call Taj. We made our first stop at Venice beach where we got to people watch and stroll along the boardwalk as Taj gave me interesting tidbits about the area. I was informed that the boardwalk would normally be so crowded but with covid the crowds were much less than they normally are. I thought it was still lively and to be honest with you, having less crowds of people just made it easier to social distance.

After strolling along the boardwalk we made a detour to go check out the Venice canals which are arched pedestrian bridges that mimic the canals in Venice, Italy. The area where these canals are situated is residential and pretty quiet compared to the nearby boardwalk. There are small paths around the canals where you can take a nice leisurely walk as you pass some interesting houses. I say interesting houses because each house in the area is totally different from the next so you get to see interesting features. 

Next stop after the canals was the Abbot Kinney Boulevard which is a mile long road lined with cute boutiques, restaurants and shops. Unfortunately due to the pandemic a lot of shops and restaurants were closed but it still made for a nice stroll. I learned that pre-covid the road would be closed off once a week to vehicles and it would become accessible to pedestrians only so this would encourage social gatherings and activities. PS: this boulevard is named after the founder of Venice, Abbot Kinney.

We did quite a bit of walking as Taj showed me cool places to hang out and basically gave me the rundown of the neighborhood. Before I knew it we were back at the boardwalk as it turns out we had somehow made a loop. It was now time to explore Santa Monica. Santa Monica and Venice are basically next door neighbors so we were able to walk along the boardwalk in Venice until we got to the Santa Monica beach and pier. Once again I was informed that the area would normally be packed with people but I am glad it wasn't, It was still lively and I actually enjoyed the vibe. 

After hanging out at the pier it was time to head to the next stop which was the 3rd Street promenade in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. It's basically a pedestrian pathway filled with shops and restaurants. At this point it had started getting dark but the decorative lights along the promenade made it look so pretty. We walked around, entered a few shops to window shop then it was time to call it a day.

That's it folks! not only did I get to enjoy a fun tour on such a beautiful day but I ended up with a new friend. Taj and I exchanged numbers with the promise to keep in touch and I even got invited to a potential "Bollywood" wedding so watch this space.

Random Thoughts of the Day:

A car is highly necessary to get around LA, I could have rented one but I just don't feel comfortable driving in cities that I am not familiar with. The Uber rides do add up but to be honest with you I think the cost of renting versus using Uber might just have tied in this case.

Speaking of Uber rides, is it just me or did Uber slash their rates? I used to use Lyft a lot because it was cheaper but now I see Uber rates appear way more cheaper. Not complaining though!

I really liked Venice's vibe and had I known how cool it is, I would have probably chosen to stay there as opposed to Hollywood. 

The sun was out and bright in Venice and Santa Monica so a sunscreen is advisable, I should have followed my own advise.

The soles of my feet are killing me! Isn't it funny how you can be on your feet the whole day then the moment you sit down for a while and then get up that's when fatigue hits you. When I got off my ride back to the hostel that's when I realized how much we had walked. I swear my feet were aching so bad as I ungraciously limped to my room. I need a good long foot massage.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Los Angeles, CA

I finally made it to Los Angeles! with rising covid cases in California and everywhere else, I almost cancelled this trip as I wasn't sure whether it would be a good idea to travel, but I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to go ahead with my plans and take all the necessary precautions. I arrived in LA at midday and once I got situated at the hostel that I am staying at, I decided to hit the ground running. I had signed up online to join a hiking group that was  meeting in the afternoon to hike up to the famous Hollywood sign and I was really looking forward to it.

I was able to get an Uber to the meeting spot and was glad to find out that the group would have only 3 other people. After introductions and some small talk, we begun the hike which lasted almost 3 hours. During that time I got some good photos, a good work out and enjoyed listening to interesting stories about Hollywood from the guy who was leading the hike. 

After the good long "work out," I got back to my room, showered and decided to take a walk around the area to get more familiar with my surroundings. I took a short walk along the Hollywood walk of fame which isn't too far from the hostel then got dinner before calling it a night.

That's it folks! I had a good day and I hope the rest of my stay here will be enjoyable, tomorrow is another day full of adventure so watch out for the next post.

Random Thoughts of the Day:

Uber and Lyft aren't allowed in LAX airport so if you want to use either one, you have to take a shuttle from the airport that indicates "shared rides" and it will drop you off to an area outside the airport where you can get Uber and Lyft. I had a little moment of panic at the airport looking for my Uber ride only to find out that he was waiting outside the airport, thankfully he was patient enough to wait for me.

If you plan on hiking up the Hollywood sign, make sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes and of course expect to get dusty by the time you are done so I would avoid any light colored clothing.

I haven't stayed in a hostel in years and staying in one currently reminds me of why I prefer a nice quiet Airbnb or hotel. I made sure to get a private room and as much as I like to say "never say never," this time I am confidently declaring that this is the last hostel that I am ever staying in. 

Due to current covid restrictions, restaurants here are doing take out only so no more dining out until further notice. Speaking of restaurants, when I was looking for a place to get dinner I came across an Indian restaurant and I was pretty excited to try it out since I love Indian food. Unfortunately the food sucked big time, I swear I have never had bad Indian food until today. I am just crossing my fingers that I don't get an upset stomach because that's the last thing I need right now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Dallas, TX

I just wrapped up my trip to Dallas but unlike my other trips, this one was a bit different in the sense that it was geared more toward "business" than pleasure. I linked up with yet another friend that I used to work with and she was hospitable enough to host me and drive me around. Dallas is so spread out and since I hadn't rented a car, my movements were restricted. I did get the chance to check out downtown, uptown and various other areas but the most fun I had was passing time with my friend and her family. I was feeling a bit exhausted from all the running around I had done so it felt good to just chill and enjoy good vibes with cool people. To show how chill I was, these were the only photos I took during my whole just never occurred to me to be taking photos because I was engrossed in other things.

Klyde Warren Park - this is a town square that connects the neighborhood of uptown, downtown and the arts district. Cool place to hang out especially on a nice sunny day.

Boardwalk at Granite Park - yet another cool place to hang out, grab something to eat and just people watch. 

The hosts with the most - good times! PS: appropriate social distancing was exercised, we only got close for a hot second to take a quick snap.

That's it folks! I know this is the shortest post ever but hey! it is what it is, I got to accomplish what I came to Dallas for, so not all was lost. I am back home chilling, hanging out with my husband and enjoying my time off work before taking one more trip. Do watch out for the next post which will be based on yet another city that I have always wanted to visit, LA!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Austin, TX

What can I say about Austin? for the past few days I have been having the time of my life in this capital city of Texas and that's why I was not able to update this blog. I have a usual, who lives in Austin and she had been raving about the city so I figured why not check it out because I had heard good things about it from others as well. There was so much to do and experience and these were some of the highlights of my trip:

Climbing Mount Bonnell - Mount Bonnell is located in Covert Park and considered the highest point in Austin, getting to the top is not hard at all and it doesn't take long. The views from the top are amazing and the surrounding trails are very easy to navigate.

Getting around on a Segway - I had never ridden a Segway before so my friend and I thought it would be cool to try it out. We signed up for a Segway city tour via Airbnb and we got to ride around downtown and check out the hip South Congress neighborhood which has cool murals, local shops and boutiques. It was an interesting experience.

Skydiving - Now this is one activity that I had always thought would be cool to do but I was never really motivated to try it out. My friend actually suggested it when she came across a good deal and I decided to go for it. We went through Skydive Temple and they were amazing, I am glad I did it but I can safely say that I will not be doing it again just because I was scared out of my mind and I never want to feel that way ever again. At least we got a certificate at the end that can serve as a nice memento.

That's it folks! I ate way too much good food, had some fun experiences and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I would have loved to check out the music scene but Covid is real so that's reserved for another time. Time to move on to the next city so Dallas here I come.