When I was a child I was always fascinated by the state of California on the US West Coast. I remember having the map plastered on my bedroom wall and I would glance through the countless towns and cities in America’s most populous state. Then the day came when I had the opportunity to travel there for a summer camp job in none other than the entertainment capital of the world: Los Angeles (City of Angels).
It was June 2009 on the day that King of Pop megastar, Michael Jackson, passed away. I had arrived at Loyola Marymount University for my summer RA position. The fact that I was actually there on the West Coast for the first time felt like a dream; it certainly was a dream come true for me. I would spend the next month and a half there working, sightseeing, and adjusting to Cali life.
My short vacation time during that six-week period was spent exploring the town. I met up with a relative who took me around Beverly Hills so I could see some celebrity homes. Then we went to Hollywood, toured the Walk of Fame and the Kodak theater, and made our way in view of the famous Hollywood sign that sat in the distance. It was such a fun day.
Unfortunately, I did not spot any celebrities that day nor during my entire time in LA (at least to my knowledge at the time). So the following list includes must-see-and-do activities while in the nonchalant metropolis of Los Angeles:
• Dine at Roscoe’s chicken and waffles
• Take a stroll down Rodeo Drive
• Check out the eclectic characters at Venice Beach
• Go for a thrill at Santa Monica Pier’s amusement park
• Chow down on hearty soul food in Inglewood
• Drive through the mountainous landscape that surrounds the Hollywood sign
• Tour UCLA’s campus situated near Belair (home of the Fresh Prince of Belair)
• Get some delicious ice cream in Brentwood
• Ride the public bus downtown to explore Koreatown, Chinatown and Japantown
• If time and circumstance permit, take a road trip to Tijuana, Mexico or San Diego (I didn’t get to do any of these because of my limited vacation time… however, someday!)
And I must add that getting tickets to the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards was and is on my bucket list so if you happen to be in LA in late June, consider taking part in this interesting experience. If and when the opportunity presents itself for me to visit California again, I will definitely jump on it. I would like to see what Northern Cali is like (especially since I have a friend working in the Silicon Valley area now.) Whether a US citizen or not, California is worth visiting at some point in one’s [working] vacation life.