Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chapter 2: hey tommy lee jones, nice truck

We rose at the beautiful hour of about 11am, which was about 1pm for me, and while it may seem like a day could be wasted (maybe it was 9am- same diff), we definitely made the most of Day 2, without regard to time. Zach was headed to Universal Studios for the day, so it would just be the three amigas.

First stop was CVS because my camera's memory card was full. After one night of being there (plus other pictures I couldn't bring myself to delete), it was full. Great.

Then, we hit up the infamous $0.99 store native to the sunny shores of California where we purchased fake goldfish of two varieties, Lifewater, bears and icing for dunkaroos, more bread for PB&J sandwiches, and some other food items.

Next - and don't get bored yet, it's about to get exciting - we drove to the gas station in Burbank and on our way, TOMMY LEE JONES turned in front of us. In his old, beat-up truck. I was stuttering out "Look- that face - famous - he's - look, look- in front-" and then, since I couldn't think of his name, Melissa spit it out for me "That's Tommy Lee Jones!!!"

After a couple minutes of screaming and laughing and congratulating ourselves for our celebrity sighting in Burbank, no less, we pulled into the gas station and pulled out our phones. Okay, I'm gonna script this for your visual comprehension and entertainment.

Me: I'm gonna call my grandmother.
Melissa: I'm gonna call my mom.
Courtney: I'm texting my mom.

(all whip out phones, Melissa and I begin to dial)
(brief silence as dial tone rings)

Melissa: Hey mom!
Me: Grandmother-
Melissa and Me: Guess what?
Melissa and Me: We just saw Tommy Lee Jones!!

Melissa's mom asked if there was an echo on her phone, my grandmother was excited, but it was a bad time for her to talk, so we ended our calls and cracked up because we literally said pretty much the same thing at the same time.

Then Melissa pumped gas and we cheered for a little longer and headed to Yogurtland for lunch.

If you have never tasted frozen yogurt, I first pity you and then I reprimand you. You who have computer access to view this post certainly have enough control over your own life to scout out your local frozen yogurt joint and indulge yourself. So do it. And finish reading this later, because you are wasting precious time. Your taste buds are bound to grow bitter. (pun definitely intended)

As we carried our cups of frozen yogurt to the car, we knew great things awaited us. We were going to the cliffs and then we were going to the beach. I hadn't been to a beach in who knows how long. Swimsuits tucked beneath t-shirts and shorts and chuck taylors on foot, the three of us set off on our adventure, with Melissa's trusty GPS to guide and misguide us.

We arrived at the beautiful "park" around 3pm, though I perhaps invented that time to give the story more significant detail. Surfboards atop the car, we parked her in trusty view of all, and stepped out of the car into the beautiful sunshine and glorious....wind. It was pretty breezy, which meant hoodies were a must. Eventually, though, through our tree-climbing shenanigans and cliff hiking, we shed articles of clothing, such as the cumbersome hoodie.

The best way to sum up this experience would be to show you.

After our climbing and hiking and meeting a drunk guy from Honduras under the dock and talking to him for a while, we headed back to the car. The surf boards were still there and time was expiring. The beach was not going to happen, at least not like we planned.

We had an appointment with destiny in Mission Viejo, which was about an hour away. We were meeting Courtney's family friends and eating dinner with them. After making a pit stop at McDonald's to change into real clothes and discard the bathing suits we didn't really use, we arrived at the house of Ed, Roxanne, and Irina. After some delightful conversation and learning more about California, Roxanne must have heard our stomachs growling.

And then...the two words that I loved most.

"Fish tacos."

I suppose surrounding those words was something like, "Hey Irina, why don't you take them to get fish tacos at Rubio's? My treat."

Melissa and I were smiling ear to ear, as was Courtney, because she did not have the privilege of sharing in our experience the night before. We decided we would grab some tacos then drive to Laguna Beach, since we were so close.

Three fish tacos and a smile later, we were back in the car on the way to Laguna Beach.

Irina gave us this delicious gum after our wonderful meal, and I discovered I could blow some great bubbles. I told Melissa and she decided to try. What happened next was entirely spontaneous and ridiculous, but it happened, and must be noted. Every time we blew a bubble, we counted. So it turned into a competition, and by the time we hit Laguna Beach, I had blown 100 bubbles and Melissa had blown 101. She won. Our jaws were sore and the gum had lost its flavor, but it was an incredibly spectacular little event.

When we got to the beach, it was pitch dark (as it had been when we left for Rubio's), and the beach was pretty much deserted. So we walked and goofed off and played on the lifeguard deck and walked through the restaurants and messed with locals.

Then we drove Irina home, stopped at McDonald's for some caffeine, and got back to Melissa's apartment sometime around midnight. Aka 2 a.m. in my Nashville head. Sooo tired. But such a remarkable day!

We were out like a light in no time. Fish tacos swimming in our stomachs satisfactorily once again.

Chapter 1: that fish would look good in my face

If there was one word to describe what I wanted to be over spring break, I suppose the word would be daring. I wanted to defy my own expectations, cut loose, and meet new people. So I booked two flights and one train ride for my California-Chicago adventure.

I suppose the easiest way to do this would to be to give you a day-by-day bullet point list of my journey. But I fear that would stifle the inner-writer and would not be half as entertaining as the stories I could tell. However, I fear you would not read all of it if I told it to you in one block of text. So I am going to break it up into chapters. Because blogs are meant to be read with the most recent information at the top, you may find yourself scrolling down to read my adventures in order. I suppose if you read them out of order, it would not confuse your comprehension too much. So do as you like.

Consider the following chapter one.

CHAPTER 1: that fish would look good in my face

I arrived at the Nashville airport on the afternoon of Monday, March 8th. One checked bag, a full backpack, an airport water bottle, and a Reader's Digest later, I was aboard a five-hour flight to Los Angeles.

Upon arrival, I noticed that had I not been standing in the shade of the arrival tunnel, shorts would have been a viable option. The palm trees I could see protruding from the stretch of sun-touched grass just beyond my tunneled waiting bench was enough to stir anticipation within me. I wanted to touch the palm trees if only to convince myself it was not a mirage.

My getaway car pulled up and I hopped in and sped away with my friends Melissa and Courtney and a guy named Zach who I didn't know. We shook hands, exchanged names, and sped out of the airport along with the others flying at 15 mph.

We were off. The adventure had begun. We arrived at Melissa's gorgeous apartment nestled in the Hollywood area, deposited my stuff, made some PB&J and were swiftly off to climb the hill of the Hollywood sign.

The view from the top was gorgeous- the sunset was altogether too remarkable to be explained. Perhaps pictures can do the explaining that my words cannot.

After hiking down, meeting a boy named Archer, freezing because it does get a bit chilly at night, even though it's Cali, we drove back to Melissa's apartment, said goodbye to Courtney when she left for dinner with her cousin, then the three remaining explorers scouted out a dinner spot to cater to our hunger cravings.

We found a delicious fish taco spot that looked like it might be closed, but it wasn't, not yet, so we went in.

Up until this trip, I had been slightly repulsed at the thought of fish in a taco, but I will try anything once, so I thought, "Heck, why not in Hollywood?" And that is how my infatuation with fish tacos began.

Minus the stinging then burning then flaming then searing your eyeballs out of their sockets sensation from our spicy guacamole (WTH?) we drank our exotic drinks, courtesy of the owner, and I guzzled my Squirt drink (yes, it was hot enough for two beverages) and we exited the premises, smiles all around. ("This will make your face smile, and I like when your face smiles.")
We proceeded to travel to Amoeba music, which is kind of a big deal in LA. It is this HUGE warehouse of sorts with thousands of CDs and DVDs for sale, some used, some new.

Post-Amoeba, Melissa, Zach, and I drove to Hollywood Blvd where they were taking down lights and decorations from the previous night's Academy Awards. The road was closed, but the sidewalks were opened. We parked about 4 blocks away next to the vehicle we swear was used in the Indiana Jones movies, and arrived in time to see Spiderman posed like he was ready to pounce on a ledge of the building on the boulevard.

We of course explored the area behind Kodak Theater, put our hands in the prints of Johnny Depp and our feet in the soles of Hugh Jackman (that man has HUGE feet). Then we walked back to the car, grabbed an In-N-Out Neapolitan shake on the way, and headed back to the apartment.

Slightly jet-lagged and worn out from the days activities (I'd only been there since 3pm California time! That's 5pm Nashville time), I sluggishly hung around with the others for a couple of hours before hitting my sleeping bag and going to sleep.

Day 1 was amazing. Who knew what Day 2 had in store...