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The California Way of Life

[Los Angeles, CA]

After a few super long days sightseeing and graduating and sightseeing again, it was finally time to take it easy – the California way. I was super excited to wake up to see the sun, which meant that the marine layer that usually covers the coastline in May and June, had either burnt off or hadn’t even made an appearance. The sunny weather was an integral part of the day because I wanted to show my parents some of the most scenic places in my area.

Our first stop was Terranea resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It’s an oceanfront resort surrounded by the Pacific on three sides and with magnificent views of Catalina Island across the way. One could come here to spend the night, or just to enjoy the great restaurants, pools and spas this resort has to offer. The drive there is scenic as well and it alone put us in a tranquil, relaxed mode. We had breakfast overlooking one of the pools and the ocean beyond, and we easily forgot that we were just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

The views got even better from our next stop – Trump National Golf Course. Although it is quite expensive to play there, one can enjoy the grounds and many trails down the beach for free, and we did a little loop around the other edge of the club house. The views were to die for, the temperature was perfect and all I wanted to do was grab a blanket and a picnic basket and spend the rest of the day there! But alas, we had a few more iconic LA sights to visit, so we headed there.

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Watts Towers, located in the neighborhood of Watts, were almost destroyed when the man who built them – the Italian immigrant Simon Rodia who devoted 34 years to building them – abruptly left the area, never to return again. Through a serendipitous series of events, the demolition orders were reversed and the towers are now a National Historic Landmark and a symbol of LA. The towers are well known but not well visited, and on this weekday we were the only people there. We parked our car and got out to check out the towers from up close and to read about its history from the signs hanging from the fence. Although this is definitely the shadier part of town, we felt safe to be out and about, and I had to laugh at a couple of Caucasians in a Lexus, who snapped a few photos from their car and took off.

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Our last stop on what turned out to be a very, very hot day (with temps in the 90s), was Rodeo Drive. Unfortunately, we have no celebrity sightings to report but we had a fab time browsing the store fronts of some of the best high-end luxury brands nonetheless. We even made the obligatory beer stop at a little cafe on the South end of Rodeo Drive, but only after some back and forth with the host to determine how big their “regular size” beer bottles were. As it turns out, regular size here in the US is 11.2 oz (which is a small beer overseas), while in Europe a regular beer is 17 oz. As we explained all of this to the host on our way out after drinking our “regular sized” 11.2 oz beers, he said “Well, you guys come back next time, I will give you two beers instead of one!” We took pictures at the giant Beverly Hills sign nearby, then headed home were temps were a good 10 degrees cooler, with a nice ocean breeze to boot.

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