Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017 - California Day 1 (Los Angeles)

Join us for our journey in California which took place from September 9, 2017 to September 23, 2017 where we start in Los Angeles, visit the theme parks, the national parks, and then San Francisco.

Our departure took place out of Toronto at 10:10am and we arrived at 7:00am and it only took about 20 minutes to get through customs. We actually got randomly selected for a security check which was a first for me, but I guess I haven't flown through or to USA for a long time. Nothing happened other than them swabbing our bags. Speaking of bags, this was our first time trying to travel with just carry-on bags since our flight did not include checked bags and we didn't want to pay for them. Oddly, my GPS holder flagged their automatic system but nothing came from it other than them scanning the bag another. We made it to the lounge (thanks that Alex for the free guest passes) by 7:25am.

Air Canada Lounge breakfast
The lounge was nice, although in the morning, they don't seem to have much to offer. Just some toast, muffins, and drinks. It was a good way to spend our time since we were fairly early for our flight though. The flight itself was uneventful and we made it to California at 12:00pm local time.

We got our rental car from Hertz and surprisingly, I was a Gold member with just this one rental. Since I didn't know, we lined up in the ordinary line and we spent about 30 minutes there. Gold allows you to select any car from the Gold lot which started from compact cars and ranged all the way to SUVs. It was just the lower end ones (Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota) but it worked for us. Ended up with a 2016 Nissan Sentra since I didn't want to worry about parking a larger vehicle and was hoping for better fuel economy.

First stop, food! We made it to El Tarasco which was a short drive away and ordered the enchilada and taco combo, and the burrito. The meal came with free taco chips and salsa which were nice. The food was really good and the portions are very generous. Lucky for us since there was no food on our flight. It came out to $21.52 before tip.

El Tarasco - Burrito
El Tarasco - Enchilada and Taco combo
Santa Monica Pier is our first stop and we ended up parking at the Civic Center which cost us $5 which is actually the max for the weekend. It is a short walk to the pier. The pier itself is pretty nice and I can see why people like it here so much. There is a fairly large beach, an area for people to train on equipment like double poles, swings, and more. And then there is the pier area itself with lots of shops, a small amusement park area with a rollercoaster and ferris wheel as well as some nice views.

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
After the pier, we drove to our motel for the next few days which is the Hollywood Downtowner, located on Hollywood Blvd. The motel itself has parking included which is why I chose this one. It is okay.

Carousel Restaurant is where we had dinner where we ordered the Fool Mudammas and the Stuffed Kofta. The food was good, it is a decide sized place, although the parking lot is not large enough for the amount of restaurants and shops there. Dinner came out to $23.49 after taxes.

Carousel's appetizers (included).
Carousel - Stuff koftas on the left, Fool's Mudammas on the right.
Went back to the hotel and called it a night. Tomorrow, we visit Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Sign, The Broad, and wandering around town.