Thursday, May 26, 2011

California Dreamin'

... disrupted by a baby wailing in an infant safety seat. It was almost six in the evening, and yet the sun's still high and mighty. I squinted as my eyes swept the beach and craned my neck out the car's window for Santa Monica Beach has a very, very long stretch.

Last hurrah for spring.

My 8-monther Luna continued to inordinately whinge (it was her first time to be strapped in such seat) as my friend Nadgeda parked the car. I froze when I stepped out. Judging by the way other beach goers wrapped themselves, I concluded that I wasn't just the one with the chill.

It was our second day in America. And I still couldn't believe we're there, thanks to the guidance of visum usa-ESTA. Fresh from sunny Philippines, I initially thought I was the only person suffering from May Gray's frigorific bite when I caught sight of teens in hot pants and skimpy rompers. They're probably cold too but would rather be the first to don this year's summer fashion forecast by top designers than be in a comfy seat suit.

I took Luna out of the car. She wasn't shivering like me but I enveloped her in my pashmina shawl anyways. We strode towards the bridge to Santa Monica Pier while Nadgeda, a Haitian-born-Florida-raised Los Angeles resident, pointed out and discussed parts of the bay.

Wonderful Wednesday walk.

A big Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. resto perched off the bridge's wooden planks revealed itself as we got closer to the pier. Nadgeda shared that it's a restaurant with a Forrest Gump theme (original one's in Monterey, California). She was taken aback when I told her that our country has a branch, among the not so many worldwide.

We moved inwards the pier, past the souvenir shops and street performers. It wasn't so crowded that Wednesday. There were only a handful of customers dining al fresco, with food grabbed from the kiosks dotted around the area. A number of which were enjoying a cup of brew from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, also a California-based cafe chain.

There were even less people on the rides of admission-free Pacific Park. I would have tried some had Luna agreed to be held by someone else. Nadgeda could only carry her for less than five seconds, after which Luna throws a deranged tantrum. And so all we could do was to keep strolling.

First and only solar-powered ferris wheel in the world.

John Mayer's song Clarity played in my head as I retraced his footsteps in the music video. ♪"... And I will wait to find, if this will last forever."♪ I stood close to the edge by the rail and momentarily watched a couple of anglers waiting for a tug. I wondered what kind of fish they hope to catch.

I struggled taking photos with my right hand and carrying an infant on the left (not to mention the heavyweight tote bag full of baby stuff dangling on my shoulder!) while battling the nipping breeze. Santa Monica Beach may not be a tropical paradise but picturesque nonetheless. Reason why Hannah Montana, the new 90210 and other television series were/are being shot here.

Anyhoo, I eventually gave up on trying to get decent snapshots and stomped to a souvenir stand for retail therapy. Nadgeda spoke to the Mexican guy who manned it. "You're not flying kites today", voicing out her observation. "Not too windy", he replied. I browsed his merchandise from kites to fridge magnets to postcards. He's also selling small toy VW Kombi vans with a surfboard on the roof with Sta. Monica Bay, CA 2011 handwritten on it. He said new stock just arrived with other colors aside form the blue and green on display. I asked for a yellow one because I assumed it would look cute beside the yellow tuktuk model I bought from India for Luna.

Left: Retracing John Mayer's footsteps in his song Clarity's music video. I'm obviusly a fan. Right: Mexican guy's souvenir stand.

The toy cars are shipped from Brazil, but yeah, made in China like everything else. He asked me if I'd still purchase it even though it doesn't have the Sta. Monica Bay, CA 2011 label on it. I raised my brows in inquiry and he explained, "We just write it ourselves". I told him I could wait while they write on the toy but then he said the guy who does it already left and that he can't do it himself because he's got "ugly writing".

I bought it anyway and thought I might as well write it myself. Heck, I could even label it Hawaii 2011 or Brazil 2011. As we were about to leave, he asked where we're from. When I answered I'm from the Philippines his lips broke into a huge grin and blurted, "I love pancit and adobo!". He also eats at Goldilocks. It's amusing to know so, for Mexican dishes are distinctly different from Pinoy fare.

We bid him a jolly goodbye and made our way back to the parking lot for Luna was crying uncontrollably. I fussed and thought she might be finally freezing too. In the car, I strapped her in and gave her milk bottle. I soon found out she's dozy for she slumbered within ten minutes into the ride. It was a peaceful drive to the hotel during rush hour traffic. I resumed my California dreamin'...


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AJ said...
June 5, 2011 at 12:37 PM

California dreamin' come true! :) Is this what they call a boardwalk? Reminds me of the one in "Beaches" but dunno if this is the same one.

Pero surprised din ako that we have exported Goldilocks to CA. Sana Red Ribbon din, mas fave ko yun eh. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 5, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Yup, it is a boardwalk. I haven't heard anyone call it that though. Hihi.

There are lots of Red Ribbon branches in California already :) I think meron sa Hollywood.

Markyramone said...
June 5, 2011 at 2:40 PM

What's amazing was the establishments are far away from the beach, giving beach goers all the space to walk and lay under the sun. I'd love to spend a whole afternoon walking in that boardwalk or aboard a skateboard hehe

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 5, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Marky, skateboard?! I haven't seen this talent of yours. Sampol! Sampol! Sampol! Showtime lang, lol.

Bino said...
June 5, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Buti pa si Goldilucks nakapunta na ng CA... :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 5, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Don't worry Bino, Frameless World also might in the near, if not distant, future :)

Anonymous said...
June 5, 2011 at 7:09 PM

missing cali.. :( until when are you there? enjoy lots!

Lea said...
June 5, 2011 at 7:12 PM

This is so California! Overrated yet it's still my fave state in the US..are they really that laid back or was it just me? haha.. awesome! may goldilocks at red ribbon dun! yum! you're a superwoman gaye! haha..doesn't seem that you're carrying baby Luna by the look of the pictures!! great photos btw!=D California dreamin' indeed!

tina said...
June 5, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Wow! Buti pa c Baby Luna :)

Take Care Gay and Fam :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 5, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Heya HappySole! We're back in Pinas already. Arrived Saturday :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 5, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Lea I haven't met a lot of locals so I can't really tell if they're as laid back as the beach scene. Hihi.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 5, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Thanks Tina! Enjoy si baby, ako naman hapong-hapo. Lol.

Aleah said...
June 6, 2011 at 2:01 AM

Wow, I only read about Santa Monica beach. It's supposed to be great for people watching as well. Too bad it was too cold when you went there!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 6, 2011 at 4:31 AM

Yeah Aleah. Didn't even feel like walking on the sand :(

Scott - Quirky Travel Guy said...
June 6, 2011 at 8:08 AM

Cool, I didn't know that ferris wheel was solar powered!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 6, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Pretty rad ei, Scott? Thanks for dropping by!

Grace said...
June 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM

I did not know that John Mayer's Clarity was shot here. LOL My fave things to do when I was still in LA was to ride the bike up and down Santa Monica to either Venice Beach or Malibu. Are you back in the RP?

Micamyx|Senyorita said...
June 6, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Sunny but cold California hehe :D I am not surprised with foreigners who love Goldilocks. Bilib din sila sa Polvoron natin :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 6, 2011 at 1:33 PM

We are back in Pinas, Grace. We did not have time to visit Venice Beach and Malibu. Hopefully we do when/if we come back.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 6, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Really Mica? Winner ang polvoron. Speaking of which, tagal ko nang hindi nakakain nun ah!

Pinoy Boy Journals said...
June 6, 2011 at 2:51 PM

iniimagine ko pano kaya pag ako nandito ha ha malamang umiinom lang buong araw or magpapa-tattoo! he he

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 6, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Jerik, buong araw ka rin papatattoo? Lol. I imagine myself listening to Sublime while gulping beer the whole day. So cliche but FUN!

Nonoy said...
June 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Wow! Nasa America ka na pala. Ang galeng mo! hehe:-) Oh, nakabalik ka na rin s Pinas? Sayang; bitin. :-)

I like the new design of your blog. tsaka yung logo s header.:-)

Nelieta said...
June 6, 2011 at 11:40 PM

I love that I cannot get it out of my head..LOL! It looks so colourful! It must have been a great experience.

bertN said...
June 7, 2011 at 6:06 AM

I didn't know you visited LA! I hope you enjoyed your visit, albeit short. I bet you did not see the real LA, the city and the county. I hope you have a chance to come back. It is worth it.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 7, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Glad you like it Nonoy! Yup, we are already back in Pinas. Namiss ko ang aking lupang sinilangan.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 7, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Still got that song in my had Nelieta :) Nice to know you listen to John Mayer too.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 7, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Bert, I just checked your profile and you're from OC! I actually saw most of the residential areas only. We stayed a few days on Reseda Blvd, cause hubby's got work. I wasn't able to visit the usual tourist areas. Met a lot of relatives in CA too (SF, Sacramento), so the trip's mostly gatherings in their respective homes.

Ian said...
June 7, 2011 at 12:22 PM

How I wish to the see Sta. Monica... I thought there's no other place to see near LA aside from Hollywood and Disneyland...

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 7, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Ian, the bay's still a bit of a drive from downtown L.A. (especially with the traffic) but so worth it. The stretch of beach seems endless (or maybe that's a fact, lol).

Rizalenio said...
June 7, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Oh wow! Bubba Gump! Our Own Bubba Gump here in Trinoma was shutdown already. I just don't know if the one in Greenbelt is still operational. I miss the ambiance of that resto. :)

I love buying toy cars and your description of toy vans with surfboard on the roof sounds tempting. Will try to look one here. Hahaha.

Mabuhay ang ADOBO!!! :)

lakwatsera de primera said...
June 7, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Excited ako masyado sa first trip ni Luna abroad kaya picture nyong dalawa agad ang hinanap ko sa blog na to. Pero mukhang mahirap nga mag-self portrait gamit ang SLR habang karga mo si Luna.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 7, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Haha! Hirap talaga magself portrait Claire, especially inaabot na ni Luna yung camera :(

Laurel said...
June 7, 2011 at 11:04 PM

The beach looks beautiful, but the people look like they're dressed warmer than I would expect for California.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 7, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Same here, Laurel. Despite the cold weather though, people still hangout by the bay.

David Jr said...
June 8, 2011 at 4:14 AM

Brings back memories of my trips here in 1997-2001. I used to visit LA every year for simply no reason and loved hanging out at Santa Monica. The fair at the pier looks much renovated and new too.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 8, 2011 at 4:50 AM

It does, David? Interesting. They must have added some rides. Thanks for dropping by!

ayan said...
June 13, 2011 at 2:30 AM

sa damit ng karga mo... gaganda p rin ng pics... ayus

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 13, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Thank you Ayan! Napagod ako sobra after. Hahaha!

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...
June 17, 2011 at 2:52 AM

Napakanta ako hehe =P

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 17, 2011 at 7:02 AM

Hahaha! Love that song!

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
June 18, 2011 at 9:30 AM

I was amused reading this entry on your second day in the US (and which I imagine is pretty much your routine while traveling): carrying your baby on one hand and a camera in the other with a bag on one shoulder and making sure you don't trip and fall! Talk about a multi-tasking mom.

Welcome to the US!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 18, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Hi Dennis! Surprisingly, I cannot wait to back to America.

Seair said...
June 28, 2011 at 6:55 PM

What beautiful shots! I cannot wait for my next visit to LA. I have been to Huntington Beach but this place looks alot more lively. I will definitely have to check it out the next time I am in the area!

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