City of Angels

As a self-confessed fan of American Pop Culture, there’s no reason why I will not consider Los Angeles as my “heaven.” It’s as if I’m literally dreaming! The places where I only saw in movies and television series before have just become real. Indeed, Los Angeles is my second favorite place in the United States.

Why do I say that? Here! Take a look at my exciting adventures!

Hollywood Boulevard

This is the first recommended stop for tourists, if you really want to see a lot of landmarks without walking too much. While strolling along the boulevard, you can see the Walk of Fame stars on its pavement. There are of course a lot of tourists who want to take pictures not just with the stars of their movie idols but you can also find, film and music icons here. To make it more interesting, you can also take pictures with street artists who dress like Tinkerbell, Michael Jackson, etc.

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The perks of being at the Hollywood Boulevard is that you can also visit the Chinese, El Capitan and Dolby Theater.

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Hand and Footprints of famous celebrities

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Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane had its world premiere here.

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This is where the Academy Awards (The Oscars) is usually held.

Beverly Hills 

Are you interested to know where famous celebrities reside? Then, go to Beverly Hills! The houses are indeed big and I think they are really expensive. But if you just want to shop, then you can also go to Rodeo Drive where all the fashion luxury stores are located.

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DSC_0269Hollywood Sign

Most of the tourists will make sure that they have a picture with the famous Hollywood sign. There are two spots to go to. You can go to Vermont Avenue. It is a residential area and cars are only allowed at some point. If you want to have a picturesque view of the Hollywood sign, then you need to search for a parking area and walk all the way up.

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View from Vermont Ave

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View from Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

If you want to learn more about Chemistry, Physics or even Astronomy, then Griffith Observatory is the right place to visit. There are some parts which have a free entrance. However, you need to pay for the shows. On top, you can see the Hollywood sign and the magnificent view of the city.

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Table of Elements

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Griffith Observatory

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View on Top

Warner Bros- Big Bang Theory

There are tours which are offered by Warner Bros and will allow you to visit some parts of their studios. However, it’s not free of charge. As a media practitioner, I’m really interested to see how do they film inside the studio so I opted to watch one of the live episodes of The Big Bang Theory for free!

Yes, that’s right! I know most people will tell you that it’s very difficult to get a ticket but here’s a tip! Go to tvtickets.com and find out when is the next taping of Big Bang Theory. They will giveaway the tickets one month before the taping. On the date of release, make sure that you are online 1 hour or 30 mins before 8:30 am (LA time), then keep refreshing your browser. If your browser is not responding, sent an email to Audience Unlimited Inc and  tell them that you want to have a ticket but you’re having some difficulty. Someone will reply and in most cases they giveaway priority tickets 🙂

How’s the experience? Cameras and other recording devices are not allowed inside. However, they’ve given us free pizza, water, and a lot of chocolates when we watched the show. They also gave us the chance to watch the previous unaired episode so that we can get the context of the episode that we will be watching live. Since usual television tapings require a lot of time because of retakes, costume or set change, etc., the floor director gave the audience a lot of opportunities to show our talent by singing, dancing, performing etc in between takes. Dead air is not really in his vocabulary. As a price, we got chocolates and I’m lucky that I got an autographed picture from the artists. Penny and Leonard also went to the audience area to personally thank us for supporting the show. Definitely, this is an experience that I will greatly treasure.

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Warner Bros

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This is where we fall in line before the show.

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Episode’s Program and the Casts’ Photo and Autograph

Of course, you should not leave Los Angeles without trying some of the restaurants that you can only find on the west coast!

Boiling Crab

I love Seafood and as a Filipino we enjoy eating especially when we use our hands! I experienced that in Boiling Crab. Their Shebang sauce really suits the shrimps and crab especially if you also use lime extract. The flavor is savory and it’s definitely worth the waiting time and price.

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In ‘n Out Burger

This fast food restaurant changed my view about eating burgers and fries in the United States. Believe it or not, their burgers taste fresh and delicious. This is not the normal meal that we usually order. It’s different!

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Santa Monica

Oh, did I mention?  It’s really hot in Los Angeles specially in summer so why not take a dip? We chose to go to Santa Monica and we are indeed lucky because we were there on a weekday so it was not really crowded. You can really relax and take your time.

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What Happens in Vegas

Known as the “Sin City” or  the “Gambling Capital of the World,” Vegas will never fail its visitors through its tempting lights, colorful street artists and sumptuous buffets.

Las Vegas Strip

Just by walking along the strip,definitely, you will not be bored. However, I suggest to walk during late afternoon or in the evening, since in September, it tends to be really hot outside.

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Who would have thought that there can be a pyramid or a sphinx in America? Most of the hotels in Vegas have a creative and magnificent infrastructure that will entice the tourists to go inside or even stay there for a night. Each of the hotels has their own gimmicks like  fountain, light, or sounds shows. And they are all free of charge.

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Gambling

If you’re the kind of person who wants to risk then try, gambling! Of course, there are a lot of temptations from sexy girls in a bikini to a comfortable casino- everything in Vegas  will entice you to gamble your money. It’s up to you to decide!

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Cirque de Soleil

You should not miss Cirque de Soleil when you visit Vegas. I thought that it’s more about stunts but they offer  wide range of performances. Most of my friends do recommend their Michael Jackson show. However, I watched Zarkana and  I would really commend the performers’ professionalism because they are not just good while performing their stunts but they really act in character. Their production design, costume, and make-up are really magnificent. The show is definitely worth the price!

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Wicked Spoon

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This trip wouldn’t be complete without a good buffet. Wicked spoon is indeed great with its food presentation. It might also be ideal to have brunch there since it’s cheaper and you get various types of food from breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Although, there are one or two dishes that I find really salty so in terms of taste, Wicked Spoon is not that perfect.

There are still a lot of things to discover in Vegas. And I will definitely come back!

Geek Mode On in Palo Alto

Are you planning to go to Los Angeles from San Francisco by car? Before you start your road trip, it’s nice to take some hours in Palo Alto. If you’re tech-savvy and indeed a fan of these technological and social media giants, then you wouldn’t be bored in visiting their offices and other landmarks.
Facebook
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The company has its new home in Menlo Park, approximately 10 minute drive from Palo Alto. Building no. 15 is allotted for their visitors. Aside from free lollipops and chocolates at the reception, there’s nothing much in the headquarters. The staff said that Facebook is a private company and visitors are only allowed to take pictures in front of the “Like” icon.It makes me think that in contrast to the company’s “privacy”, we as Facebook users post a lot of personal information in their site. I hope that they can have a store or just a small museum just to show how they treasure the users’ trust and loyalty.
Hewlett Packard Garage
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Who wouldn’t recognize this historical place? It is most widely known as “the birthplace of Silicon Valley.” Although, you might not even notice it, once you drive along the street (see second picture). This place reminds us about the humble beginnings of Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett. By looking at this garage, extravagant and big office space is not a MUST to become successful, right?
Apple
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Apple’s headquarter is located at Infinite Loop. They have various employees from all around the globe. That’s why, it can be considered as a multi-cultural workplace.  For visitors, the Apple Store is in the first building. There, they sell not only Apple products but also other merchandise. Unfortunately, it’s under renovation when I were there.
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Stanford University
If you are tired, and you just want to unwind, you may stop in Stanford University. In Germany, we have a wifi connection called “eduroam.” I thought that I can just use this connection if I’m in any other German universities, but I was really surprised when I can use this connection in Stanford. Cool!
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Enjoy the View
Yes, the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles might be exhausting, but why complain if you can enjoy the view?
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However, it is currently under construction that’s why it is temporary close as of September 2015.

San Francisco in a Day

With a weather of 17 Celsius who wouldn’t love San Francisco? One of the locals said that if they go to other cities in California, it’s like entering a different world for them. Of course, for those who live in San Francisco, the city is undeniably their haven. Here are the places which would definitely entice everyone to stay or comeback to the city again.
Golden Gate Bridge
The first thing that I did upon reaching the city was to cross the bridge. It is a wonderful location for sport enthusiasts, because they can hike or bike around the area.  Although it was foggy and windy when I was there, I still managed to take wonderful shots of the bridge.
Near Battery Yates
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Side of the Bridge
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You can also walk along the bridge and enjoy the view from there.
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Pier 39
Exploring San Francisco might be exhausting so I suggest to relax and enjoy Pier 39. It may smell fishy but who would not want to eat fresh seafoods here? After eating, there are a lot of shops to buy your memorabilias or you may also just spend time taking pictures. From there, you can see Alcatraz island and a lot of sea lions.
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Cable Car
If there are trams in Europe then there are cable cars in San Francisco. There are a lot of routes or stops to choose from. By taking this transportation, you can reach Chinatown, Union Square, Market Street and other different tourist spots.
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Union Square
Along Post Street, you can find Union Square. It’s the city center where you can find a lot of hotels, shops, and restaurants. When I went here, I felt a sense of pride since  the monument in the middle was built in commemoration of  George Dewey’s victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American war. Upon seeing this, I realized that being a Filipino in America means that we are not just merely a foreigner but we are also a part of their history. There is a sense of belongingness rather than alienation.
Actually, there are a lot of places that I should have visited in San Francisco. One day is not really enough.