The Stew’s Go To China: Day 1

May 2, 2014

This, unfortunately, is not the day we actually made it to China. We left Anchorage on a 3:40am flight Friday morning (or Thursday night as we like to think of it, since we didn’t actually go to sleep) and arrived in Los Angeles for an EXTREMELY long layover.

One good thing about the long layover (14 hours) was that we used it as a chance to leave the airport and see LA.

This was Matt’s first time to California, and it has been about a year since I was in LA myself, so we rented a car and headed to the beach so Matt could stick his toes in the Pacific Ocean.

IMG_6258The beach we went to was the infamous Venice Beach: a beautiful boardwalk, plenty of sand, and ice cold ocean.

So much sand. The walk from the boardwalk to the beach felt like an eternity.

So much sand. The walk from the boardwalk to the beach felt like an eternity.

Also, we were so damn hot! We had come from Alaska weather in the 40’s, and now we’re in Southern California with temps in the 80’s. We immediately talked about how much we preferred Anchorage’s cool temps over this sweaty mess.

One crazy thing about Venice Beach is all of the street performers. There were people lined up the boardwalk/sidewalk selling everything from art to sculptures to mix CD’s. There were also a lot of street performers. We saw a guy dancing around in a banana suit. with another guy who had a kitten on his shoulder like a parrot. Did I mention they were jamming to no music?

We also got to watch a really amazing dance troupe do some crazy cool moves that require a lot of rhythm, skill, and muscles. I immediately felt like I needed to go to the gym and do 1000 ab workouts. It was crazy.



After spending most of the day in Venice, we headed to Hollywood & Highland to show Matt the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the craziness that ensues in LA.

Pandaemonium ensued. Too many people.

Pandaemonium ensued. Too many people.

Hey Jimmy Kimmel! I hope your show is going well!

Hey Jimmy Kimmel! I hope your show is going well!

After a brief stay there, we headed to the Griffith Observatory, which is supposed to have great views of the Hollywood sign and is supposed to be a nice, relaxing place in LA.

IMG_6297 IMG_6294 IMG_6298Once again, this place was waaay too crowded. We had to park our car almost a mile from the observatory and schluck up to get a view, which sadly wasn’t very good due to all the smog. I feel like we would have enjoyed the trails though, as they were mostly empty and followed rolling hills.

After that, we headed back to the airport. LA is one of those cities that I don’t think I could ever happily live in. Same with Matt. We’re not one for crowds, the traffic is horrendous, and the tourists make all of the things cool about the city unbearable. (Yes, I realize we were part of those tourists. Sorry locals!)

I am so impressed by people who love cities like LA, and enjoy living in them. Maybe if I were a millionaire and could have a rolling estate outside of town I’d sing a different tune, but right now, I’ll take my big city of 300,000 with uncrowded hiking trails 15 minutes from my house.

The good thing about LA is that it gave us a preview of Big Cities that we were about to see in China! Bejing and Shanghai are two of the biggest cities in the world, with populations over 23 million. Coming from Anchorage (and even South Carolina, honestly), seeing that many people in one spot is mind blowing.

Stay tuned, Day 2 begins with a 12 hour flight via AirChina to Beautiful Beijing!!!


How do you deal with long layovers? Would you rather be small town or big city? I’m small town, all the way!




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