Girl Goes West
may 23, 2018
Back and forth between two oceans. Above the Atlantic to the edge of the Pacific. Across countries. Over continents. Somehow I found myself on the West Coast of America; for work, for pleasure. I had never been to LA or San Francisco. My sole experience of the West Coast was 2 years ago when I graduated college. Instead of forking over $300 on the cap and gown and spending the weekend in an endless line to walk across a stage and shake an unfamiliar hand, I bought a $120 plane ticket to San Diego and spent the weekend eating tacos and flirting with surfer boys.
I never really imagined myself as a Cali girl, but of course I always wanted to see Hollywood and Malibu and all of the other very shiny places portrayed on the big screen. So when the opportunity arose to visit friends on the golden coast and line up some modeling work, I hopped on a plane and headed for the stars.
I found LA to be incredibly easy. Easy to make healthy decisions, that is. An active lifestyle is encouraged and easily achievable with the oceanfront and numerous hiking opportunities. Yummy and mostly organic healthfoods are present at pretty much every restaurant. Locals go light on the alcohol. And, as I stayed in Santa Monica, I found the sea breeze doesn’t hurt in creating a happy vibe for these Californians. Yes, the traffic was bad and the pollution distasteful and some of the people were pretentious. Yet, I didn’t have high expectations for LA, and I think that is precisely why I enjoyed it so. In fact, I could see myself hanging out there for a few months… I might even let those months turn into years. Time, indeed, will tell.
While I had to work every day of my stay, I still got around the town and saw quite a bit. Highlights include cycling from Santa Monica down to Venice Beach, shopping along Rodeo Boulevard, hiking near Malibu, and checking out the view at Griffith Observatory. I enjoyed breakfast at Huckleberry Cafe, lunch at Gjusta, dinner at Via Veneto, and dessert at Kippy’s Non-Dairy Ice Cream Shop. I sipped cocktails in swanky lounges like, the Roosevelt off Hollywood Boulevard and out of coconuts at The Venice Whaler. I strolled through the charming boutiques and vintage stores of Silverlake and ogled at the mansions of Beverly Hills. All before catching an AM flight up to San Francisco for another gig.
With 45 hours in San Francisco (8 of which I would be working and 16 of which I would be sleeping), I wasn’t too ambitious in seeing it all. Rather I wanted to check out a couple of things and soak up that Northern California vibe. The Golden Gate Bridge was more majestic than I anticipated, the hilled streets lined with colorful, Victorian style houses were even more charming than Full House portrayed, and buzzing Chinatown made me feel like I was squeezing in an international trip along the way. I “wine”-d down at Amelie and took in sky high views over cocktails at Top of the Mark. I gobbled down szechuan dumplings at Z&Y Restaurant, where Obama had previously panted over the same spicy Chinese dishes. I perused the shops of the Ferry Building before popping into The Slanted Door for oysters and champagne overlooking the bay. All in all, my incredibly short stay left me feeling a little short-changed as my outbound flight left the runway. Stay golden, California… I’ll be back for you.