Doing LA right

Having an authentic LA experience is no easy task. If you ever find yourself in this city, you will see there is too much to do in one day. With bumper to bumper traffic you have to do LA right otherwise it can put you in a bad mood. You must be prepared to have no plan. The trick is letting the city come alive to you.

I usually have an idea of some things I want to do. With my friend in town from Puerto Rico, it was my job to make the city feel like an old friend to him. Over time I have gathered up a few places I like visiting in LA.  I packed my new ipad mini to test out the camera, my gps and we were on our way.

First stop, Griffith Observatory. This is one of the best spots to see the city of Los Angeles. There is lots to do inside but being outside is the most rewarding.

Next we made out way to pick up a friend. She was staying in an area where there was a cool cafe and record store I knew of. We parked by her place and took a walk down the street. This gave us all a break from being in the car and a chance to relax.

For dinner, I recommended pizza. If shared, its cheaper for everyone. I knew of this place in Silverlake that made Chicago deep dish. As we waited to be seated, we placed our order so our food can cook while we wait. We ended up having a good time outside the restaurant, laughing and telling stories.

Later that night we went for a drive downtown to see the old buildings. During the day this would be a mistake, driving across town could take hours, but since it was pass 10pm, it was safe to make the drive. We got there in a few minutes.

After, Joanna mentioned her love for ice cream, lucky there was a place in Silverlake that was open pass midnight. We drove back to where we came from and made out final stop for the day.

As the driver of this trip I wanted everyone to have a good time without worrying about what to do next. It was my opportunity to share some of my favorite spots in LA. Its a city that can stress an outsider out but once you make friends and spend the day with them, the city will no longer feel like a stranger.

Blog: Vancouver – The Journey to the Conclusion

To understand my trip to Vancouver, I must give you some background info. My trip to Vancouver wasn’t just a place that I wanted to visit but it was a place I have been considering moving to. I heard about it a few years after I came back from Australia. It was a city that was growing and thriving in the film industry.

The morning that I was going to the airport I could feel that something was different. I was slowly walking in to the third act. And a conclusion was upon me. I was finally going to get some answers to some of my inner questions about where to go? What to do? What do I want? What does God want? I was excited but I was also scared of the answers.

When you travel, you face things you try to ignore. They come out of your heart. Your perspective becomes so evident, it shows you how you see the world. You begin to see who you really are. You are in a new atmosphere and you become the outsider. And like a child, you begin to experience things for the first time.

The first day I went to an art museum and they had this amazing exhibit called Beat Nation. Basically its was Native Americans mixing traditions and urban youth culture. It was interesting to see them use pop culture to share their story. They were searching for their identity in the mist of culture change. These young people were finding their voice in modern culture. They were finding their identity in their ancestors. I began to ask questions about where do I get my identity from.

Now that I have no title attached to my name, I am left with only the core. The Creator’s daughter.
As I walked around the “promise land”, I couldn’t help but feel this wasn’t real. I was actually here after all those years of talking about it.

I think any city can feel like home the moment you make a friend. It gives a reason to be there. I met up with a girl who I met through Anabel. Aura was the person I was talking to about making the move. We went to Granville for dinner to talk about life, God and Canada. After, the sun was still up so we decided to go for a walk at her local park. I was blown away at the fresh air. I stood standing outside just taking it all in.

The following day, I met up with another friend but I have to stay at a local Starbucks until she gets out of work. So I’m there killing time, reading and playing on my phone. I figure this is probably a good time to spend with God. So I open my bible to a scripture that spoke directly to me, “Wait with hope for the Lord. And follow His path and He will honor you by giving you the Land…He saves them because they have taken refuge in Him.” I could see myself living here but I also came to a point of saying, “Lord, I don’t want my dreams but I want Yours. My dream is Your dream.”

Soon Ada arrived and we headed towards Main St. to look at some Antique shops.

I found that people in Canada are really friendly. The owner of the shop started to talk to us and told us that the city was going to knock down the older buildings on Main St., that his store only had a few days left opened. I was in disbelieve, doesn’t the city know that travelers love places like this! I guess they want to make the street look new.

There were blocks and blocks of amazing stores.

Ada told me I was lucky to get a sunny days in Vancouver. Being from California, every day is a sunny day. It wasn’t until we went to Kit Beach did I believe her. It seemed like the whole city was out doing something.

We walked over to Granville Island for a snack. Little did I know how much food I was about to see. There was so much variety, I couldn’t pick.

The city was no longer a stranger but a place I felt more and more comfortable in. It was so full of life and different cultures. The sun was setting at 10pm. I told my friend that I am driven by the sun, if I lived here, I’d probably be outside all day.

I told Ada about a clock I had seen a photo of when I googled Vancouver. When she took me to Gastown to see it, it felt like a dream. The clock was light up so gracefully. I was standing right where I wanted to be.

The next morning I was exhausted but I wanted to see some nature before I left. So I made my way over to Standly Park for a morning walk.

I rushed back to Ada’s place as we were off to a friend’s birthday party in White Rock. We stopped by the beach to snap some photos. It was so beautiful.

And my last and final evening in Vancouver. The sun went back behind the clouds as we walked the rainy streets.

This trip brought me to a conclusion I could have only had by playing it out. It took a journey to a far away land to come to a conclusion. I guess the point of my trip was to learn how to surrender to God’s plan and trusting in Him. I am allowing Him to direct my steps. Vancouver is beautiful, I did enjoy it and I even miss it but now I can go forth and allow God to unfold something new.

And so I am in the third act. And the third act, I’m excited about it.

Adventure in LA

Every LA adventure I have is so different. I always discover something new about the city. Yesterday Anabel and I parked the car and walked around the city.

There is this hidden cafe that makes home style breakfast sandwiches. I discovered this place with some friends last summer and since then stop by when I am downtown.

Harlem Place Alley 124 W 4th St Los Angeles, CA 90013

After breakfast we walked to the Art Gallery. We got lost and found Little Tokyo.

City Hall 200 N Spring St Los Angeles, CA 90012

We walked around the block a few times and finally found The Moca Art Museum to see Art in the Street. Its the summer exhibit of graffiti style projects from the 1970’s. The cool thing is that it’s attracting people who wouldn’t normally step foot in an Art gallery. My film camera didn’t do to well in the low light.

THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY AT MOCA 152 North Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012

Afterward we crossed the street to El Pueblo. I find this place so fascinating. They sale so many cool hand-made toys, blankets and lots of Mexican restaurants to choose from. It feels like Mexico city.

Pueblo (Union Station and Olvera Street)

We made our way to the car and drove to Santa Monica. We were planning to get in the water but it ended up being so cold. As you can see I am ready to get a tan.

Santa Monica, CA

After the sunset we decided to go see a movie. Anabel noticed this indie theater down the street so we went to look at the posters to see if anything interesting was playing. Anabel made her FB status “I’m @ Santa Monica with Monica @ Monica Theater 4 watching an independent film not quite by Monica :)” It was great to see my name in lights.

1332 2nd St Santa Monica, CA 90401 (photo yelp.com)

Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen looked good so we bought our tickets and stood in line with 300 old people. We were the only young ones there.

To have an adventure in a big city or even in the next town next to you. Be spontaneous and let the city come alive. Walk around and have some child like wonder. The best things in life are free.