Hollywood Hills

Finally got round to checking out Hollywood Hills. Looks like there are some hiking trails around there, but I’ll have to try them out next time. Couldn’t really hike wearing jeans.

The journey took around 30 minutes from West LA, but I did take the surface streets going west on Santa Monica Blvd, then going north when you get to Hollywood. Mind you, I was just following my Sat Nav. If you leave early enough before 10am, you should be fine taking surface streets, but taking the motorway is recommended.

When you enter the hills north of Hollywood, you are greeted by a network of narrow twisty roads that weave up and down surrounded by luxury houses.

You’ll know when you arrive at the spot to take optimal photos of the Hollywood sign. There’ll be lots of people.

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San Francisco

All this time I had been kidding myself and saying that I’d never get a weekend away because I’ve literally been so busy lately. I finally did get away not so long ago, but only for about a day and a half to SF for the weekend.

It turns out it that weekend was the end of the Games Developers Conference (GDC) so I knew there were going to be past colleagues out there and I was right.

When I arrived at SFO airport, I decided to save myself $50 for a cab ride to my hotel in Union Square, and took the rapid transit instead. It’s the first train I’ve been on this side of the Atlantic. Got me to downtown SF in 30 minutes.

I did have to ask someone how to use the ticket machines though which I thought were a little confusing an unintuitive.

Firstly, you have to find the price of he fare of your destination station manually. Next, you had to insert note(s) over your actual fare and for some reason it won’t take $20 bills so I had to get that change somewhere. Then you use a combination of buttons on the panel (minus / plus $1, minus / plus 5c) until the amount of your ticket is the correct fare. Finally you can print your ticket.

They could have done this; let you select a station and a fare would be displayed. You insert $10, $20, or even $50 bill in the ticket machine and it gives you change. More efficient! – They do that in most places I’ve visited around the world.

I met up with an old boss of mine on Saturday who happened to be at GDC, and hooked up with an ex colleague. Sunday was a grey miserable day, so I stayed close to the hotel. I wasn’t prepared for wet weather. Even though the outlook was supposed to be dry when I checked the weather before setting off to SF.

On my return home I found out that homeless people tend to hang out by the ticket machines offering assistance to people purchasing tickets. Well, they really were persistent in helping you even though I said I could manage. They pressed the – and + buttons to help me through the process, then they asked me for $2, but I just walked off in a hurry.

Back at SFO, I had learned that my flight was delayed by almost 2 hours. This was because the airport shuts down one runway in foggy conditions which occurs a lot as my friends who live in SF mentioned. Flight delays always tend to happen to me, for a whole year, every flight I’ve been on has been delayed.

Malibu

I took the car out to Malibu with a friend on Saturday to get some brunch. About 24 miles from West LA.

We headed down the famous PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) to get there, and went to Marmalade cafe to eat when we hit Malibu Lagoon. The drive was fun, very scenenic with mountains on one side and the Pacific ocean on the other side. I’ve heard Marmalade cafeĀ  is where you’re likely to spot a celebrity, since it’s close to where most of them live.

After brunch, we hit the beach nearby to walk it off.

On our drive back, we took a few turns around the canyons nearby. They were stunning! literally a winding road mile upon mile with mountain views and you could instantly pick up the fresh air.

On our way back from the canyon, we passed some houses, and asked ourselves, how on earth do people get about from here if they have no car. Your answer is by helicopter! Yes some of the locals here have helicopters smack bang in the middle of nowhere up a mountain. I can’t imagine how it must feel if you live here and you car breaks down. Taxi perhaps?