Off to LA. It´s 7 am, 20th of November 2017. I am at Munich Airport and it´s accordingly cold. But against one´s expectations I like it (this may be due to my new Winterjacket, or just that I have nothing against cold winter days in general). Anyhow I am on my way, off to a new adventure. And the start of it is sitting right in front of me already – at the Check In desk of Norwegian Air. The very young lady is asking for a return ticket. A ticket out of the United states. As a proof that I am not intending to stay longer than my ESTA visa allows or even less, MOVE to the United States of America without governmental allowance.
Do they know, tickets can be cancelled nowadays? Refunded? Ignored? bought with open return or simply booked and not used? – I don´t think they do, but I do know that I have not booked a return flight, nor a ticket out of the states because I like to keep it spontaneous. Not a reason to discuss for Norwegian Air. I´ve got ten minutes left to book a return flight before the check in desk closes and I spontaneously have to stay in my – all of a sudden – not so much beloved cold anymore.
Booking confirmed. Checked in. Ticket cancelled.
It´s 7 pm now. Still the 20th of November though. Pretty cool ha? Made it to LA in just a day and didn’t spend too much dollars on the plane ticket either… Norwegian flies cheap, which means 12 hours without food and drinks. (I did not know that and I therefore wasn´t prepared). So unless you´re willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money for an un-toasted, half frozen ham & cheese sandwich (8,50$) and 500ml of water (3$) and blankets (5$ each) you have to starve and freeze. I´m afraid, in 12 hours on a Norwegian Air plane and these prices, you can easily spend enough money, you could have paid for Business class with Lufthansa.
But hey, ‚someones gotta pay for our flights fuel!‘ I thought selflessly and spoiled myself with the aforementioned sandwich and a few sips of water. Then, 4 Movies, a couple hours of sleep and 4 more hours of work later I found myself in LA. Rental Car, AirBnB, Netflix and chill. #atravelerskindalife
At the Immigration – where I would have expected it the most – no one cared about the return ticket I was forced to buy.
But hey! My Boards made it safe and sound to the ground (good job norwegian air!)! Good Job!
LA from a (city) – Surfer´s point of view
I absolutely love early sunrises! At 6 am I am wide awake and watching the sunrise behind the Skyline of Downtown LA. (No, I am not staying close to the beaches, I am not financially rich). But I´m headed Beach ways now. Manhattan Beach ways.
Driving through Downtown LA I am loving the Big city life again. But that´s because I am in a car, moving forward, direction out of the city center… It´s that kinda love you feel being reminded of a great time you´re missing but would not want to go back to. (Munich, you were so good to me during University.)
Arrived. It´s flat. Ok keep calm. Think! Magicseaweed. Windguru. Indosurflife. (wait what?!) I´m not in Indo… Now, I am panicking for a second or two. I try to acclimatize and manage to remain as calm as the ocean is showing itself. Fine, I am not yet in Hawaii and it does not always have to be pumping to be a fun surf. I was going to meet a friend to surf with her and so I will do. She´s out there surfing with her boyfriend already and every once in a while there´s a surfable something coming through. Always better than any break back home. (Cause there are none). Manhattan beach is a good beach for some winter riding. It takes care of large swells and can close out fast when it´s bigger. After our little paddle out, my friend whose boyfriend is local to LA, suggests me to go and check out Malibu beach. A piece of Surf-history, so off I go.
Malibu Beach I First Point
I take the freeway along the coastline and it seems I am followed by dolphins. Ok, now that clearly is some serious distraction. Worse and way better than any message, your phone could provide while driving at the same time. This is simply amazing.
It´s pretty impossible to talk about surfing in LA without mentioning Malibu Beach. THE iconic Surfrider beach is practically where LA´s surfing culture was born. A long long long peeling right-hander with ideal winds most time of the year. I would say, this is where the most famous Nose-riding Pics have been taken… But today, its flat.
Hermosa Beach I LA´s Canggu
Some of the Area´s best beaches and therefore one of the hippest. Best to surf in fall and Winter. Don´t forget your wetsuit – it can be a little colder here than elsewhere in LA. Great food around and really nice, down to earth place to spend a day or too.
Trestles I San Clemente
Yeah I know it´s not LA anymore but it´s a MUST MENTION -for me- cause it´s my absolute favorite. The most magical place out of all in Southern Cal. Been to Trestles twice on my 4 day trip. I guess that says it all. (Ok one time was just a photoshoot, no surf. But still, no better location than Trestles). Best Waves, best vibes, best beach and the area is as surfy as it can get. Just a bit sharky at the moment, so keep your eyes open.
T-Street I San Clemente
If Trestles local crowd gets your nerves, head over to T-street. A beachie that can get a little heavy on the bigger days but it still is a doable wave and heaps of fun.
A must surf. If you follow the Tour you know this one for sure! Home of the US-open of surfing, Huntington is another great piece of LA´s history of Surfing. A ton of Surf shops, outlets and surf-sales decorate the main street. Not to mention the appealing surf scenery and the surf itself. A perfect spot!
The American Dream and me
Los Angeles in general is such an amazing City. I love surfing around town and heading back into the city afterwards. For those who say America hasn´t got a culture, well, maybe not the one you live in but surely the States have a strong and beautiful culture of surfing.
One cliché that actually turned out not to be just a cliché, but the shocking truth instead, is the expectations many Americans have on healthy food. Here´s just one example out of possibly 10 more I could give you from only this trip…
Me, to the cashier guy at a Surfshop in huntington beach: „Excuse me, do you know of somewhere I can get healthy food around here? No fast food, maybe a salad bowl or some veggies? ( I asked this, only because such things are actually really hard to find and I had a hard time finding a place other than maccas or jacks.) The guys answer was: Oh yeah sure, Pete´s Burritos. It´s a mexican. Just two blocks from here.
Daaaanngg. A mexican, really? I thought I made myself pretty clear of what I wanted and the guy answered promptly, so I kinda convinced myself that it really could be a healthy burrito shop, so I walked there. And surprise, surprise – it was a mexican food chain and nothing but greasy.
I ended up buying a ‚Dole‘ Banana from Starbucks for 1$. Yes, from Starbucks. And yes I spent a dollar on a banana. A Dole-Banana. Not exactly what I would have actually considered as a better option in a non-starving state but I didn´t really know what else to do or where to go? I mean what do you do if even Trip adviser can´t give another advice than Mc Donalds, Burger, Pizza, Taco Bell, Jacks, Wendys or Subway?!
My daily breakfast routine resulted in a package of muesli I bought at an organic somewhat healthy shop (Whole foods?!) and Papayas of the same. For lunch I lived of Starbucks’ Banana Bread and in the Evening I tried getting special offer superfood salads of that before mentioned super organic whole greens shop. (Sh** expensive!!!)
Another thing that really got me thinking about the definition of the American dream where all the homeless people. One day I went into the one and only shop America buys coffee at – Starbucks – (this is not a Starbucks sponsored post!) and next to me a really old man, probably around 80 years old, parked next to me. His little Honda car was full of stuff – Boxes, Clothes, file folders etc. Almost no room to drive it safely. I thought he must be moving houses and immediately started wondering if he was going to do that on his own?! I didn´t have much planned for the day as it was Thanksgiving and a Holiday (Shops closed, Surf flat), so I walked over to him, introduced myself and offered my help. He looked at me and explained that the little Honda car stuffed with stuff was his actual home. I wanted to cry. Help him, get him a home and someone to care about him. Once again I did not know what to do. I couldn´t help him.
Just like in every other country, there are also things in the US I do not understand. Cultural differences, political decisions and environmental habits. I mean what´s the point of replacing plastic bags with paper bags?
A man, when he walked out of a grocery shop mourned „ah I miss plastic bags.“ Yes. Paper bags don’t hold much and you can throw them away after you used them just once. I don’t want to go deeper in the details here, I think we all know it´s more or less the same amount of waste and harm produced wether its plastic or recycelt paper. Paper just looks a little healthier.
Another man at the airport mourned about his suitcase not following him around like a robot could do or Alexa would try doing fulfilling every wish… I mean, yeah I would totally support this invention! How awesome would a remote controlled suitcase be? Honestly! And where else than in the US could you imagine such an invention being made? – I just hope this happens soon.
However, It is as I said – not always do I understand the reason why. For me personally such a thing as an American dream does not exist. To me, America is a country I enjoy traveling to, I like the places, culture and the people in their very own and special way. But never is America a place I would want to live in or actually think of as a ‚dream‘. To me, the states are more of an illusion of a dream. Not even close to perfect. But perfection has no charm anyway…
Bye LA – Aloha Hawaii