Aaand, I'm back~
I'm still trying to go through everything on all my sites, so bare with me. I've gotten through most of my deviantART posts and such, but we just got back a few hours ago and my brain's scrambled and my hair's a mess (which makes my brain even more scrambled), and this post may or may not be created over the course of tonight and tomorrow; there's no telling. Also, I may not remember the names of some of the streets or restaurants we went to. I apologize for this, and I may not end up coming back to edit this, but I'm going to try my best. Anyways, on to the blogging~
I had decided to skip sleeping Friday night since we had to be by the airport by 4am and such, and I could go on into complaining about everything I didn't like about the flight and such, but I won't because I know you don't want to read about that. Plus, I fell asleep on the second flight (the 5-hour one; couldn't get comfortable on the first 1-hour one).
So we arrived in LA around...I don't quite remember, but it was pretty early, especially considering California's at least 2 hours behind Arkansas. Anyways, we drove to our hotel, which was extremely nice. After settling everything in, we walked down to and through the 3rd Street Promenade, my mom and my brother's girlfriend pointing out all the shops they wanted to go into the next day (our shopping day). We walked all the way to the Pier and had lunch at The Lobster, which was amazing. Afterwards, we walked all the way to Venice Beach (which was a hike and a half) and walked up the boardwalk, looking at all the venders and such. I got a pair of goggles that doubled as sunglasses and had gelato for the first time. Everyone else got a few souvenirs of their own, and by the time we reached the end, we decided we weren't willing to walk all the way back and took a cab.
We spent a little while longer at the Pier before heading back. I was less than comfortable because since I'm not extremely active all the walking took it's toll on my feet, and I got a really bad pain in my leg. But, when we got back to the hotel I soaked in a hot bath, washed my hair, watched a little TV with everyone downstairs and went straight to bed.
We woke up and packed up the car so we could check out of the hotel, but went down the 3rd Street Promenade to do some shopping. We split off into two groups: my mom and my brother's girlfriend went straight to the stores, and me, my brother, and my dad went off to find breakfast. I wasn't extremely hungry, but I know I needed to eat more than I had by that point. Plus, I didn't want to get stuck at clothing stores with them. So, we went to Wolfgang Puck's and it was really good.
A few stops here and there and we finally made it to...I guess it could be called the "center", if I can, and I dragged them up to the Disney Store with me (well, maybe not "drag" them, but I let them know early on that it was my main goal for the shopping trip). I was a bit disappointed because there wasn't a whole lot of Classic Disney. There was a lot of Cars and Tangled merchandise, which was fine, but still...There was also more Disney Princess and I like them, but I'm really more Lion King and all the other animal movies and such. I know I wanted to get something from there, but it took me a long time to decide. I tried to stay away from stuffed animals because I realize that I have way too many of them. There was this special Princess collection merchandise in the back of the store I wouldn't have minded getting something from, but they only had 4 of the princesses, none of which I would consider my "favorites" (I don't hate any of them, but how can you not have Ariel?). Plus, the charm necklaces alone were $40, and just a small charm was $15. It was apparently a really special collection, though, because it's only being sold in 4 stores across the US. I stayed in there for quite awhile trying to decide, and I actually found an Alice in Wonderland teacup that was hidden on a bottom shelf. So I got that and a Marie (from the Aristocats) plush (yeah, I'm bad; it was a small plush, though).
The boys had left me to go find somewhere to sit down a good while before I checked out, so I went to go find them, and when my dad came back from the bathroom he told me he found the tokidoki store, so I had to run in there. It was again a situation of I wanted something from there, but I wasn't about to pay $40 for a t-shirt, so I ended up just getting a blindbox unicorn and a blindbox cellphone strap.
After there we went to Rodeo Drive to browse around. We picked a few cupcakes up from Sprinkles (delicious, and we got a box worth, but none of us were really in the mood for that kinda sweetness over the course of the week, so a few of them went stale). We also walked into the designer stores to browse. Really not my thing, but my mom and brother's girlfriend really enjoyed it. I wasn't too happy with having to stop into a store every few feet because there's something really smug about designer clothes that I don't like. I don't mind having to pay a decent amount for nice clothes, but the prices for designer names are just ridiculous in my opinion.
After we gathered everyone back together we drove over to Valencia at our hotel near Six Flags before heading off to lunch/dinner at Spumoni's (yummy) and then to Wal*Mart (yes, we went to the Wal*Mart in LA) to gather up drinks and such for the rest of the week.
We got up early so we could be at Six Flags when the gates opened. Our first ride of the day was the X2, and after spending quite awhile in line for that one, we decided to get Flash Passes for the rest of the day. By the way, that's the way to do it unless you're planning to ride it twice. We didn't know this, but apparently the X2 is the most popular ride at the park, and the only way to get a good place in line is to race to it as soon as the gates open like we did because the line won't get any shorter throughout the day, and it costs an extra $15 to put it on the Flash Pass.
We basically spent the entire day racing from coaster to coaster and we rode pretty much all of them, with the exception of Batman, which was down for maintenance, and the smaller ones. I think we got to riding around 12 or 13 in all. I think Superman won majority vote for favorite ride (totally worth the wait [even with the passes there's still a wait point]); it was actually the one I was most afraid to ride because it goes up really high and I'm terrified of heights (so anything that takes time for you to register just how high up you really are really freaks me out), but it goes so quickly and the view you do get is amazing.
Nothing special happened after we left. We got fast food for dinner, soaked sore feet in hot baths, tended to blisters, all that such.
Packed up the car again so we could head out at that night before heading to Six Flags again. Apparently it was a field trip day for some high school students, so on the tram from parking to the entrance I got a near-painful reminder of why I hated high school so much.
We followed the same route we did yesterday in that we hit the X2 before doing anything else. The line went a bit slower because they had to take test-runs as opposed to yesterday which I guess they did before the park opened. I was ready to hurt the girls behind me for being obnoxious and bumping into me and such.
We decided that since we got to all the coasters yesterday, we didn't get Flash Passes. Instead we decided to do things like the carnival games and the water rides, which we bought ponchos for. It was an extremely good idea because we didn't wet (a pant leg or two may have suffered, but there's only so much a poncho could do), and people were passing us talking about how smart we (and by 'we' I guess they meant 'my dad') were. A word of advice, be extremely careful if you have to go down stairs to get on or off a water ride, though. I ended up slipping and busting my bottom exiting one.
During the carnival games, my dad showed off his skills from when he used to work at an arcade and won 3 out of 4 times at Skee Ball, so me, my mom, and my brother's girlfriend each got a Road Runner, Taz, and Tweetie Bird plush from Baby Looney Toons respectively.
Over the past two days I ended up riding all the rides anyone went on, with the exception of the end of Tuesday when we were heading back to the entrance and my brother decided he wanted to ride the Viper one last time. I was just suddenly in an extreme amount of pain from my back and I don't know whether it was from all the walking, shockwave from when I landed on my butt, or if it was the last ride I rode that did it, but I figured I just couldn't stand to be in line or maybe even handle another ride so I stayed back.
I did end up going to the gift shop and got a Pussyfoot (you know the little cat that was friends with the big dog that protected in in Looney Toons?) bag and cup, a Flash cape (very nifty), and a Batman mood necklace.
Then we headed over to our hotel near Universal Studios. My brother and his girlfriend wanted to have dinner at Hard Rock Cafe at the plaza and it was within walking distance, so we decided to...well, walk there. It wouldn't have been a bad walk, but you remember that back pain I mentioned earlier? It had greatly escalated over the course of the walk. I hate to sound whiney, but I honestly think I was close to throwing up from the pain by the time we got there. Luckily we had gotten a lot of painkillers, so I took a few of those, and we also brought patches since my dad and brother typically have back pain, so my mom put one on me in the bathroom and that seemed to help, as well as being able to sit down for quite awhile. We went into some of the shops, some of which were extremely cool, but it didn't take very long for the back pain to come back, so I didn't get near as much browsing as I would've wanted.
Eventually we made it back to the hotel and I rested my back in a hot bath before going to bed.
We woke up early and packed the car again so we could head over to San Diego that night.
Universal Studios didn't open until a little bit later from when we woke up, so we went to find breakfast at the plaza again. Not many of the stores were even opened, but we got a few pastries from Starbucks and my mom and I ran into the Universal store at the end. I ended up seeing a Puss in Boots (from the Shrek series) plushie, and it was him doing his cute "big-eyed, hat holding" pose, but it was a little expensive and I knew we were gonna come back to the plaza after we were done with Universal, so I was gonna think about it before purchasing.
We got into the front of the park after awhile, but we weren't allowed into the rest of it until actual time. But we chatted with this guy dressed up as a security guard (like a character security guard, not an actual one). The first thing we did when the park opened was, technically get our fast passes, but we did the Studio Tour and that was really fun and I highly recommend it. But it was a combination of that and the Jurassic Park ride that I realized I'm terrified of dinosaurs (at least the carnivorous ones like the raptors and the T-Rex; the herbivores are kinda cool to me [the "long necks" are my favorite])(and from the tour alone I realized how scared I am of sharks) and that my toosh was still a bit sore from the day before. But, we rode all that we can and saw all the shows that we could, with the exception of House of Horrors because of a time-crunch, but I didn't mind particularly much because I'm a huge scaredy-cat and it probably would've terrified me easily. I ended up getting my mom a bear and some mints based on the show I Love Lucy, which used to be her favorite show. I also saw the same Puss in Boots doll in a store inside the park, but the more I looked at it, it seemed a little googly-eyed and creepy. It was cute in the movie, which was why I wanted it, but when you really looked at the doll itself, it looked a bit weird, so I decided against it.
We went back to the plaza for a bit more shopping, and I ended up getting a bit of candy from It's Sugar, before having dinner at Wolfgang Puck's. It was really good, but I was tired and my back was still acting up so I wasn't feeling well. We ran in and out of shops for a good while. We went into the Universal store again just to look and, when we were in the park I was disappointed about the Jurassic Park store not having any "long neck" stuff, but I saw a stuffed animal of one inside the plaza store. Unfortunately, it was pretty expensive, and I already told you about my dilemma with plushies (so I really wanted it, I just wasn't sure if it would be a good idea). There was also a store next to it that was I think from Dark Horse Comics (I can't remember the exact name of the store), and it was really cool. They actually had Gundam Wing models for sale, but it was still a bit too expensive from what I was willing to spend (remember I'm going to Akon in a month, so I had to think about that), but it was still cool to look at everything.
Eventually we went to our hotel in San Diego close to Balboa Park. We were a bit upset with it because we were having trouble with the elevator and there was no refrigerator for us to store our leftover food (we know it just happens with some hotels, but still, after the elevator we weren't very happy with them to begin with). On top of that, there was apparently a hot water cut-off at a certain time, so for me and my mom, our baths weren't near as hot as we wanted it to help with our sore feet and backs.
But, I eventually fell asleep while my dad watched Man vs Food.
Once again, we woke up early, but we didn't have to pack up the car because we were gonna stay there for another night. And, according to my dad, the water in the bathroom does get really hot, but won't at night for some reason. But, we went to the zoo early before it opened.
My dad ended up getting us special Backstage passes and a tour around the zoo. It ended up helping a lot since the zoo was really big, and we even got to see some animals closer that we would have normally, like the lions and koalas and such (a koala actually bellowed at us, which is apparently really rare (at least to the visitors) [and they kinda sound like pigs or hogs when they do it; it's hard to describe, it was really cool]). We also learned a whole lot of information from our guide along the tour.
We ended up having lunch and I realized just how badly I was getting sun burned. I had put on sun block the first few days, but I got a little cocky and decided to skip, and, as a result, my ears and nose were getting really burned, so I ran into one of the gift shops and got some sun block. It wasn't the best, but it helped sooth my ears.
We went to the Backstage show and got to do things like feed and pet rhinos and kangaroos, which was extremely fun. At the end of the day, I got my mom a peacock plush since they're her favorite animals.
We left the zoo to go find dinner, and my dad and brother were dead-set on finding a restaurant with a beach view and spent an hour and a half trying to find one (no exaggeration; I'm being totally serious), but we ended up eating at Red Lobster (I got some crab linguini that I couldn't shovel down fast enough).
Then we went back to the hotel and we hoped the hot water would powerful for awhile longer so we could have a hotter bath than the night before, but we did not get our wish, unfortunately.
Woke up early, again, to pack the car and such.
We had breakfast at the Broken Yolk cafe, and that was really good (honestly, it was a lot better than we were expecting [not that our expectations were low, but you understand]). My dad and brother dropped us girls off at Seaport Village while they went to the USS Midway (we could've gone, but it was one a ship with a lot of layout that we wouldn't have enjoyed climbing through). I ended up getting a fedora to protect the part in my hair and my ears from sunburn.
We ended up shopping around in some nifty places. There was a whole bunch of cool stuff I wouldn't have minded getting, but it was another situation where everything cost more than I was willing to pay for it.
But, once the boys were done we headed back up to LA so my brother's girlfriend could get her tattoo at High Voltage. I took a nap on the way because I was extremely tired. We were on a bit of a time crunch, so we dropped them off and went to the hotel to sort things out. We then walked all the way down to Pink's for lunch before heading back to the parlor. Mom and I ran into Wonderland, Kat von D's gallery, and I got a little fake bird to clip onto my hat. They had just finished up her tattoo by the time we got back, so afterwards we headed back to the hotel again.
We rested for a bit and discovered that we had about 70 channels on the TV and yet only about 20 were in English, so it was hard to decide. We ended up watching infomercials. They wanted to go to the Walk of Fame and such, but I was just so tired I decided to stay back and ended up falling asleep pretty soon after they left, and slept through the night.
Packed the car again and headed off to the airport. We got in a bit early, so we had "breakfast" at California Pizza Kitchen. There was an I Love LA store that my mom and I ended up running in, and I got a magnet and some Disney Princess playing cards. I tried to sleep on the plane, but I couldn't get comfortable. On the second flight, which was much shorter, I listened to my iPod a bit.
But, we got home late last night and had to tend to the animals (at least White Kitty, who was expressing her complete anger at us for our disappearance). I tried to check all my stuff, but I'm still a bit behind, and due to jet lag and such, I'm having a bit of trouble staying motivated to get through it, but I'll get it done, I promise.
Also, I know everything's a bit vague, but I know I have the tendency to ramble and I didn't want to spoil the experience for anyone who might be planning to go later.