Los Angeles, San Diego & Las Vegas

Trip Start Mar 31, 2013
Trip End Oct 14, 2013

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Where I stayed
Circus Circus Hotel & Casino Las Vegas
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Kaida Hotel Yinchuan
Read my review - 4/5 stars
USA Hostels San Diego
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Staples Center Los Angeles
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 1st:

After finally getting some decent sleep, for what felt like the first time in two days, we set out to really find out what LA had to offer.

By that I mean, get out of Holly-weird. I say this, because the night before, out worst fears about tourists safety were proven right. Dead set a couple of meters behind us, we hear a loud scream and next thing we see if two young African American boys running away into a dark alley-way, with this small Asian lady chasing after them, screaming "give my bag back!" It was a huge eye opener for us and highlighted the point made by plenty of locals to stay on the main strip (where the mugging actually happened), because the side streets are quite rough.

Anyway, we decided to book a Beverly Hills tour to show us the nice parts of LA and where some of the so called "celebrities" live. We where shown where Zac Efron (aka the Entourage House), Bruce Willis, Denzel Washington, Mark Walhberg, George Clooney, Adam Sandler, the Playboy Mansion, Danny DeVito, Snoop Lion, Dr Seuss and Dr Phil live, not to mention where Michael Jackson died, just to name a few.

After this, we were let to walk around Beverly Hills itself, where us three boys went into the Nike Store. I'm not going to lie, I definitely knew that everyone else around us was more rich then us.

Despite all this, the highlight of this whole tour was when Jay got offered drugs by our driver. This is a summary of how the conversion went down:
Driver- you boys like to get fucked up?
Jay- yeh, we love to get fucked up! (In standard Matho form)
Driver- just with alcohol or with the good stuff?
Jay- nah, just alcohol.
Driver- ohh, so not drugs?
Jay- nah, not really (while Cam and I are pissinf ourselves).

Later that afternoon, we had our first USA subway experience, and it's definitely lives up to expectation. None of our public transport can compare. So crowded and train lives going in every direction.

But none of that mattered because once we arrived at our stop, we could see the iconic Staples Center and all three of us got butterflies.
The stadium is deadset huge, as is everything inside the stadium. It even had a Maccas inside.

The game itself is such a showpiece. From DeAndre Jordan and Gerald Green throwing down 360 through the legs dunks in warm-ups, to the player introductions, everything is over the top. Once the game started, this somewhat subsided but it is still different to anything else we have in Australia. One thing is for sure, the game only reassured my belief that Blake Griffin is overrated, with him doing nothing all night, except for being David West's bitch.

Things of note:

- Im sick of being offered a cd by every wannabe or "upcoming" rapper in Hollywood, and when we say we are from Australia, somehow they are all coming out to tour out country soon...

- Tamara Ecclestone (daughter of Bernie) has the biggest house I'll ever see. All I need to say is that her garage can hold 87 cars. Yes, you heard right, 87...

- Grog is ridiculously cheap over here. We bought a 1.75L bottle of Captain Morgan for $22.

- Only in America would you see a car driving around on two wheels with its hydraulics, down the main street.

- Jay made the huge call that Jarryd Hayne is one of the worst players to ever play NRL. Such a twat...

- I've already fallen in love, with the hottie this time being our flight attendant on the way over.

- I don't know If it's me, but on every piece of public transport we have been on, there as been African American males whose soul purpose is to intimidate travelers. Lets just say, they are doing their job right...

April 2nd:

Following a pretty big night after the Clippers game, we all slept in. But once we did rise, Jay and I decided to go and wander down Sunset Boulevard. In the mean time, Cam stayed in bed, supposedly being too hungover to move. His classic quote was "well, atleast the alcohol works over here". Gees, thanks for the heads up Cam!

On our adventures, Jay and I, explored Hollywood High, where Grease and Forrest Gump were filmed, saw the set for Jimmy Kibble Live and went and dined at the recommended "In and Out Burger", or as we like to call it "the up and down, over the top, across the road, in and around the corner burger", and it didn't disappoint.

On our arrival back to the hostel, Jay and I heard the hectic news that the Lakers vs Mavs game we were going to, was also going to be the game that they retired the great Shaquille O'Neal's jersey. To say we were a little excited is an understatement.

We rocked up to the Staples Center and there was a sense of anticipation in the air. Once we collected our tickets, we explored the concourse outside the stadium, where all the statutes are, inclusion Magic Johnson, Kareem, Jerry West and Wayne Gretszky. We also checked out the Nike Store and the ESPN Zone (which was sick). But the best was yet to come.

While lining up outside waiting for the doors to open, word had spread that everyone was receiving a free Shaq jersey, playing cards and magazine. We were over the moon by this news and were all like little kids in a candy store, waiting to get our presents.

After receiving our gear and getting out obligatory photo with Kobe, we went about finding our tickets. With no luck in finding section 204, we asked an usher where these were and she replied "just head on up through the VIP area and they are up there". By now it's fair to say our minds were blown. Lakers game Shaq's jersey being retired free gear VIP section = one of the best sports game ill ever go to!

The game itself was great too. It's easy to comprehend how the Lakerd are more popular then the Clippers. Their whole performance is second to none, with the pre-game being unbelievable.

As Cam said, "we can now cross watching Kobe off our bucket lists". And the great man didn't disappoint, with him putting up the ninth triple double (23p, 11r, 11a) of his career, alongside some amazing plays. Jay also blew his load multiple times over the fact that he was watching Dirk Nowitzki in person.

To make things even better, as the Lakers held the Mavs to under 100 points (always going to happen), we all got vouchers for two free tacos!

It still hasn't sunk in yet that we were present in Staples for one of the nine nights that they have retired someone's jersey. Truly a memorable night.

Things of Note:

- the count for the amount of times Jay has been offered drugs on this trip has risen to two. This time the dealer stated "I got some fire on me bro, if you need some". I don't know what it is about Jay, but he attracting all the wrong attention at the moment.

- Cam frothed on Shaq's speech during his jersey retirement, especially when he worked the crowd and said "Can you Dig it!?!?"

April 3rd:

With last night being our last night in Hollywood, we had to wake up early and check out before 10am. This was a struggle, as it was the first time we all had to retry pack out bags. I for one think its going to get harder and harder as the trip goes on. Jay decided to go out with some pommy fellas last night, while Cam and myself rested ourselves for the hostel pub-crawl San Diego. As such, it's fair to say, Jay was an absolute anchor this morning, trying to get him out of the room on time.

Following out checkout, we made our way to Union Station to get on the Amtrak train to San Diego. On the walk, Cam and I labelled Jay as turtle man (which he will be forever know as) for the way he looked with his backpack on. Take a look for yourselves in the photos.

The Amtrak train took three hours from LA to San Diego, but was good, as it showed us a lot of the scenery that land of stars and stripes has to offer.

Once we arrived in SD, we were automatically impressed by how clean the streets were, compared to Holly-weird. Not to mention the awesome vibe around the city, which we experienced on what seemed a two hour hike from the train station to our hostel. If it wasn't for "turtle man" making us laugh the whole way, it would have been even more painful.

The hostel itself, once we arrived, is right smack in the middle of Gaslamp Quarter in SD. The architecture in the building is amazing, with it containing, as it would seem, the three steepest staircases in the world.

After moving in, we went exploring and once again (for Cam's sake), we went to another Mexican bar. We then walked around Peco Park (Home of the Padres), down along the shoreline and in and out of the unique streets.

Following our walk, we decided to pop in and watch the All-American High School Basketball game at this awesome frozen slushie bar. Classic Jay ordered the strongest one, which dead-set had a metho after taste.

We then headed back and got ready as the hostel had organized a pub crawl for all the occupants. There was about 15 people of the crawl, with most of them being boys.

The first, and best pub we went to featured dueling pianos and two artists battling it out. It really felt like you were in New Orleans, with the whole vibe of the place. The only downer on the place was that there was a dude in the bathroom that squirted soap into your hands and provided you with hand towels. Sure, it sounds great, but I don't wanna have to pay/tip to go to the bloody toilet.

We went to a couple of other pubs, including one with a mechanical bull, which we all had a turn off, including some Brisbane boys which we hung out with that night.

When the clubs finally closed, somehow Jay and I were convinced to go back the the suburbs (a good half an hour car ride) to continue partying. In the mean time, Cam made a new mexican friend (who of course was carrying a gun) and decided to smoke hookahs (flavoured tobacco) with him.

Things of Note:

- It's our fourth day here and I don't think Cam has eaten a meal that isn't Mexican. Be it burritos, nachos, tacos or plain corn chips, he's had them all. He justifies it by saying "when in Rome, do as the Romans do".

- Drug watch: After Jay raced ahead being offered drugs twice in two days in Hollywood, Cam is mounting a come back, by being offered weed in the early hours of our pub crawl throughout San Diego.

- As Jay will no doubt point out, I'm having a bit of a hard time communicating with the locals, as I'm using way too much Aussie slang. An example is when I asked our receptionist where the closest "Grog Shop" is. She gave me the blankest look in the world, as she had no idea what is was on about. After a couple of minutes trying to get my point across, she finally cottoned on and said "Oh, you mean the liquor store". I honestly used every other word to describe alcohol except liquor. I think I'm going to struggle in Europe.

- The baby faced assassin, also known as Cam, has been for asked for ID more then Jay and I have been put together.

April 4th:

After partying into the night, I had zero idea where I was when I woke up in the suburbs. This will probably be the only time I will say this, but thank chirst Jay was there. And luckily for us, the people we were with had to go back into San Diego that morning, do we just got a lift back in with them.

Upon arrival back to out hostel, we joined Cam and went back to bed till about 11am.

When we finally sorted ourselves out, Cam and I went for what we agree has been out best meal while over here. They were Chicken Quasedillas, with awesome fries, from a place called "The Tin Fish".

We then made our way down to San Diego Bay and looked at the sights. So peaceful down there, despite it being the fitness central of San Diego, with every man and his dog exercising down there.

At the end of our walk, we were lucky enough to find two outdoor basketball courts. Within a second of seeing them, we all knew we had to find a ball and play a game. So after finding a ball, we played some pick-up two on two (Jay and Cam vs Alex (some random twat Jay befriended) and me). Obviously we won, coz Jay "don't call me Matt Bonner" Mathieson was useless and kept butchering opportunities that Cam "how good is Kyle Korver" Brown was presenting him. In saying that, they had chances to win, as you would of thought the Alex fella was building a house out there, coz he was putting up so many bricks (his is philosophy was to keep throwing it harder at the ring until it went in, didn't quite work).

By the time we had taken SD basketball by storm, we needed a feed and headed to our local pub called "Whisky Girls" and watch the Dallas vs Denver game (which saw Jay nearly have a heart attack because Anthony Morrow decided to take the last shot, instead of Dirk).

Following this, Cam and I went back, regrouped and after continual bugging from Cam (as he is now a drug addict and all now), and went to a Hookah Cafe. I was a bit unsure of it all, but Cam (the seasoned druggo) said it'll be fine, and he wasn't wrong. Despite struggling to breathe after it and coughing a fair bit, I did enjoy it.

Things of Note:
- During the Nuggets/Mavs game, Jay befriended an African American guy supposedly named Marcus. As soon as he said that, Jay turned to me and said "surely he mispronounced his name wrong, because we all know that African American guys aren't called that, instead being called La-Marcus or De-Marcus". Not stereotyping at a there bro...

April 5th:

We had to be up early this morning, as we had to check out and be at Petco Park before 10am, to ensure we didn't miss out on the tour of the stadium.

The tour started about 10.30am and ran for around an hour and a half. On the tour, we were taken onto the field itself, into the dugouts, up into the press boxes and all around the stadium.

Following the tour, we all grabbed a feed, and had one on the best burgers I've ever had.

Once we were done eating, we had an hour to kill before we had to get to the airport. So the boys decided to stay at the pub, while I went out at walked down to the Seaport Village Boardwalk. Following the trend of the Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport was very chilled and has awesome views of the whole bay.

By the time we had checked in (through on of the most comprehensive customs I've ever seen), we were all pretty tired, which is evident by both Cam and Jay sleeping during the whole flight from San Diego to Las Vegas.

Upon arrival to Vegas, Jay had already dubbed it Los Jay-gas. For all of our sakes, lets hope he wins big and can shout Cam and I the whole time.

By the time we checked into Circus Circus it was about dinner time, so we just moved in, relaxed a little bit and then went out and grabbed a feed inside the Circus Circus.

Following this, Vegas Jarry (as he shall be known for this part of the story) went to try and will in the tables. In the mean time, Cam and I went to the TAB or sports book (as they call it here) and placed some bets on the NCAA and NBA.

We then joined Jarry on the tables, by playing roulette. I was nearly out of my chips, so I placed all that I had left on 29 and my lucky birthday coming through, with me ending up doubling my money, by the time we left.

What followed is just pure stupidity by me (as my Nonni likes to point out). In the half an hour between leaving Circus, catching a cab and then arriving to MGM, I somehow lost my passport, which was a massive neg (to say the least).

But lucky for me (but not my bank account), the boys convinced me that there was nothing I could do about I now and that we are in Vegas!
Nek minit, we are leaving the Casino when the sun is up. As a result Cam and I headed to our complimentary brekky before we went to bed (which unfortunately would become a regular occurrence).

Things of Note:
- playgrounds in San Diego were in cages, which resembled a gaol.
- Cort vs Jay round two occurred on the way home, with my shirt being the main victim of it all.
- None of us still have any idea about crossings over here and who has right of way at each intersection.

April 6th:

Once we all finally arose, we decided to walk the strip in the day time and compare it to the night before.

People who had advised me about how bad the strip was at day time, couldn't have been more spot on. The whole place was dirty, not to mention all three of us nearly melting on the long walk into town (such a dry heat).

Some of the casinos that really appealed to me included Treasure Island, the Bellagio and of course Caesars Palace (which quite possibly had the best sports book I have ever seen). Due to this, we decided to watch the NCAA semis there and the atmosphere was awesome, especially in the Michigan vs Syracuse game, where there was a large crowd support for the Wolverines.

Following the matches and the collection of winnings, we went and watched the world famous Bellagio water show, before heading home and getting ready for the night ahead.

Something that also became a regular thing, was us not heading out till after 12am, which inevitably led to us getting home at ridiculous hours.

Things of Note:
- After ringing every Taxi company in Vegas (whose reception is stupidity closed on weekends, which didn't help me case at all), as well as the MGM and Circus Circus, I had no choice put to call the cops and get a police report, so I could fly to San Fran.

April 7th:

After again waking up late, I decided to finally do some clothes washing (something neither of the other boys have done yet) as I desperately need clean clothes.

After doing all of that, the boys finally arose and then we decided to head to the factory outlets. With over 150 shops there, we had plenty of choice, which was evident by both Cam and Jay buying completely new outfits (most notably was Jarry buying chinos, something he had been bagging Cam and I out for the whole trip).
Thankfully, I didn't go him empty handed, with me finally buying a new pair of Vans, as the old pair were looking a bit worse for wear.

By the time we got home, we needed to start getting ready for one final night out at the MGM, which were also hosting the American Country Music Awards that night. In otherwords, the whole Casino was packed with hillbillies and rednecks.

This was so obvious when we walked in to buy a drink and we dead set were copping looks from every direction, with must mumbling that we either looked "European" or "Homosexual".

The way we accommodated this was by convincing everyone there that Jarry's father was friends with Keith Urban and that we all knew him. As a result, we quickly become some of the most popular people in the bar.

Once again, we arrived home after the sun had risen (was so off it!)

Things of Note:

- I can safely say, I was definitely up in terms of betting on roulette and sports matches (despite America having some of the dumbest sports betting systems I've ever seen). However, it didn't stop me winning my first and only ever Parlay bet.

April 8th:

Our last day in Vegas, so we really wanted to try and make the most of it. These included going in our casinos very own indoor amusement park, which has the worlds only indoor rollercoaster.

We then returned to Caesars Palace to watch the NCAA Championship Game, between Liousville and Michigan. The atmosphere inside the Casino was unbelievable and something I doubt I'll ever experience in Australia. Liousville won the game, much to the displeasure of the crowd in Vegas.

Following the game, Cam and myself started to clean our room and decided to have a quiet night in and finally get some sleep, as we had to be at the airport around 9am.

But is classic Vegas Jarry form, Jay decided to go out solo and chase tail (something that had become a regular occurrence on the trip so far, but does that surprise anyone really?).

Things of Note:

- Supposedly Taxi drivers don't accept coins for fares, with one we trying to pay with coins, losing his shit (mainly at me). This made us think "what the hell is the point of coins, if no one else accepts them!"

- In Vegas, Jarry has been told numerous times that he looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo, while I have been called Harry Styles a few times.

April 9th:

Both Cam and I get woken up by Jarry arriving home at 730am, and because we couldn't get back to sleep, we headed to our free Brekky.

Upon arrival back to the room, Jarry was sill in bed and this it when it first dawned on us that we were gonna be late to the airport.

By the time we got in the cab to the airport, it was after 830am and therefore, we didn't arrive to the airport till right on 9 (which was really pushing it).

This meant by check in time, our flight had closed and we were worrying that we might have had to buy a new flight. Lucky for us, the girl on the desk transferred us to a later flight for no extra charge (but this has made us realize that planes and us three aren't mixing at the moment).

In a way, us being out on a later flight was a blessing in disguise for me, as I had to be thoroughly put through customs, as I didn't have a passport yet.

By the time we landed in San Francisco, it was just after 12pm.

- Cities Power Rankings:
1. San Diego: awesome chilled out city, that I would have no problem living in

2. Vegas: like nothing you will experience at night time. Completely over the top, and perfectly optimizes the whole American way of thinking. During the day, the town is just plain dirty.

3. Hollywood: nothing like you would expect. It's dirty, full of people trying to sell you stuff and you generally don't feel safe. Beverly Hills one the hand is great.

That concludes this blog. The next one will include a week in San Fran and Venice Beach. Hope you guys like this one and continue to read them in the future.

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