FrawleyFest and my US Adventure: Part III LA weddi

Trip Start Aug 18, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, May 28, 2012

So with eyes set firmly on the wedding shenanigans, and more guests arriving during the week from other corners of the globe, us Vegas trendsetters met up with the group that had hit San Francisco the same weekend with Gustav, Laura and Fiona being introduced to the rest of the group. The Sunday we had travelled back from Vegas was also the day that most of Micks family had arrived from Australia. On the Monday we moved into the house share, designated rooms and became acquainted over some beers and baseball in the evening. The house was ideally situated only a few minutes from the local grocery store, the main strips (not clubs but those too, with Girls Girls Girls (the name by which a famous rock band had penned and filmed their hit song's music video literally around the corner) and of course plenty of fast food options. The house was great too with a small garden, and enough room for the 8 of us who would be sharing it, I bunked down in the lounge near the massive TV with its endless supply of US TV channels! Monday night, as I just mentioned, was baseball night and a big group of us headed over to see the LA Dodgers play, a first for most of us out of towners. The stadium is well hidden and has a great vantage point over the LA city skyline, and although it wasn’t crowded, there was a decent turnout (considering how many games the teams play I’m surprised anyone turns up on a Monday). Some of the group purchased the blue LA Dodgers caps, while pretty much all of us did buy beers (which resulted in some silly ID verifications to check ages, meaning we had to cheat the system so we could all have beers, as they would only accept passports to confirm ages!). Anyways once that was dealt with we headed for the obligatory baseball hot dogs and took our seats on the cool chilled night. The game was decent enough, with those who understand the game within the group passing on their wisdom and in the end LA got their win. We headed back to our party house for more beers and at a decent hour called it a night.

Tuesday was a far more chilled affair; with different people heading off in different directions to either take in Disneyland, Palm Springs or other such attractions. I did some grocery shopping, normal food like cereal and fruits and of course a sneaky doughnut, US size. The shop was located right near the Tattoo shop and art store belonging to Kat Von D of the Miami/LA Ink series fame. I also spent a good few hours channel surfing which literally can take hours!

The rest of the week consisted of a mish-mash of loads more brunches and dinners and greeting more faces and names to those who can come from within the US and farther afield. On the Wednesday, I think, a few of us headed for some sneaky beers back at 504 bar, with the happy hour specials getting the better of a few people before a mass group-scheduled meeting at a English pub themed place. We had a drink or two and then made our way back to the 504 bar with more cheap drinks, funny photos and the following morning, sore heads. Thursday or Friday was spent on Santa Monica pier and the main walk to Venice Beach. It also saw the arrival of Tamara from Australia (another housemate) and the wedding group running through their rehearsals. We all met up for a couple drinks and headed back to LA, enjoyed some infamous LA traffic and in the evening a small group of us headed to a gig about 30 minutes away to see The Flatliners play in an all ages, non-alcohol show. Odd to say the least but fun, especially when the one moron trying to purposefully hurt people in the circle pit get told off by a Mohican wearing punk femme fatale and obeying.

I can’t remember on which day we did which, but we had brunches at an awesome café with the world’s most amazing looking cakes, some of which we were treated to for free, with Julie the guest of honour (I think this was pre Santa Monica on the Thursday). Another late morning/early afternoon (I think on Friday) was spent at Saddle Ranch, a bar featuring a proper mechanical bull, which some of us attempted  to ride on and failed on, me included. The brunch also featured endless mimosas and Bloody Marys, for the cheap price of $10! The meals as ever were in crazy sized portions and were followed with complimentary massive bowls of blue candy floss! At some point during the week our final house guest Kate arrived (Thursday?). Some of the girls went shopping in Melrose and Beverly Hills I think, the guys sampled cigars at the party house and general awesomeness was had for sure. On the Friday night we all headed to a very stereotypical college type sports bar called Wangs, with semi to stunningly attractive midriff baring hosts, cheap beers and on the weekend $25C chicken wings- crazy! We also had a massive group and dominated the Beer Pong tables for some time, with nationalities and alliances teaming up against each other; Gustav and I representing South Africa and despite dominating a game, called a draw with our more practised Canadian/US opponents. A very fun place. Some of us ended up staying out- heading back to 504 bar and going to Shawns (the Louisianan) place for beers and a hot tub underneath citrus trees, sharing stories till the sun came up!

Saturday didn’t exactly ease up, most of us doing any last minute wedding shopping and preparedness with the sunny weather coming to the party too after a few cloudy and cooler days. Did I mention that the 504 bar I so much love had a deal in which any day that it rains, they have happy hour prices all day- amazing!? In the later afternoon and through the evening, family of Julie’s had invited everyone around for a BBQ of epic proportions. So much food, seriously, we ended up taking enough food and deserts home to feed a small town afterwards! The house they were renting was really nice and with a great deck and Jacuzzi (which sadly we didn’t use on this occasion). As the night progressed and we all became steadily stuffed with food and beer from the keg which had been organised, peer pressure and American drinking games came to the fore, with battles of flip cup and eventually keg-stands all around to loud chants from the rest of us (even the (re-)bride to be, Julie, bravely participated despite the dangers of potentially being dropped which would have  resulted in black eyes ruining her wedding day! As the keg was running out, noise complaints came in from the neighbours with warning of the police’s imminent arrival unless we called the party over, which was ironic as the week was on the eve of the 20 year anniversary of the LA riots  (Remember Rodney King etc.) They were stuck up neighbours I assume, as it was not nearly late, any way Laura finished off the keg, upside down to a near silent hushed chants from the group. What a week, with the main event only one sleep away.

Sunday morning was a household of relative calm as everyone glammed up and made themselves presentable for the wedding.  We were being picked up in the early afternoon by a shuttle which already had a few guests on board and made a couple more stops along the way. The roadies (beers for the road) were quickly finished and after some slight stress and confusion at the risk of running late for the beach wedding, we made it just in time to take our seats or standing positions as other beach-goers watched in anticipation. As a dashing Mick and his well-suited dapper groomsman stood waiting, the bridal party’s arrival was announced with the flower bearing children coming down towards the aisle and ceremoniously dumping the whole supply of flowers in one spot on the sand; got to love those kids. The bridesmaids followed, all looking beautiful of course and then Julie accompanied by her dad made her entrance, looking stunning, excited and possibly relieved that all the hard work had come together. The ceremony, with the couple’s individual vows read  aloud, was succinct and promptly celebrated with the union and kiss and applause from the crowd. As the wedding party took photos on the beach the rest of guests were transferred through the hills of Malibu to the reception area which looked truly magical.

I was fortunate to be seated right at the front with a table of friends, near the bride and groom and their respective bridesmaids and groomsmen, and we had a ball. The food that was bought out and was fantastic and the task of trying to empty the bar of their beers a near success, the speeches were sincere and emotional, the nerves palpable but all in all a fantastic night. Once the formalities were completed the dancing and music took centre stage (well not from me, you know me better). But Gustav and I did sing loud and proud to Toto’s "Africa" while the Australian guests did the same to “Land Down Under”. As the night drew to a close, we sneaked what bottles we could of unfinished wine and sparkling wine onto the shuttle bus before bidding adieu to the married couple through a spider web of confetti.

The drive back to LA, pretty much signalled the end of a great week and as people turned to slumber, we bid goodbyes to each other and I prepared myself for my flight to San Francisco the following morning. Thanks Julie and Mick and sadly a realisation this is probably the last time this entire group of people would be together under one roof to party.

Next stop San Francisco.
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