In the beginning of March, my partner and I set off for our first ever visit to the US. We would stay with Nicole, the friend I wrote about in another post, for a week.
The flight was to take around 11h and we’d arrive at LAX about 4h later than we’d set off in London. Ah, time travel.
It’s been a few years since I’ve done any long haul flights, and this experience was actually quite surprisingly pleasant – gone is the giant TV screen at the front of the plane that makes everyone watch the same thing (whether they want to or not), now replaced by personal tablets on the front of each seat. I had films, series, audiobooks and music to enjoy, and I’ll admit I didn’t even quite feel time passing by as I watched this season’s The Big Bang Theory and a couple of very recent films. Thumbs up for New Zealand Airlines!
Not the best quality photo, but I just had to share the fibre loveliness in Nicole’s couch when we arrived. This is all hand dyed by herself, and I’m curious – do you also feel like jumping in?
We saw some yarn bombing on our way to a lovely Cuban restaurant. I wonder if the bench was painted to suit the yarns, or the other way around.
Nicole’s husband Martin works at Blizzard, a famous international gaming company responsible for World of Warcraft. We got to visit and see some pretty sculptures (come on, would you dare call this guy ugly to his face?!)
Although most of our journey wasn’t based in LA proper, we did manage to drive there and stay overnight with friends. Since we’re all metal heads, a visit to Sunset Strip was mandatory, particularly Rainbow Bar & Grill, in honour of Motorhead’s departed Lemmy. The pizza there was pretty decent and I got to spot a fair share of musicians, and even see my first ever Sugar Daddy Sponsorship poster in the bathroom (if you’ve never seen one, it’s an advertisement aimed at young females looking for older men to give them money in exchange for er… their time and admiration.)
The very next morning we went to Hollywood Boulevard. Honestly, it looks much better in television than in real life – I was rather disappointed by it, but had to take the mandatory tourist photo.
When I as an European think of all the things that make up the US, religion has got to be one of them. I got to see two groups in LA hellbent (teehee) in converting all sinners. No one seemed to be paying much attention to them, though.
On Saturday we went to Musink, an annual festival initially created by Kat Von D and Oliver Peck, two tattoo artists you might be familiar with if you ever watched Miami Ink or LA Ink.
Musink combines a tattoo convention with concerts, to perhaps join the best of two worlds. I’m not too convinced this was true this year because the music headlining really wasn’t to my liking, and I was at this point recovering from a nasty flu I got after leaving LA, so I’ll admit I was grumpy. The food was also horrid – California is known for its health freaks, but here we could only find fried, non-veggie options. My slice of hell.
One of the things I really enjoyed about California was how most people were really friendly. Say hello to someone and they’ll say it back with a smile. It was no different at Musink.
After walking around for a while, I came across one of the best known names in the tattoo industry, Paul Booth (no, there’s no smiling at him). If you’re fond of monsters and tattoos, chances are, you’ve come across this man’s work. It is indeed amazing and haunting, and he’s known for once charging a million dollars for a piece, which the client immediately accepted (probably a rock star!)
Paul Booth is the owner of Last Rites tattoo and art gallery space, and he is reputed to have a four-year waiting list. We managed to have a chat with the guy being inked in the photo after he was done, and all he said was Booth was quick (two hours for that piece) and painful, but worth it. I’ll take his work for it.
I’m sort of saving two special goodies for last. I got a new wheel! This is a SpinOlution Mach III that I’ve named Ronda Nicole in honour of two badass ladies. I might one day tell the full complicated tale of how she ended up with me, but for now let me just say it was all worth it, she spins like there’s no tomorrow and is the spinning equivalent of owning a Ferrari, if a Ferrari were also able to drive in rough terrains and not bat an eyelash.
This lady and I are still getting acquainted with each other, but we’re slowly making friends. This is one workhorse capable of spinning from lace to bulky, and I’m just so happy I was able to bring her back with me on this trip. A heartfelt thank-you to all the people involved in making this come true, you know who you are!
And let me talk about one final amazing purchase: I got knitted All Star Converse trainers! Yep, you read it right, they’re knitted. Look at the pattern, it’s a bona fide knitted fabric. I got them at an Outlet, and when Nicole saw them she had to get a pair, too – it was a fun 15 minutes of scavenging to find them in both our sizes.
If you’re hating me already for having them, let me help you hate me a little more: they cost $12.50. Like I said, amazing.
So there it is, a small relay of my time in California. I’m looking forward to going back and visiting some more, although this time I could do without the stupid flu that knocked me sideways for the best of two weeks, plus the jet lag. Not looking forward to those, but I’d love to see good friends again and getting to know that slice of the world a little better.
Have you been anywhere exciting lately? Ever been to California? Let me know your thoughts below.