Words cannot describe how amazing it is to get to a real home after months of travelling. That's what LA was for Lachy and I. We stayed with my cousins, or who will now be known as my American parents.
We had a queen size bed, our own bedroom, access to a kitchen - pure luxury! But a highlight - being able to flush the toilet paper. Not throw it in the dank waste basket beside you. It's the little things in life!
Los Angeles was a time for hanging out with family and seeing a few sights. Neither of us had a great desire to go to the celebrity sector. So we spent our time doing some organising of future adventures and checking out the sights closer to Anne and Alan's home. As well as the sights within the home... Lachy was very taken with Alan's garage. The man has it all - a CNC machine, pillar presses, an amazing welders bench and the list goes on. As Lachy said "the man loves his toys, and he has great toys"! So we can safely say that the two blokes got along very well and spent a lot of time in the garage...
Another highlight included the dumb waiter that Alan had installed in the house. Hidden behind the paintings on the walls. Remove the painting, and there is a dumb waiter. Next step is to train one of the dogs to fetch a beer and send it to the garage.
While staying here, Alan's youngest daughter Michelle graduated from high school. So Lachy and I got to experience a real American graduation ceremony. It's just like the movies. The inspirational speeches, the hats and gowns, the school spirit. What the movies don't show is the overly excited parents and families with giant banners with their child's face, letting off balloons, confetti bombs, air horns and screaming support when their son/daughter crosses the stage. I mean... It's just high school. They haven't saved the world from an infectious disease... Yet. That being said - it was amazing how proud the families were. I remember when I finished high school. There wasn't a ceremony that parents could attend. It was just done in a regular school assembly, I think .. We had a final speech night, and I am pretty sure mum and dad were annoyed they had to drive in to town to attend it!
Lachy says that they got their certificate in the mail. But he got a perfect attendance award - because he loved school!
While we were in an English speaking country, we thought it would be easy to send some things home. Make our bags lighter and roomier for the rest of the trip. We ended up with quite a lot of stuff, that was going to be big to post. But never fear - Alan, the King of gadgets had a cryo-vac machine that we could use to shrink things down. This took our clothes to about a third of the size. When we open the bags in a few months time, the clothes may look a bit mangled... But surely it will iron out! We ventured to the post office where it took an hour to fill in all the forms and custom declarations. I hope the bottle of perfume I lied about doesn't break... Poor Anne was waiting for us in the car and had to go and get snacks and refreshments because it took us so long!
One of our most adventurous days with the American parents was when we ventured to Venice Beach. But we had some stops along the way.
Stop 1. Randy's Donuts - a little shop with a giant donut on the roof. We all chose about three donuts each, including a bear claw, maple donut (way too sweet) and your regular chocolate covered donut. They were amazing. I don't normally like donuts, but America can do donuts!
Stop 2. Now we had our donuts, where better to go but the gun range. Alan had a collection of pistols Lachy wanted to try out. So the four of us (Anne included) went to the range. My first shot was out of the Ruger .22, as I pulled the trigger, the shell ejected from the pistol and hit the wall. It then bounced into the back of my t-shirt and burnt my back. Causing my reaction to jump and try and reach down my shirt while waving the pistol around. Lachy grabbed the pistol, made me put it down while assuring me "it won't have burnt you, it was just warm". Well - the burn mark in the shape of a .22 shell on my back tells a different story...
We spent a couple of hours at the range shooting from the four pistols. Anne came out on top with a couple of bullseyes! One shot with a SIG 9mm compact, that had quite a big kick!
Stop 3. We finally got the boys to leave the range and we continued to Venice Beach. In our honest opinion, it was a freak show. It's a mixture of all walks of life. Beach goers, skaters, tourists, crazies, merchants, buskers and more. After wandering the streets, we chose to spend our time more productively, and headed for a rooftop bar where we could still observe, but didn't have to get amongst it.
Unfortunately we reached the end of or stay in LA. We were presented with some home made beef jerky to munch on the flight and said our goodbyes. But assured Alan and Anne - we will be back.
Next stop - Yellowstone.