Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Things I like about America

Shamelessly stealing the title of one of my favourite books, Things I Like About America, I thought I'd reminisce about some of the things I, er, liked about America while I was off on training.

OK, so let's get this straight from the get-go: training was not a holiday and we didn't really have that much time to sashay around LA and be all touristy and shit. But I did get to see pretty much everything I wanted to see before I went out there, with the exception of The Griffith Park Observatory which apparently you really need a car to get to and I didn't have a car to get me to it. Of course, most people who have been to LA say you need a car to get pretty much anywhere which is maybe true, but I coped pretty well with the admittedly quite awful public transport network, in particular the Number 3 Big Blue Bus which I made use of quite a few times to take me to…

• Venice Beach. God, I love this place. A beautiful wide beach and some great little bo-ho-ey shops, one of which, Titanic, I bought an awesome hat in. Admittedly I think the more bo-ho-ey aspects of Venice might've got a little bit too much if I'd stayed there for longer than a few hours, but that's fine because to be honest it was the Santa Monica end of the beach that I really fell in love with.

Venice Beach. LOVE.
AMAAAAAAZING hat shop. With added Transformers!
• Santa Monica. Oh, Santa Monica. I want to live here. Such a nice vibe. And a massive shopping district (the 3rd Street Prom) just spitting distance away from the beach and the world-famous pier. Santa Monica is pretty much my idea of heaven. It had the most incredible Barnes and Noble bookstore too.

Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade, home to an amazing Barnes and Noble.
• I loved how everyone in LA was so polite too. I genuinely felt that everyone who served me in restaurants really deserved a tip, unlike some people over here who you begrudgingly give one to for fear they'll poo on your dinner next time you swing by. On one of my last days in the States I popped into the local Starbucks to buy a coffee and the barista had to ask me to repeat what I wanted because she was "mesmerised" by my accent. Bless. I'd been told Americans like a British accent, and between this and the dude in posture clinic who told me my voice was "sexy" I really think I could make it big in the U.S.

• Talking of restaurants: In 'N Out Burger and iHop. In 'N Out burgers are dirt cheap and without doubt the BEST burgers I've ever had. I pretty much ate two each week during training, and made sure I had my last meal in the States before heading home in this wonderful, wonderful burger joint. As for iHop: 24 hour pancake restaurant. Just think about that for a second.

iHop cinnamon stack. It was like having a massive cake for breakfast.
In 'N Out Burger: BEST. BURGERS. EVAH. And note the cool Dodge Challenger in the car park. I mean parking lot.
• Cars. I love cars, and so do Americans. I was overjoyed to see loads of Minis out there (including an old-skool 60s Cooper), and I loved all the big muscle cars: Mustangs, Cameros, Dodge Challengers - all tastefully pimped up for added awesomeness. I also fulfilled a life-long ambition to ride in a Ford Crown Victoria yellow cab (on several occasions, actually). For such a big car they were tiny inside, wallowed round like jelly on wheels (they rocked back and forth for several seconds after coming to a stop) and were generally outclassed by everything else on the road, but I loved them all the same.

• Bearing in mind we'd been warned at the beginning of training to be careful in LA and never go off anywhere on our own, I actually felt really safe in the city - even on those times I defied orders and went off on my own. I know: such a rebel.

• Hershey's Cookies 'n Creme. Thanks to fellow trainee Dayna for introducing me to this which is IMPOSSIBLE TO GET HOLD OF HERE AND I'M STILL IN THE MIDST OF WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS.
• Manhattan Beach. If Santa Monica living gets a bit too much for me I'd like to retire to this brilliant little town just down the coast. Packed full of amazing restaurants (hello The Kettle), little touristy shops, and beautiful houses, I'm pretty sure I could slum it here. They even filmed The OC there so is it any wonder I felt at home?

• I got to do this:

And things I didn't like about America?

• LA, seriously, sort your public transport infrastructure out please.

• Beverly Hills and all the real touristy places. They felt a bit too … pristine?

Bit too perfect, if you knows what I means.
• LA is so damn far away.

Could do with being closer.


Joseph Lidster said...



Tim said...

You, Sir, are a STAR.

KLee said...

LOL I didn't think In/Out was THAT GREAT though, maybe I am one of the few that didn't really find the burgers that AMAZING. Ihop? ok, now I know if you come visit me in Vancouver, I will take you to IHOP. LOL. Tim, did I tell you, you are quite popular among my girlfriends? Whenever I talk to them about a friend from UK, they will ask me if I am talking about the cute guy from London. So I am sure not just America, you can do big anywhere with your sexy accent!

Tim said...

Oh Kevin, they were GREAT BURGERS. And cheap. The best burgers we have over here are gourmet ones that cost about … $15?

But glad to see we're on the same wavelength with iHop - that place was AMAZING!

I have a Canadian following?! YES! I need to capitalise on this ASAP!!

Tara said...

We do like a British accent, it's true!

I'm glad you were treated well while you were visiting the States!

Those pancakes look so good, I'll bet they tasted amazing.