So you’re probably thinking… didn’t Melanie go to America back in March/April? Wasn’t that like ages ago? And you’re quite right. It’s been a whole two months since I came back from America, and I have finally gotten all my shit together in order to give you guys a recap of what shenanigans I was up to while on my trip.
Just some background knowledge: I went to America as a school ‘study tour’ so the aim of the trip was for us students to gain some more knowledge and awareness about all the science-y stuff in the world. This is also why I couldn’t go and meet up with any of you Americans, because my teachers didn’t allow us to meet up wit. h anyone apart from relatives during the trip. (And yes, I insistently told them that book people are my family, but all I got was a weird look in response. What even. *sighs*) We went for a total of 20 days, and it was just pure awesome (okay, some bits bored me to death because the school tried to make the trip toooo educational and not fun enough, but it was freakishly spectacular overall). (Sorry I’ll try to stop with the parentheses.)
(It doesn’t seem to be working.)
OKAY, ON WITH THE RECAP THAT CONSISTS OF LOTS BADLY TAKEN PICTURES (also, I’m not going to be recapping everything because you’d probably just get bored. So yes.)
Stuff that I brought with me to America
I didn’t actually bring any books with me to the US because my baggage limit was only 23kg plus a 7kg carry on and well, I PLANNED TO BUY A LOT OF CLOTHES, OKAY? So yes, along with toiletries, clothes, shoes etc. I brought my kindle along which has more than 200 books on it so you could say that not bringing any physical books wasn’t a problem. Oh course, I also brought my phone and my laptop – LIFE ESSENTIALS, people??? Gotta keep up with them TV shows. I don’t normally keep a diary but I decided to keep one for the trip so that I could read it when I’m older and actually remember all the things that I did. And it’s also what’s helping me recap my trip in case I forget any details. Truth is though, I kept on forgetting to write an entry every day, so I wrote like a bunch of entries at once from the prev. days whoops 😀
We left Melbourne airport at 10am and arrived at LA at 7am local time on the same day which was pretty awesome, because now I can say I’ve officially gone back in time, hah! We had a city tour while travelling on a coach and I’ll admit, I was pretty damn jetlagged and in a ‘meh’ mood so I kept dosing on despite the fact that our tour guide was really resourceful and humorous.
We later toured down Hollywood Boulevard and took 5 million pictures on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I found so many of my favourite actors and actresses but the highlight was definitely finding Robin Williams. WORDS. I HAVE NONE. We also went to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and then I basically died and nearly ripped my friend’s arm off BECAUSE LOOOOOOOK IT’S EMMA, DANIEL AND RUPERT’S FREAKING HAND/FOOTPRINTS. And of course, I took the obligatory picture of the Hollywood sign because who doesn’t?
I also had to take pics of the two iconic Beverly Hills signs *nods* It’s actually kinda scary how perfect looking Beverly Hills is. It’s clearly where all the rich people hang.
We also went down Rodeo Dr. which is basically entirely dedicated to luxury shopping. Any expensive shop, it’s right there. We also saw some people filming while we passed by on the coach! Tour guide dude said that it was normal to see a lot of famous people on that road but clearly we had no luck seeing any while we were there.
And of course, we stopped at Starbucks and I had my first American beverage. Caramel frappe <33 I think my friend will now forever hate Starbucks because she burnt her coffee haha.
The next day we went to the Getty Centre (Getty Images… anyone?) and they had the most gorgeous garden and you can see a bit of it from that birds eye pic I took while we were looking at art exhibitions.
Also: WE SAW A FREAKING YELLOW SCHOOL BUS. Shuddup, I found it truly exciting, okay? We don’t have yellow school buses here in the AUS and the only time I’ve ever seen them are in cartoons or the occasional TV show.
We had dinner at Bubba Gump (school booked it for us) (if we had it our way we would’ve gone right away to Chipotle, In ‘n’ Out or Panda Express… yeah my friends and I had this American bucket list to visit all the well known fast food places heh).
One one of our last days in LA we had the opportunity to go to Organovo, which is an institute that designs functional human tissues. Basically, their bioprinting technology allows the creation of 3D tissues and it is just pretty damn awesome. I couldn’t take any photos inside the site, but trust me guys, I think I flailed from the epicness of technology and science that was clearly blooming there.
Later in the day we visited Balboa Park which is basically a park where you can visit a bunch of museums and educational sites – honestly, it felt more like it was for younger people than us 15-17 year old kids, so my friends and I spent most of the time just eating haha. So interesting story, I bought a quesadilla (which I pronounced wrong five million times and apparently the ‘ll’ is treated like a ‘y’ but oh well) and IT WAS SO BAD. At first, I tasted pretty good but there was so much cheese! Yellow, commercial cheese (apparently it’s actually called American cheese? Sorry, Americans, but your cheese totally sucks.) <.< I honestly felt like vomiting later haha.
Oh yes and a random scenery photo in which I’m squinting my eyes BECAUSE OF THE STUPID SUN RIGHT IN MY EYEBALL ._.
I’ve gotta say, San Francisco is BEAUTIFUL. Well, for the 4 days I was there, I certainly thought so. We did a lot of shopping at Pier 39 and I got a tourist-y San Francisco jumper which I forever love because of how warm and soft it is. We also got to go do a little more shopping downtown and that photo in the top right hand corner is just American Apparel, one of the many photos of stores that my friends and I snapchatted to our friends back here in Australia to make the feel jelly. I know. We’re great friends. The best.
Also, WE WENT TO PANDA EXPRESS. And maaaaan, it was glorious. I don’t understand why we don’t have fast food chain stores like this in Australia. BEST CHINESE TAKE OUT OF EVER. Also, yay for fortune cookie! I think this is the second one I’ve EVER opened and it was exciting, okay?!
OH AND THERE WAS A STORE AT PIER 39 CALLED LEFTY’S: THE LEFT HAND STORE. Basically, everything in that store was designed for lefties so you had left handed spiral notebooks, scissors, and badass posters of famous people who are left-handed. I didn’t actually buy anything from the store despite being a lefty myself because I spent way too much money on other things haha.
As for that picture in the bottom right corner, they were just some trees I saw when we were having a city bus tour in San Fran. I must say, they are some pretty damn UGLY trees. Apparently they were only just trimmed (a little bit too fiercely… no?) so they actually look gorgeous in the summer.
YOU KNOW WHAT’S REALLY AWESOME? WE WENT TO GOOGLE. YEAH. THAT’S RIGHT. THE OFFICIAL LAND OF GOOGLEY GOOGLENESS. We got a special tour of the place because one of my teacher’s nephews actually works there, so yay for my science teacher! And of course, we took 5 million photos there.
Aren’t those bikes just the cutest things ever? It’s how most employees get around the work place – I seriously love how pro-fitness Google is! ALSO: we got free food while on the tour. BECAUSE ALL FOOD AND DRINKS ARE FREE AT GOOGLE HEEEELL YEAHS. I want to work there now, seriously. It’s actually a lot like The Internship (the movie) which was actually really filmed at Google, so I basically ran around everywhere screaming: “Dylan O’Brien was here!!!!” I may have gotten some strange looks in return. Y’know.
And yup, that’s a Google Map car! They drive those around with a camera built on the roof to photograph for Google Maps.
On the top left is me writing on a post it note to stick up along with all the other post it notes with an inspirational/happy message. I actually can’t remember what I wrote, but it is just the most adorable thing. And ah yes, that’s me laughing my head off in a ball pit whilst in the middle of a ball pit fight. T’was lots of fun. THIS WAS MY CHILDHOOD!!
I also got to go in a Nap Pod and HOLY SHIT THOSE THINGS ARE THE COOLEST INVENTION EVER. You can even play music and make it give you a light massage. Calling it awesome is an understatement. And down in the lower right side is a picture of some umbrella tent things that I just found cute because they’re in Google colours.
In summary: Google is where you wanna work. Not only is there free food (though that is the perfect incentive already), but you get so much freedom (you legit can choose your own work hours, where you want to work and how you want to work.) And you can get free onsite haircuts. Crazy, right?
We had to get up at 5am one morning so we could get ready to go to Alcatraz. We took a 10 minute cruise to the island where we then had an audio tour of the jailhouse. It was a pretty grim audio tour to learn about the circumstances and how Alcatraz worked, but it was equally fascinated. Here’s just a couple of photos I took – the one of the left is a depiction of what a decent looking cell would have looked like.
Obviously, we had to go and be tourist-y and visit the Golden Gate Bridge. The colour of the bridge is actually ‘International Orange’ but it was called Golden Gate as it was named after a nearby street. We actually took SO MANY selfies here however all of them are blurry of have at least one of me or my friends looking idiotic OR our hair is covering our face because it was so darn windy. But yes, I present to you above: the one decent photo I took.
I do believe we stayed in the Alabama the longest and while we were there, we went to Space Camp and Aviation Challenge. The school allowed us to choose to do one of the two, and I ended up choosing Aviation Challenge. It was a 6 day program (think of a camp for fighter pilots) and well, IT WAS SO HARDCORE. They legit treated us like people in the army and we had to wear BDUs and khakis. Oh yes, and on the last night there we had to do a tummy crawl in the mud for 110m, and if you were to stick your butt up, you’d get screamed at. I definitely DID NOT expect this to be happening when we went to America but hey, it was fun! We also got to go in simulators and ‘flew’ fighter planes – it was kinda hard to get used to at the start, but turned out to be seriously enjoyable. Oh yes, and we went zip lining! WHEEEEE!
The reason why I have no photos is because they confiscated all of our phones and laptops for the whole 6 days while we were at this camp. Also, I couldn’t even sleep at night BECAUSE IT WAS SO BLOODY FREEZING. Minus freaking 4 degrees <.< That was definitely the worst part of Aviation Challenge.
We had the opportunity to go to the Kennedy Space Centre as well as have a tour around the NASA headquarters. (Which is the picture on the right.) Apparently the American flag alone is the size of a basketball court… just imagine how HUGE the whole building is!
Okay so I think that those influx of photos, in a nutshell, sums up all the things we did at Universal Studios in Orlando. We only had one day to explore the whole place, so obviously, we didn’t get to go on every single ride but I dragged my friends’ asses to Harry Potter World in which we spent the most time and it was truly glorious. We went on pretty much all the scary rides such as Hulk and Rock It! and nearly all of the Harry Potter rollercoasters. We had to line up for 40 minutes for most rides which totally SUCKED but hey, it was worth it in the end.
AND BUTTERBEER. OMG IT WAS EVERYTHING I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE. There was also a freaking Hogwarts Express ride and it was glorious. It went from Hogsmead to Kings Cross and there were animations playing while you were on the train.
I ended up buying a Hogwarts scarf, Bertie Bot’s Every Flavour Beans (they actually have earwax flavour and it’s disgusting, guys), a Chocolate Frog, Hermione’s wand, a Universal Studios key chain and a Minion drink bottle. MUST HAVE ALL DA MERCH.
Things that I Learned about America
- Your Southern USA sweet tea is a beautiful thing. WE NEED THIS BEVERAGE IN AUSTRALIA.
- When we arrived at Alabama I legit was expecting everyone to be speaking with a Southern drawl. Apparently not because most of them just spoke ‘normally’ lol whoops. MISCONCEPTION = DEBUNKED
- Your coffee totally sucks. Sorry, but Australian coffee ALL DA WAYYYYY.
- YOUR TRAFFIC LIGHTS DON’T MAKE SOUNDS TO SIGNAL THAT WE CAN CROSS THE ROAD. I missed the lights so many damn times.
- You guys don’t include your tax in the price. It’s like you’re forcing me to do maths while I’m trying to shop. Also, it’s very deceiving when they’re like: Everything under 10 dollars! And then I go pay and it’s $10.38USD with the tax. WHY YOU DO TIS TO ME. I had my $10 note out ready for you and everything… and now I have to dig out another 38 flipping cents from my wallet?
- Literally EVERYTHING is in America.
- You guys have like no public transport.
- Your cheese is orange. Wut. Very suspicious.
My only regret was…
I DIDN’T GO TO FREAKING BARNES AND NOBLE. I KNOW. Or any bookstores for that matter…
PLEASE DON’T DISOWN ME GUYS, I HAVE AN EXPLANATION, I SWEAR.
Originally, I was going to go to Barnes and Noble when we were shopping on 4th Street back in Santa Monica, LA but that kinda backfired because we were running behind time and had to rush back to our hotel before we had the chance to go. I was like “oh well, I can just go sometime later on the trip” BUT THAT NEVER FREAKING CAME BECAUSE EVERY OTHER PLACE WE STAYED AT WAS HELLA FAR AWAY FROM ANY BARNES AND NOBLE OR BOOKS A MILLION. *cries* Much regrets.
So yes, America was pretty damn awesome! I honestly don’t think I could live there long term (??) because y’know… Australia is better (c’mon, we all know it, it’s simply time to face the facts) but, I certainly would love to go there again when I’m older (without my school so I can actually meet fellow bloggy peeps) to do even more sight seeing to places like New York (WHICH I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE WE DIDN’T GET TO GO). I hope you all liked my recap! (It may have taken 3 days to write…)
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