I had promised myself to update my blog every two days (during this trip) but I haven’t been able to stay true to that, thanks to the disappointing (see crappy) internet that my hotel provided. I write this as we make our way to Sandiego from LA.
The US can never seem to do anything right (pun!) The massacre of the metric system is something I find quite difficult to get used to. I believe that the use of the non-metric system is just a ploy to sharpen our mental arithmetic skills. When the GPS announces, “In 300 feet, turn right,” I find myself frantically calculating : 300 into 30 gives 9000 cm, divided by 100 gives 90m. So, we need to turn right in 90m! Oops. We already drove past the exit. It’s a good thing I’m not driving. But, it’s a clever trick. If you don’t calculate quickly enough, you’ll miss or take the wrong exit and will have to drive a few miles, oops, I mean kilometres, extra.
Coming back to the trip. Los Angeles! The City of Angels. (It should’ve been called the City of Smog.) It is apparently the second largest county after New York. Coming to the next example why the US is so wonky. We’re all used to a hierarchy consisting of cities within the state and neighbourhoods within the city. Over here, there are several cities within a county which is one of many within the state. It is a little confusing because you can drive a few miles (kilometres! I meant kilometres!) and find yourself in a new city! Pretty strange, right? That’s not all. Los Angeles is a city AS WELL AS a county. So is San Mateo, for that matter. Los Angeles county has about 88 cities, if I remember correctly. They include Beverly Hills, Brentwood, North Hollywood, West Hollywood, you get the drift.
The first place we visited in LA was Universal Studios. I don’t want to give out any spoilers so I’ll keep the descriptions very brief. The themed rides were fantastic. The crowd was thick so we obviously couldn’t go on every ride. We went for The Mummy, Jurassic Park and Transformers 3D. A word of advice : if you choose to go to the Horror House, please make sure your nails are short and blunt. I know that my reputation would have you believing that I was the scratcher but I was sadly outwitted by my mum who was screaming throughout and ended up whacking poor Chucky.
All said and done, US is the most organized country I have ever visited. There’s a screen put up at various locations at Universal Studios that informs visitors of the approximate waiting time for the different rides. Not only are the timings accurate, the area outside the rides where people queue up has been designed so intelligently that the line is ALWAYS moving and it takes you through several rooms that are decorated according to the theme of the ride. I waited for 75 minutes for the 10 minute Transformers ride. It was worth it! It’s not just that, everything here seems carefully calculated. All houses are square and box-like, all roads seem to be designed at right angles to each other and even the greenery appears planned. It could have given off a very ‘pseudo’ vibe but for some reason, it doesn’t. Not to me anyway.
P.S. If you go to Universal Studios, don’t forget to go for the Studio Tour! It’s full of surprises. ‘Nuff said.