Chapter 2: Driving North to L.A.

One of the advantages that I have during my Trainee program in HMC Architects is the working schedule. We have what is called “every other Fridays Off”, we work 9 hours from Monday to Thursday and one Friday we only work 8 hours and the next one is free. This allows me to have 3 days weekends every two weeks, which I use to explore the country and do my cultural journeys. This time, I took my car and with some friends who came to visit me, we drove up to Los Angeles.

First of all, one advise, don´t drive in L.A. during the week days neither from 8-10 am or 3-6pm, those are the rush hours. If you don´t want to spend your whole life in a Highway with your car, try to avoid them, although it is something typical from Los Angeles, I don’t recommend the experience. It took us around 3´5 h to get there from San Diego, when it usually takes 2 h.

Our first stop the first day was the Downtown, which as any American downtown you can see their skyline from far away when you are approaching from the highway. It is amazing to visit finally all those buildings that you had ever learnt during the university, like the “Walt Disney Hall” by Frank Gehry and “the Cathedral of our Lady” by Rafael Moneo. We walk around the different neighborhoods like “Chinatown” (best place to buy some souvenirs), “el Pueblo”, an area with Mexican style where L.A. was founded and “Little Tokyo”, which looks like to be in a Japanese town inside of an American city. Totally recommended to visit at the end of the day the Griffing observatory to watch the sunset from there (try to be early there because it is crowed during the weekend).

Our second day was the time to visit Hollywood and Beverly Hills. We walk through the “Walk of Fame” looking for our favorite stars.  There were so much people like in the films showing up their luxurious style of life.

The last day of these looong weekend we drove to Venice Beach, to relax and visit the canals. The weather was really good, although it is winter, the temperature was around 20ºc during the day, so we hang out on the beach in Santa Monica till the sunset and ended our route in front of the famous Route 66 sign at Santa Monica´s Pier.

After that, it was time to head our car and drive back to San Diego. On Monday I have to work again and continuing enjoying the experience of my J1-Visa Program from Architects-US.

Alberto Lozano

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