In a Foreign L.A.nd

I knew the exact moment that I had landed in a foreign land when I saw a Best Buy vending machine... Best Buy is usually just an electronic store and it's usually Japan who has vending machines for everything, but this is definitely a first. You just don't see many vending machines that will have iPods, DSi, GPS, digital cameras, phone charger, headphones and DS games in one place anywhere. If it were any other places than the airport that the glass will not stay intact for long.

And that is how I was greeted when I arrived in L.A. Many strange sights, but some familiar ones as well. The above picture is pretty normal. Another corner juice bar, but I thought the name was kinda funny, "Robeks". "Robek" means to rip something in Indonesian ^^;

Here is the view from my hotel room in Marriott Downtown Los Angeles. A pretty common hotel & room. It has what I need, except for free internet. I don't think I'll pay $9.99 for 24 hours of internet access...

Aside from the palm trees, I feel that the streets and building felt almost the same as Vancouver. I suppose most downtown cores are like that?

For my first outing to pick up my Anime Expo badge, I tried on the Judgment armband. I was hesitant about wearing it at first, but there were many other Expo goers that I thought it was normal to wear it, lol. Except... the armband is much smaller than I thought. It could barely fit my arm =(

And here's the Los Angeles Convention Center amongst the palm trees.

Hehehe, South Park, hehehehe.

This would be something that won't be posted around downtown Vancouver, I think. There were at least 3 of these around the Convention Center. Can't wait for the game!

After I picked up my badge, which I waited 2 hours from 6 to 8 pm, I had to find dinner. The hunger was too much. I didn't bring any other figures other than Luka Nendoroid (which I brought for Yuu Asakawa to sign) to take pictures of food.

This is a barbecue chicken pizza with bacon from California Pizza Kitchen. It was very expensive for a pizza this size, but I have to admit that it tastes great! Even the onions. I saved two pieces for breakfast the next day ^^;

Now there's a familiar brand... It's funny that where I come from, I used to ride in a Mitsubishi car. When I came here people only knew Mitsubishi TVs. Anyway, you can see the layout of the room a little bit from the reflection. Sorry if it's messy :P

There's this strange water dispenser in the lobby of the hotel. It's got different fruit everyday in it. It's nice to have some kind of free water, I guess, but they don't taste that great no matter what fruit you put in it ^^;

This AX was quite eventful! Especially with many visitors not from L.A. coming. Wolfheinrich arrived after me the next day in the same hotel. We were worried that they wouldn't let him check in early to the room, but he was able to check in. Wolfheinrich's room had a much better view too! He's got the pool view. So I took a photo while I was visiting.

These are the shuttles we took to go back to the hotel or go to the convention center. They gave free shuttle rides for people who bought 4-day passes, but I think some of the drivers didn't care if we had a shuttle pass or not. It's like almost an honor system. Either way I was glad they had these or we'd be tired everyday walking back and forth from the hotel to the convention. It's still problematic when there's a crowd and nobody organized it. Like the first night was awful because after we came out quite late in the night, these buses came, but no line was formed. It was just one big crowd trying to get in first. Eventually staff members came and tried to organize the people by routes. By then we were unable to board 3 times because of the size of the crowd. We were grateful that they were there though, especially late at night. The next day they put on signs on which lane and which buses to board. It was helpful, but I wished they were more organized.

The Staples Center is right beside the convention center. It wasn't used at all for Anime Expo. It's pretty much like an obstacle we have to go around.

This is the Nokia Plaza and to the left of it is the Nokia Theater where concerts and other major events take place. They had a stage set up in the Nokia Plaza for additional entertainment, like a Laser Show. But the spotlights seem to be always on at night creating very bright nights.

JW Marriott is the closest hotel and probably the most expensive to stay in. The guests stay here, including Danny. The internet is $13 for 24 hours from what I've heard. It is very convenient because of its proximity though.

This huge LCD screen at the outside wall of the Staples Center was the brightest thing ever! It's like the sun is out at night. I had to cover my eyes from its brightness while I was walking by it.

One of the main reasons I came to L.A. was to meet Yakuri. We planned on meeting on Wednesday, but that went astray. We did meet quite early in the day on Thursday. I was in my cosplay and was ready to meet her. I didn't tell her I was going as the male version of Mugi from K-ON's ending song, Listen!! I only told her I would be in cosplay. It was quite a reaction when she figured out who I was cosplaying, lol.

Later on I got quite hungry, so around dinner time Yakuri took me to Little Tokyo for Japanese curry. It's actually my first time having Japanese curry (Glico instant curry aside...). Damn good I must say! I have to have more now! Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it ^^; It's a lump of rice covered with beef curry and a soft-boiled egg on top. Really, really good! I did take a picture of that space shuttle in Little Tokyo though. We ventured into Kinokuniya and Anime Jungle as well while we were there before they closed. It made me plan on what to buy from them at the convention, lol. Thanks for taking me to Little Tokyo, Yaku ^_^

The parking meter by my hotel... I wonder when they'll upgrade the Vancouver parking meter to this? I think we'll need it considering how expensive it's become to park here. So I have a question for people from Los Angeles and the U.S.A. in general... How often do you encounter a $1 coin?? I got one from a co-worker who visited there, but I've never seen it again ever since!

So on my way out going back to Vancouver, I took these pictures of that Best Buy vending machine. Seems like people do seriously take a look at this machine. I'd like to take a look too, but I worry I would be too tempted to get something ^^;

The plane was delayed leaving L.A. I had to wait inside the plane while it's being delayed for an hour. Thankfully the plane from Seattle to Vancouver was delayed to accommodate our late flight. At least I was able to take advantage of the free wi-fi on Alaska Airlines. It's free on the plane until July 31st, otherwise it would be $13 bucks for however long the flight is...

I was very tired on Monday when I got back and had to work 16 hours later. I didn't have time to sort all the photos yet, but will try to post the rest as soon as possible. I'm gonna break the AX posts up a little bit since there are LOTS of stories to tell! It felt like quite a long time when I was gone when it was actually only 5 days ^^; And it felt very dream-like when I tried to remember this awesome weekend. More to come!