Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Back from LA!

We are back from one of the greatest trips ever. I took over 600 photos and I literally don't know where to start in sharing our stories with you. In case I never get around to it, I just want to quickly summarize our trip in a post for posterity. In short: it was a blast, so many highs, can't remember any lows.

Here is the rambly version, though.

We started considering a family vacation to LA when Luke received a $500 United voucher for giving up his seat on an overbooked flight. From then on, every so often, I would check on the airfare and, one day in May, a great price popped up. Before we took the plunge, Luke contacted his uncle in Cerritos and asked about staying with him and his family. His question was met with great enthusiasm and we bought the tickets immediately :)

We traveled super light. One small green carry-on, a big blue duffle bag (checked-in), car seats (checked-in, but free), and everyone carried a backpack. We were gone for 8 nights, but we knew that we could do laundry there. Both departure and return flights were non-eventful. We tossed two tablets at the kids and we were good to go.
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As for the stuff we did in LA...we did a lot. More than we ever did on any vacation. Our usual recipe for a non-stressful vacation day -- an outing in the morning, back to hotel to rest at noon/early afternoon, and something simple in the evening. On this trip, we broke all the rules. We started the day later (10a-ish), kids napped in the car between destinations, and we stayed out past dinner time. Luke's uncle was an amazing host and wanted to show us everything. It was lots of fun, and yes, the kids were exhausted from playing all day, but in the end, they adjusted and I relaxed about keeping them on a schedule.

Few things we did:

It seemed like we visited nearly all the beaches around LA. This one here was taken at Huntington beach. We set up a tent, brought a cooler, and stayed for over 3 hours.
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This was us dodging traffic to get a picture with the Hollywood sign.
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DISNEYLAND! There will be a separate post on this for sure.
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Of our entire stay there, our family was alone on our own just once (seriously, we had the most awesome hosts). On that day, we went to Griffith Observatory and saw LA from above.
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Of course, I can't forget about the food.

One of the things I looked forward to was eating lots of Taiwanese food. And I did :) Popcorn chicken (鹽酥雞), oyster pancakes (蚵仔煎), pig's blood (豬血糕), bubble tea, shaved snow. YUM!

But beyond that I had my first ramen at Little Tokyo at this place called Daikokuya. Absolutely delicious. I have no prior ramen experience to compare it to, but my expectations are high now.
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No she did not eat the burger, but I did :)
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I can't write about LA without this picture. OMG, the traffic. All day, every day.
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This vacation was great because of one thing: Luke's uncle and his family. They showed us absolute kindness and generosity. His uncle drove us in his "fluffy car" tirelessly in LA traffic (see pictures above) and also helped carry the kids when we were out and about. He encouraged me and Luke to go off on our own (his family would babysit) and, although we never did, just having him and his family around felt like a true vacation already. It was so nice to have willing extras to help wrangle the kids. 6 adults to 2 kids was a great ratio.
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Luke's relatives live in a house that is across the street from an expansive park. A big field for sports and summer concerts, climb structures, walking trails, an ISLAND with more play things. Even if we hadn't gone anywhere in LA, the Heritage Park would had been enough to keep the kids happy. (And the abundance of Taiwan eateries all within 5-minute drive would had kept ME happy.) 
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So that was our vacation in nutshell. I hope to write more later. In the meantime, it's back to school for us today. Time to get back to routine.

3 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you had a great vacation! And that Luke's family was so awesome at being a host. A 6-1 ratio of adults to kids IS great!

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  2. Sounds like a fabulous vacation with amazing hosts! I love Taiwanese food; my favorite is the oyster pancake.

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    1. I like oyster pancake too, but hold the oysters. I made them at home before with mushrooms, they were very good and authentic! Google the recipe, it's all over the internet!

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