In about a week, I will be on a plane whisking myself away to the West Coast!
...or, at least, one part of the West Coast.
Alas, as much as I really, really wanted to, I don't think I will be able to make the 6-hour (so I've been told) drive to San Francisco. I could do it, of course...but even if I was able to find a place to stay overnight, I would have already wasted half a day driving, and would then have to waste another half a day driving all the way back, leaving my friend and I with not even a day to explore there. With all of that in mind, I reluctantly concluded that a visit to San Francisco was just not going to happen this time around.
To be honest, this does take a bit of the original luster off this trip, if nothing else because I really had my heart set on exploring the physical landscape Alfred Hitchcock explored so memorably in Vertigo (a film which has a nice, comfy spot among my Top 5 of all time). Also, most people also tell me that San Francisco is a far nicer city than Los Angeles (less polluted air, for one); shame I won't be able to confirm or deny that this time around.
Nevertheless, my trip will go ahead as scheduled...and I hope, in the week ahead before the trip commences, I will have a more definite handle on what I aim to explore day-by-day. My friend has more or less commissioned me to be the one to come up with some kind of daily itinerary, and frankly, I've been overwhelmed by a) the sheer amount of choice and b) the desire to hit as many of the tourist hot spots as possible, and the fear of missing a major one. (There's also the issue of trying my best to accommodate the wishes and preferences of my friend, but I won't get too much into that here.)
Here are some of the things I'd like to do:
- Do a tour at a Hollywood movie studio. I'm still not sure if I want to go the Universal Studios route and ride some theme-park rollercoasters as well (I'm really not much for theme parks, as my mostly miserable experience at Busch Gardens Williamsburg during a high-school trip proved) or do a more formal studio tour at, say, Warner Bros. studios. But I'd like to tour one studio, if not more than one.
- Go to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Take a ride along the Pacific Coast Highway and go to a bunch of beaches.
- Visit San Diego, mostly on the recommendations of a few friends/acquaintances on Facebook and Twitter. But what's in San Diego worth exploring? SeaWorld? The San Diego Zoo? I know the Hotel del Coronado is there, and that would be nice to see, if nothing else, just for its connection to Some Like It Hot (that's the hotel at which much of the action in the film's second half is set).
- Spend some time in nature at a national park. Since Yosemite National Park is too far away, Sequoia National Park seems like a closer alternative, and hopefully a just-as-worthy one.
- Perhaps try to re-enact parts of Sideways and do some wine-tasting in Santa Barbara Wine Country. (Will we meet a Virginia Madsen/Sandra Oh pair to make the parallels complete?)
- Possibly take in a film at one of Los Angeles's reputable repertory cinema houses.
- Drive around Mulholland Drive at night and see if I can somehow tap into David Lynch's twisted inspiration there.
- And finally, visit some people living in these areas, whether old friends from my East Brunswick schooling years, or new friends made through Twitter.
What say you all, then: good plans, bad plans, could-be-better plans?