Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Week in California

I just spent an awesome week in California.  This was only my second time back in the USA since I moved to Brno in 2009.  The last time I was here was in 2012 which seems like a really long time, and it was, but I did get to see my parents in Europe in 2014

It was a full day to get from Brno to California.  A 2:30 am Student Agency bus to Vienna Airport, a British Airways flight to London Heathrow and then an American Airlines flight to LAX.  It then took a couple of hours to get to Irivne thanks to Friday afternoon traffic.  But I made it and after 26 hours of travel my sister had a dirty vodka martini and home made pozole waiting.  Both were delicious.

Pazole is a traditional Mexican soup made from shredded pork, hominy, and red chili that you ganish with shredded cabbage, radish, onions, cilantro (coriander) and lemon.  She usually only makes it for Christmas or New Year's so this was a real treat.

My family took great care of me and they made sure that I got lots of Mexican food.  And of course, we had to go to In-N-Out for an animal style double-double.  Five years is too long to go without a double-double.  It's also too long to go without seeing my family but that's where FaceTime comes in to help with the distance.

We also did a lot of shopping.  On my way over I had a medium suitcase inside of my big suitcase so that I could fly back with two suitcases.  I only brought enough clothes for a few days because I knew that I would stock up at Costco.  Clothes are way cheaper in the USA then they are in Czechland, and the quality is better too.  I also picked up a new iPad here which saved me a couple of hundred dollars because I didn't have to pay the VAT.  I will miss out on the mandatory two-year warranty, had I purchased it in Europe, but Apple will cover the first year so I think I'll be fine.

This trip to the USA is only for two weeks so I didn't have time to go to Atlanta.  Fortunately, Steven and Michal flew out to see me.  I last saw Michal in 2012 and in 2014 Steven and his mom came to Europe.  They used the weekend to take a much needed break from planning their wedding.  After 23 years together they are finally tying the knot in September.  I'm gutted that I can't be at the wedding as I'll be in Beijing then so it was great to get to see them now.

On the 4th of July we went out to West Hollywood and had a drink at The Abbey.  While we were there I spotted Ross Matthews who's a television personality.  He used to be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and is currently on a couple of Hollywood entertainment shows.  He's also a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race which thanks to torrents, I get to watch in Czechland.  He was so nice when I went over and said hello and told him that I watch him Czech Republic.

That evening my sister put on a huge 4th of July BBQ.  We then joined in with all of the neighbors to watch the fireworks.  The kids played with sparklers before the real show started at the nearby high school.

One thing I really wanted to do this trip was just hang out and watch the fireworks with my niece and nephew.  Mission accomplished.

I had such a great time visiting.  The jet lag was a bit of a downer because I never got to sleep in since my internal clock always thought it was nine hours later.  Oh well, first world problems I suppose.  Week two will be just me and my parents in Prescott, Arizona.  Plus a trip out to the Grand Canyon.

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