Saturday, July 24, 2010

Journey to Universal City @ LA

After a not so enjoyable dinner and a night's rest, we were ready to conquer explore LA the next day...

The weather was good for walking, but not that good for photography...


But we're going to do a lot of walking though, so it's good...

The plan was to not take the $90 city tour, but make our own way to Universal City/Hollywood... and the first stage of the plan is to walk 2 miles to the nearest Metro Rail station from our hotel...

Walking has an advantage actually, you can do things that you can't do being inside a bus...


You can also get to see interesting structures instead of being on it...


The 2 miles walk took us about 30 minutes and 80% of our stamina... but it was worth it, being able to experience the Metro Rail, LA's version of the LRT.

The system here is very "gentleman"-ly, there are 2 automated ticketing kiosks at the station, but they don't have electronic gates to stop you to enter without tickets. You don't buy ticket, you still can go and wait for the train and board the train. There will be random spot checks by conductors, that's all...


I'm not sure what I felt that time, when I saw an advertisement board in Chinese on the train...


The train is not too glamorous actually...


And track security is, well... there's fence running on both sides of the rail track, some parts have gates, people can just open the gate and cross, no system to alert you if a train is nearing...


I didn't manage to snap many pictures on our train ride, it was very shaky and the few pics I managed were all crap... but we really saw the less glamorous side of LA. You see, our hotel was actually outside downtown LA, so on the way into it, we passed by lots of shabby areas, shacks, cheap graffiti @ vandalized walls, etc... definitely something we won't be able to see were we on a tour bus...

And then, we were supposed to transit to another route to Universal City, but our luck was so great, 3 stations before our transit station, the train operator suddenly announced that track's closed, we need to get off here and take the free shuttle to our destinations.

We were tourists, and the shuttle driver didn't announce the station names when he stopped. When we got off on the third stop, it was actually the wrong station! City map shows we were 2 miles from the supposed transit station, and the bus left, so.... no choice but walk...

Because of this mistake though, we passed by a legendary place in the LA...


Home of Kobe Bryant LA Lakers...

We also managed to discover that there is something in the LA that is much cheaper than SF...


In SF, the price would be the same, but ALL DAY would be replaced by PER HOUR @.@"

LA is a quiet city though... it was 11.00am in the morning, the streets...


After 40 minutes of trudging, we saw the building that houses the transit station! Woohoo!!!


Got onto the right train, 15 minutes later, we arrived at Universal City station. Sibeh tiring, this journey to Universal City, I tell you...


But given the choice again, I'd do it again, the experience beats sitting inside a luxury tour bus...

I wonder if we will have the energy to explore Universal City...

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