Welcome to part 2 of “Chandrew has a friend in town and is procrastinating his schoolwork by hanging out with him”! Also known as “It’s a Sunday so we went to the beach”. We specifically went to my old favorite beach – the place I went the first time I came to Los Angeles: Santa Monica! After a quick lunch in the morning of In-N-Out (gotta get that 3x3 and animal style fries every day), we took the trek out to the beach for some fun in the sun.
The Santa Monica pier is a Los Angeles classic. Everyone goes there. From the beach to the roller coaster and the Ferris wheel, to the seagulls flying over the head of the unsuspecting passerby, the Santa Monica pier is everything that truly represents Los Angeles. Dave and I went for exactly that reason, and, he’d never been to the beach! He seemed, well, thoroughly unamused by the beach, I think there were just a few too many people there on that particular day, but he still ended up enjoying his time on the pier and so it was a great time. I’ve still never been to the aquarium out there, but beyond that I really enjoy just being on the pier. I can’t exactly explain why. Also, we saw wild Sea Lions! L.A. is truly a “wild” place.
One of the weirdest things about this particular trip is that I came across the restaurant I ate at the first night I went to the Santa Monica pier: Cha Cha Chicken. It came out of nowhere; Dave and I were just meandering, and I had a strange moment of familiarity. The restaurant changed: they built an awning over the top of what used to be an open-air patio. That was an odd feeling going back there. The memories flow back like waves some time.
I try to make it out to Santa Monica at least once a year. It was one of the first places that I fell in love with L.A. and something about the loud tourists, the smell of the hotdog on a stick stand over to the left, and the sight of waves cresting over sand is just more relaxing than anything else in the world to me. I love Santa Monica, and I love Los Angeles.
We’ve all heard that the stomach is the fastest way to someone’s heart^. I never fully understood this until I got to college. While Caltech Dining Services (CDS) does its best to diversify the lunch and dinner menus, sometimes nothing can quite fulfill the craving for your mom’s home cooking. Having grown up in between Venezuela and Texas, home cooking for me looks like arepas, tacos, and brisket (among other things). Thankfully, Caltech’s location, just outside vibrant LA, makes attempts to find close seconds (to my mom’s cooking) easy and exciting. Often, I don’t even have to venture more than a mile or two from campus to find reliable favorites. Here are just a few within walking distance:
On May 8, the Washington Nationals came to Los Angeles Angels for a lovely Mother’s Day Game. I, being a D.C. native and avid Nationals fan, of course had to attend– the Nationals play the Angels very rarely because they play in different leagues and on opposite coasts. My dad and I have a goal of going to all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums, and we had to take advantage of our home team being in L.A., so my mom and dad both flew out for the weekend.
On the weekend of April 16th, my friends and I participated in the first ever Southern California College Poker Tournament! The tournament was for college students in the SoCal area with a $0 buy-in that doubled as a recruiting event for quant and finance firms. A senior friend of mine (Vanessa, a fellow blogger) put together a team of five girls who had no interest in being recruited and just wanted to have fun playing poker.