Los Angeles 2018 Day 15 – Citadel Premium Outlets and Home Sweet Home

This was the last day in the US and as usual we slept in late. I felt like going for a run as the weather was rather inviting and I haven’t been running for a while. The alarm clock woke me up and I walked to the window with the full view of the bay in front of me. It was tempting, seeing joggers going on the path alongside the beautiful bay but laziness got the better of me and I was back in bed.

View from our room

840 and I woke in horror to find yet again that we had to have breakfast in bed, courtesy of me collecting them from the breakfast area. I brushed my teeth quickly and went down to the breakfast area to get food. Approached the staff to asked for disposable plates but was given a tray instead and she affirmed that I could bring back the plates and the housekeeping staff would take care of it.

I went to get whatever the small tray could allow me to and brought back the usual stuff. Went back a second round to get more juice and coffee and went back to the room to eat first while mommy joined later. To wake K up, I turned on the TV and soon mommy was carrying him over to the living room.

Breakfast from the buffet table

We quickly packed while K ate his breakfast and before long, we were ready to leave. Called the valet to have my car ready by 1020am and after K was dressed, we brought everything down. Checked out was quick and we loaded up the luggage and was on our way to Fashion Valley to visit an Apple store.

Apple Store
Fashion Valley

12mins drive and we parked at a sheltered car park free of charge. Walked to Apple store and had the intention to get the iPad Pro. I was then introduced by the staff on its capabilities and was already convinced that I could use it for stuff other than social media, when we got all the accessories and iPad ready to be bought, the costs gave me a surprise. I had forgotten to add in the tax and after all the costs added up, it wasn’t that much different in price compared to what was available in Singapore. I apologized and we left.

Not all was lost as from the corner of my eye I caught a store having discounts and checked with mommy if she was interested to get jeans from 7 for all mankind. We walked in and with a 40% storewide discount, she got herself a pair of jeans. Not a wasted trip.

We hurried back to the car as we had overstayed the visit and proceeded to drive to Citadel premium outlets, skipping the Carlsbad premium outlet that we initially thought we would visit. Went through a toll road unknowingly and referring to the signboards, I could pay the one time toll online.

Citadel was a huge area designed like its name suggested. Parking was free too and we made a dash to the loo after the getting off. Had our lunch by getting some sandwiches from Pronto Cafe. We sat just outside to eat and while mommy finished her sandwich quickly and went ahead for her last minute shopping, I waited for K to finished his.

Arriving at Citadel
Citadel outlets
Quite crowded
…for lunch
Disturbing warnings found in Oakley

Brought k to go around and found that Citadel didn’t have as good a deal for some of the stores as in San Francisco, eventually I ended up only getting a pair of chinos from AX. K had a slight tummy ache and we used the family room that had a tiny toilet bowl for K, fitted nicely to his bum and his height.

Huge Xmas tree at Citadel
Family toilet with a cute kids size toilet bowl

We then got ourselves an ice cream from a store with the same name as the sandwich for about $3ish but was given almost 3 scoops which I thought was a good deal. We met mommy along the way who was buzzing around the shops and eventually we ended up in Disney as the last destination before popping back into the car at 430pm and driving towards Courtyard by Marriott for our Hotel by day booking, 45mins away.

It was not far by distance but the LA traffic was the main contributor to the extended time. Tried to take the carpool lane that helped in some cases getting away from jam but not others. Reached the hotel by 520pm. There was again valet parking only, $18. The valet was however kind enough not to charge after I explained that I wasn’t staying long, with the agreement to just leave the car close to the entrance.

Went to checked in and was given a room on the first level. It was good as K had already fallen asleep and mommy was carrying him. The room was within easy reach and soon K was on the bed snoozing while we repacked the bags, ensuring that we do not hit the 23kg per luggage weight limit. Had to throw away some of my old clothes including my jeans and shoes to make way for the new stuff.

Room in Marriott
Old making way for the new

Mommy bathed and I tried to find out where to return the car. Tried calling Enterprise and the automated system wasn’t leading me to the right people and when someone actually picked up, I didn’t think she answered my question and informed that I could drop my car at the airport itself.

After a small struggle to get the K into bath as he was woken up dazed, we rushed to get out of the room by 645pm. Spoke to the valet and was informed that the return for the car was indeed NOT at the airport but at Bellanca Ave, as per on its website and google maps. I quickly drove to location which was just 12mins away, after tipping him. The signs along the way indeed helped show the way, reaffirming the directions and following the “Others” and then “Enterprise” directions, we arrived on the return location.

The area was big but there was a staff there to direct me on where to drop the car and he proceeded with the checking. I got all my luggage off and he then proceeded with printing me the final receipt. Checked that the refueling charge was at a not-too-ridiculous price of $4/gallon, and that indeed there was no higher-than-usual drop off fees (as I was worried when at San Francisco), we headed for the shuttle bus together with the staff as he helped to bring the luggage for us to the bus stop steps away.

Enterprise at Bellanca Ave
Bus stop for shuttle to LAX

The bus was here within minutes and after lugging everything onboard, we sat on the bus on our way to LAX. It was then I realized that the flight was actually at 2225 instead of 2045, giving us another hour more of free time!

We arrived at LAX 10mins later and I asked the driver where we could get off for Terminal B. The reply was rather disappointing as she informed that she wasn’t told about Terminal B and would be easier for us to just alight and walked there. Without much of a choice we did that.

Rented a trolley for $5 (reaffirming that it was damn bloody expensive in LA) and slowly made our way to the international airport.

Not free
Walking towards International Terminal

Checked in at the SIA counters and all the luggage made the cut without issues. We proceeded to go through security which was on the 2nd floor and while there was a crowd, it wasn’t too long before we were at the main departure area.

DFS shopping for some Ghirardelli chocolates which was disappointingly higher priced than those we saw at Ralph’s but bought enough to get it at $6 per pack.

Walked to the central dining place to get some food. I ate Panda Express which was Teriyaki chicken with mixed veg and fried rice and a bottle of drink at a $15 and mommy got something similar. Shared the food with K and moved to the gates early. We didn’t get through the immigration counters and were worried that these were at the gates but upon reaching the gate we didn’t see any.

Shopping inside LAX
Panda Express
Fortune cookie
Walking towards the gates

I went to check with one of the staff and understood that this was no longer required! Something new. Tried to pay for my toll and found that online payment were only for new ones and not one that I already passed, so I had no choice but to wait for Enterprise to charge me (which they did, invoice of $11.71 came in an email 1 month later).

We spent the last hour waiting for boarding while mommy bought some nuts from the stores nearby. Then the call for business and PPS started. We didn’t hear the call for us to board but asked anyways and was surprised that we could already.

Getting into the seats, K started his game while I just chilled. The plane took off after a while and food came 2 hrs later. The rest of the flight was no drama, spent half of the time  in front of the screen and the other half sleeping. Since we would be arriving in the morning, we timed the sleep to be later so as to stay awake when we arrived in Singapore.


This was our long duration year end holidays and the decision for the location was driven by cheap launch prices for premium economy. The savings from the tickets were offset by the high costs of travel in California. The trip itself had a lot of driving that something took too much energy that left my physically drained at the end of the day. Coupled with constant carrying of K, I thought it wasn’t as enjoyable as I hoped to be.

That said, there were still a lot of experiences that was new that I was happy to share with K. Other than seeing the wonderful Grand Canyon and Golden Gate Bridge, taking a helicopter and glamping under the stars, seeing Mars from a telescope, these were memories good enough for growing K.

The costly travel was contributed by transportation and food. For me, the most surprising part was that fuel wasn’t main bulk of costs of transportation, it was actually the parking.

Los Angeles 2018 Day 3 – LA, Hollywood and Griffith Observatory

Woke up at 9am, seemed like there wasn’t much of a jet lag issue. Had breakfast from stuff that we bought from supermarket and while I had the cheese leftovers from the day ago. After much deliberation, I decided to call up Papillon Grand Canyon to book a helicopter trip to Grand Canyon. I had to think quite long as I was afraid that we would not reach Vegas in time to catch this trip but taking the latest flight should be safe enough.

After getting ready, our first stop of our LA tour was to visit the Walt Disney concert hall some 30mins away. The streets of downtown LA was pretty quiet as it was the weekend and there weren’t many cars around. The challenge was to find an affordable carpark. We went into the parking lot there but it would cost us 9dollars per entry basis. As my intention was to just get out of the car, take some photos of this architectural beauty and move on to the next location and I wasn’t prepared to spend that amount of money for that short a time. Got out without having to pay, thankfully, and I tried to find some roadside parking. The amazing thing was even with not many cars moving on the road, all roadside parking were taken. A few turns here and there still didn’t yield a slot and we left eventually, with nothing but a memory of the glimpse of the building.

Chinatown was just 10 mins away and we parked at an open air public parking, at an affordable $5 for whole day. Paid the attendant and we started to walk around. Immediately we felt like we were not in America, as we saw the place full of Chinese. We went into a place called Saigon plaza that felt like the Bugis village where shops selling all sort of stuff, from clothes to toys and terrapin line the small walkways. We got ourselves an adaptor (cos we forgot to bring one) for $10 and food peeler for $2.

Chinese dragons while approaching Chinatown
Chinatown parking
Car park ticket.
Chinese arches
Chinese mall.
Signboards lining the street.
Walking through Saigon Plaza.
Saigon Plaza Entrance
Even the bank has a Chinese design roof.

Further down the street was a place called Central Plaza, where the buildings there looked like traditional Chinese designed buildings, not sure if they were original or made to look like that. Right at the center of was a statue of martial arts icon, Bruce Lee. We took a picture with him before going back to car. K liked to see the pairs of terrapins on sale and wanted to see them every time we pass by. We left at about 12noon.

Bruce Lee Statue
Inside Central Plaza.
Sun Yat Sen statue here too

Our next destination planned was the Original Farmers Market, coinciding with lunch time.  It was only a 30mins drive but K managed to fall asleep. There was a huge parking lot but the place was full. Fortunately, the turnover rate for the carpark was quick and almost immediately upon arrival, I slotted into one. Had to leave mommy and sleeping K in the car while I went to explore the area on my own. Didn’t know where the market was and I unknowingly walked to the shopping area called the Grove. There were plenty of pretty Xmas deco with a small eating area in the middle and a moving trolley on rails for people to get on and off. I wanted to go to the market instead and backtracked until I see small entrance and went into an enclosed but huge areas with many seats for dining and eatery stalls selling the many varieties of food. It wasn’t easy to find something that I could takeaway into the car for consumption and finally decided on getting 2 empanadas (veggie samosa and mushroom) for 8ish dollars from Nonna’s Empanadas and then went to get kraut hotdog bun from Magee’s for 6ish dollars. I returned to car shortly to have our lunch, the food tasted pretty delicious.

Farmer’s Markets.
Antique car.
Trolley – a popular ride
Fountain at the Grove
Singapore’s Banana leaf???
At Farmer’s Market
Fruit stall
Spicy sauce with funny pictures.
Spaces for eating
Nonna’s Empanadas
Magee’s kitchen
One of the entrance to the market

After finishing our lunch in the tight spaces of the car, we woke K up and went back to market, this time for K’s lunch. We settled for Chinese food as it would be the simplest of the highly choosy boy, a safe bet of fried rice with broccoli and sweet sauce chicken for 10ish dollars but in a heap on a big plate. K ate without much interest and it could be because it didn’t really tasted good. I got myself a caffeine fix and bought an coffee ice blended for 5ish dollars. The stall offered ticket validation which would reduce the car park charges, which was also why I bought the coffee from there.

Saurkraut hotdog
Old style gas station replica

We proceeded to the Grove as mommy did some shopping while K and I was outside the store taking photos using our own cameras. Before leaving for the next location, we went to use the toilets in Nordstrom, a big enough shopping mall (as we thought it wasn’t easy to get free toilets here) before leaving.

Though the tickets were already validated, I couldn’t find a ticket payment machine. I thought I saw a counter at the exit and drove out but I was wrong, there wasn’t a counter. Thankfully, I was still able to pay at barrier, as there was credit card payment available and 7dollars was debited from my credit card without any issues.

Our last stop for the day was to visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was mentioned in the forums that the best parking place was Dolby theatre. The route to Hollywood was quite jammed while we were there as there was a road closure near Hollywood. But once we drove into the basement carpark, we found many available spaces.

Dolby Theatre

The Dolby theatre most famously known for hosting Oscars. it looked really grand and as we passed the main flight of stairs, I couldn’t help taking some pictures with the theatre steps and the pillars with the big movie names that won Oscars with their dates. Once out the doorway, the “Stars” on the walkway became immediately visible, and I got myself a couple of photos of the names. Just nearby was a big space being blocked out with ongoing preparation works seemed to be for a concert. That made the walkway crowded with people walking around and street performers in their costumes sharing the walkway.

Grand stairway
Oscars Winners
Definitely one of the most beautiful stars
Absolut Vodka??

We went to the 2nd floor going up the escalators in between the buildings (near where a the giant elephant statue atop a column) as it was here that we could spot the Hollywood sign. Took some photos of the sign that appeared tiny and barely visible since it was brighter behind us. As we returned to the carpark, we spotted Mr. Incredible which K cleverly commented that he was just a impersonator. Nonetheless we still went to take a closer look but didn’t take any photos for fear of being charged.

From here, we could see the sign behind us
What we saw.
Zoomed in shot.

Went to the Hard Rock Cafe next to Dolby theatre for our usual overseas purchases and bought 2 tees. I was disappointed when they didn’t ask for my rewards numbers and couldn’t do anything about it at the register, left me thinking what’s the point of a membership then (she asked the customer in front of me though). Just before we got to the carpark, we had a family selfie with a famous “Star” on the wall instead of the floor of Muhammad Ali. Paid our carpark fees of 6dollars and it was 50mins drive back.

Hard Rock Cafe next to Dolby Theatre.

520pm arrived back at Marina Del Rey and the whole sky was dark and hazy. While K and mommy were back at the apartment, I walked to Alan’s Market just across the street to get some cooking oil but only managed to find olive oil. It was a small store that sold a variety of other stuff, little choices in fresh produce and a section dedicated to alcohol.

Fresh Produce.
Around the store.
Alan’s Market.
So this is Chic a Cherry Cola

Bathed K after some playtime and got dressed before our last stop of the day – Griffith observatory. 50mins drive back towards town and arrived at 820pm with a slight amount of traffic on the main journey but increases to a lot more of cars while driving up the hill nearer the observatory. We drove all the way to the top and found a carpark after a while, guided by staff amidst the chaotic movement of cars moving in and out of the area. As K sat in the car to have his home cooked dinner I went to cafe located at the basement to buy dinner for us. At that time, there weren’t many choices left, so I ended up with a beef hotdog bun and Wolfgang Puck cold vege wrap for 14ish dollars. We only left the car at 9pm, paid the remaining one hour of parking at 6dollars per hour at the automatic ticket dispenser before heading towards the observatory.

Wolfgang Puck Sandwich
Beef hotdog bun
Carpark ticket.

Thankfully the skies up were much clearer up there compared to when we were driving along the highway. Out in the open around the building were 2 telescopes setup by observatory staffs and we lined up to have a look. One showed a cluster of stars and the a pair of stars, and while K was really excited to look through them, we weren’t sure if he knew what he saw.

Next, we climbed the stairs to the roof of the building where the dome observatory housed giant telescopes. One of them was open today and a queue was already formed. As it was a slow queue, Mommy stayed in line while I brought K inside the main building to see astronomy exhibits that included explanations on moon phases and tides before mommy called on the phone. Then we ran back up as fast as I could, carrying K huffed and puffed along the way.

Night view of LA from the top
To telescope
Queuing for the observatory.
An exhibit about tides.

Upon entering the dome, we saw a huge telescope point towards the skies through an opening. The planet of interest today was Mars as we found out from the staff introduction and instructions. After a couple of minutes more of waiting in line as people took turns at the telescope, we finally see a blurry yellowish dot through the scope, a first time experience for all of us!

Giant telescope within the dome.

Trying our luck, we went into the building afterwards even though it was already close to 10pm and explored around. The exhibits were quite nice especially for enthusiasts such as K who had lots of fun looking around at the photos, birth of Universe and solar system. Stayed all the way till 10pm until staff bade us goodbye (almost impressing on us that we should proceed to the exit). The gift shop however was already closed and we couldn’t get anything.

Within the building 1st floor
Small screening on space stuff.
Solar system in the right proportions.
Night view of the Griffith Observatory

The journey back was 30mins only. We stopped at Burger King drive through and bought chicken tenders for 6ish dollars. It was slow fast food as we waited quite a while and the queue built up behind. After collecting our precious tenders, we drove to Shell station for gas and paid at counter 40dollars first, as I had nothing to base an estimate first but had to pay for gas before pumping. I didn’t even know if there were any restrictions on the octane rating and just went for the standard fuel and received around 10 gallons of it.

Got onto highway 101 for the trip back to our accommodation and arrived back by 11. Spent the rest of the night washing utensils, packing a little, hanging wet clothes,
making a bottle of milk and then finally off to sleep.

Los Angeles 2018 Day 2 – Venice Beach, Venice Broadwalk and Santa Monica Pier

K woke up at 4ish wanting milk which was normal, and I made him some. Sometime at 630 he woke up wanting to go poop and while we made to the toilet, he already pooped in the diapers. A short clean up, another bottle of milk later, he returned to bed. I wasn’t all that sleepy anymore and day broke rather early with light coming from the windows as early as 630am.

This morning I was supposed to collect the rental car at Enterprise, not too far from where our Airbnb was. After referring to the reservation note on the email, I realized that I had totally forgotten about their options of picking people up to their office for car collection. Called their number and was informed that they were swarmed with work currently and weren’t able to provide that service. I decided to take a walk.

It didn’t look very far on Google maps, about 1.7km in actual distance and the weather was cool enough for me to clock some distance on my Pogo. As the sun rose, the California street scenes of tall coconut trees lining the road from American drama came into view.

Tall coconut trees.

20mins later, I entered Enterprise Rent-a-car at the T-junction and it was already pretty busy. Provided the reservation and was offered the Ford Explorer for my standard SUV reservation. Was initially hesitant about it as I had never rented big cars for holiday trips and from the external look, it was monstrous! The petite lady convinced me that it was actually not that big since she could drive it with no issues and that there were bigger Lincolns out there which were really crazy huge!

Enterprise at Marina Del Rey.


We settled the rest of the payment including removal of child seat rental as I have brought along a collapsible child seat and added in damage waiver for fear of damaging the car, all this while the car was sent to a last minute shower within the compound.

After all the adjustments in the car, I drove to the Cheesecake factory to get some breakfast. Arrived at a carpark manned by a valet who directed me closer to the side entrance and I parked pretty comfortably with the built in reverse camera. From the sides, I made my way past the Alfresco dining area (didn’t know it was a full restaurant, thought there were only cheese cakes!) with a view of the beautiful beach of Marina Del Rey and to the cashier where the cheesecakes could be found. Spoilt of choice, I picked a vanilla flavoured one and a original cheesecake for around 15bucks and drove back to the Airbnb.

Cheesecake Factory.
So many flavours.

A short 5 mins drive and I am driving up towards the residence parking of the Airbnb. Parking was easy with enough lots and the rear camera which I did not have the luxury to have on my car back home. Stepping into the apartment, I was greeted with my boy already awake. Quickly opened up the cheesecake for him, one of the limited choices of food that he liked, for breakfast. The portions were too big and we couldn’t finish it, and I left one of them for my next day’s breakfast in the fridge.

Cheesecakes with whip!

We got ready and left the apartment at 1130, towards our first place of visit, Venice beach. Drove the couple of minutes towards the Venice Pier and found a huge carpark. 9 dollars per entry, my first shocking carpark fees to a whole lot more to come. Parked and got out and strolled to the long pier that stretched out into the ocean, snapping photos of proud seagulls standing on poo-stained railings while passing by them. K surrendered walking really early and he was soon sitting on my shoulders, snapping photos of seagulls with his SGD$20 camera.

Parking at Venice pier.
On the pier going out to sea.
Large sandy beach.
View from the pier.
Beach seemed to stretch for miles.

Returning to the beach front, we approached the Venice Beach Rentals to see if we could get a bicycle so that we can ride along the beach to the Venice broadwalk. After waiting for quite a bit in the scorching heat as the staff served the previous customer who took the last bicycle with child seat, we left disappointed. Thought we would walk to the broadwalk instead but after a short walk along the footpath next to beachfront residences, we decided to drive there instead, as there did not seemed to be anything interesting along the way.

Pathway along beachfront residences.

Punched in Venice broadwalk on the Google maps and we were on our way. We drove through a small residential area that was built to feel like Venice, and it was an interesting drive as our car went over small arch bridges that went above small canals.

Canals of Venice.

Learning from the expensive parking, I thought I would drive to somewhere close to the broad walk and not next to it, so that the fees might be lower. Upon arriving at a street near the broad walk, we saw a sign that said “Public Parking” and drove into the open space, where we saw personnel directing cars. As we got off the car, I then realised it was actually a valet, that it would cost me 20 dollars to park there (they claimed that it was whole day parking for 20dollars which didn’t attract me a bit as I was damn sure I wouldn’t be there for the whole day)! Got back into the car and drove around further, and found another manned parking space for 10dollars for 3 hrs, where we ended up parking the car.

Parking receipt.

The Venice broadwalk had more things to see then when we were at the pier. At least the beach front was lined with stalls and peppered with food stalls and lots and lots of people enjoying the sunny day out at beach. I thought it had all the feels of a California beach (I thought). It was lunchtime and we tried looking for a place where we could sit and eat but we couldn’t find such restaurants around. We ended up with pepperoni pizza with a drink for lunch for 8ish dollars, while we found a small shaded place to sit and eat, and watch the world go by. There were interesting stuff to see along the street – makeshift stalls selling arts and sometimes weird items or performers strutting their stuff or just strange people behaving weirdly.

Crowded broadwalk
Roman pillars.
Pizza for lunch.
Our lunch

After the non-impressive excuse of a lunch meal, we walked to big Ben & Jerry’s store to get some ice cream. There were no seats in there although there was enough space for it so we just bought the cookies and cream single scoop cone for 7.75 dollars and went off to sit on the grass shaded by some coconut trees. It felt rather relaxing to chill there.

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream store.

Before leaving the place, we walked to the skate park nearby to look at kids for different ages taking on the multiple contours at speed and then a short walk to the Venice beach entrance to take a selfie with the Venice sign before returning to the car.

Panoramic view at Venice broadwalk.
Skate Park.
One of the colourful buildings.
Venice sign.

We first drove to a superstore Costco which had its own carpark but was pretty full at that time. Left and drove to Ralphs instead, which also had its own carpark. It was a huge supermarket and while mommy was shopping for groceries, I was with K playing with some Halloween pumpkins display before he decided that he wanted to go toilet. I approached one of the staff there for help and was kind enough to offer me an entry code to use the toilet within the supermarket itself.

Ralphs supermarket.

After that, I thought I should get myself some Starbucks coffee, a store was inside the supermarket itself! Spent 5ish dollars for my caffeine boost. Ended the shopping with foodstuff 76ish dollars worth and we returned to apartment. Ate some watermelon that was bought from the supermarket before hitting the sack at 430pm for a short nap, the body adjusting to the time difference.

Starbucks within supermarket.
My caffeine boost.
Inside Ralphs.

The next thing we knew, we woke up at 630 and I got K to go bath in the tub. Left the apartment only at 830 and we drove towards Santa Monica Pier. Wanted to park beside Santa Monica pier but the road leading to the carpark was blocked and I tried to find another place to park. There was a multi storey parking structure 8 and it was a good location that was close to the pier.

Parking structure 8.

Heading in the direction of the pier, we noticed a restaurant just across the road of the Santa Monica pier, and decided to have our dinner there, at Del Frisco’s Grille. Ordered baby ribs (pretty good) and omelette cheese sticks while K had his home cooked meal. We couldn’t finish the entire portion and left at 1030pm, paying 62ish dollars including tips.

Del Frisco’s Grille.
Ribs and omelette.

Crossing the road, we went to Santa Monica Pier and there were many people even at that time of the day. It looked like a fun place where there was a games arcade, fun fair rides and stalls. There were restaurants too but mostly closed expectedly. We proceeded to check out the rides although the package price looked enticing, we only took ferries wheel for 10 each, taking in consideration that it was quite late already. Even so, there was a long line for the ferries wheel. K and I boarded the wheel while mommy waited for us. Nice feeling to be up there looking into the distant dotted lights of Santa Monica with a slight chilly breeze. We left at around 1130pm, after just that one ride.

End of famous Route 66.
Inside Santa Monica Pier.
Pacific Park, where the rides were.
Ticket counter.
Stored value in ride card.
Ferris wheel.
View from the top of the pier

A short walk back to the carpark, we wanted to pay at the ticket machine but found the one at the 1st level to be not working. Luck wasn’t on my side as my stomach started to hurt as well. There was a mall near the parking structure and there were toilets there but they were just stubbornly locked. Without much of a choice, we quickly found another machine to pay for the tickets for 6ish dollars and drove back to the apartment.

So the 20mins back felt like eternity and unfortunately, I couldn’t make it back without an incident. Had to wash up for an extended period of time till about 1am before lights out.

Los Angeles 2018 Day 1 – Flight and Arrival at Los Angeles

Friday, we were both on leave and packing started really early after K went to school. 2 luggage, a couple of smaller carry-on, including a sports car shape one for K to put his toys, to cultivate the habit to pack his own travel bag.

We were in the premium economy class (it was a cheap deal, just 200 above the usual economy tickets, as we purchased it from its launch offer for the first direct long distance flight to LA) which allowed 2 luggage per person limited to 23kg each. We only have 2 luggage and the pain was to get both luggage to be below 23kg. We expected cold weather and with all the cold wear plus K taking one luggage on his own, I had to dump a few items into my haversack and weighed the rest with a portable luggage weigh. After a few iterations, the luggage was balanced. I sacrificed my cold wear and only brought a windbreaker.

Fast forward – after the afternoon nap, a bath and goodbyes, we left the house at 545pm for a 845pm flight in anticipation of weekday heavy traffic. We were right but it wasn’t all that bad. Arriving at 630pm, we alighted at gate 6 where check in was really quick, without many people.

Door to check in counter
Premium economy signboard.
Relatively empty.

After watching Daisy the robotic flower for a while, we went thru immigrations and went to the SG food street to have dinner. Had chicken rice and wanton noodles before going to the mini playground for K to play around before proceeding to board.

Card to get food at Singapore Foodstreet.
Playground in the airport.

Visited the toilet and was walking towards the gate at A12 when I received a call on my hp It was from the airport staff and I learnt that we were the last 3 to board! Quickly rushed to the gate and zoomed past the empty security to board the plane.

We entered the plane and went through the business section before reaching ours. There wasn’t any normal economy on this flight and the premium economy looked pretty full too. We quickly got into our spacious seats and put aside our bags on the overhead and under the seats. Because it was a 2-4-2 arrangements, mommy and K sat in front of me while I sat with another passenger.

The first thing I noticed was the gianormas screen and the ultra new interior of everything. It was the inaugural flight after all and I couldn’t help taking photos… lots of it. I guessed the passenger next to me was feeling this weird dude next to him. The massive cushy head phones were noise cancelling and I was falling asleep just wearing them (did stopped the show to take a short nap). There was free WiFi for a pathetic 30MB but I couldn’t connect. I put on Mission Impossible:Fallout as I had missed it previously and food was served after a snack of nuts and drinks.

Nice large headsets.
Large screen and pocket.
Connecting to Krisworld.
Complimentary tiny amount of free Wifi in the air.
Flight Wifi.

One of the benefits, Book the cook, allows pre-ordering of some choices of food, and I had pre-ordered chicken rice. It was delicious surprisingly! It even came with dark soya sauce. Ice cream from New Zealand Natural was served later. K had some fish patties that he ate and it must have been good enough for this little choosy boy. Mommy didn’t have what she wanted though, even though she booked the cook. There was a mixed up with the orders and there weren’t enough chicken rice so she had to settle for something else.

Chicken rice
New Zealand Natural Ice Cream.
Kids meal.

The entertainment system was not too good as the movie seemed to be stuttering for quite a bit earlier during the flight. The entire system might have been overloaded as it only became smoother when the lights dimmed on the plane and many went to snooze.

After bringing K to the toilet, I set up his recline which was indeed at a much lower recline than the normal economy, and he went to sleep. Took some time to note this first time experience for me before putting on the eye pads and going to sleep.

Eye masks and pressure socks for long distance flights.

My sleep didn’t last long. It wasn’t all that comfortable and being seated on the aisle seat, there wasn’t anywhere I could place my head while sleeping. Even though the incline was much more compared to normal economy seats, it wasn’t as flat as I wished for. Woke up to play some games before K woke up too.

I walked up and down the aisle with him for some time before he went back to watching shows and playing games. Thankfully there wasn’t much drama on the flight. Mommy woke up too but was feeling nausea towards the end of the flight.

I had my meal of Nasi lemak which was ok and K has some lasagna. Mommy was too nauseated to eat, must have been the turbulence.


K spent the last few hours playing game while I managed to catch Ready Player One and Oceans’ 8, drifting in and out of dreamland while at it.

Incredibles 2 for kids.

We landed at LAX with a bump, and while it was an inaugural but revitalized flight route, I was expecting water cannon welcome which didn’t occur. What did occur was a hold up at the entrance and a small goody bag to commemorate the occasion.

Goodie bag for inaugural flight.

It was a long walk to immigrations and fresh from the long flight, K was walking and pulling his luggage all the way, drawing couple of attention from people and praises of adoration. I was returning proud nods.

Hell began with a massive human traffic at the immigration counters as lines and lines of people are seen queuing and moving thru. Our flight coincided with a couple of others and we started at 856pm only to clear at 1025pm. The queue was not only slow due to few numbers of counters being open, we had to register on some of the green machines midway that didn’t seemed to help speed up the process as we had to retake the finger printing and photos anyway. There was a mobile app (Mobile passport app) that they were broadcasting over the PA but I didn’t have signal and my hands too tied up to try. K was tired halfway and slept most of the way in the queue and I carried him until we were almost reaching the counter before he woke up.

Long queues.
Line of machines for data entry for personnel.

We proceeded to the luggage carousel after clearing the customs without problem and found our luggage waiting for us already lined up on the ground. Picked up using the trolley as then we walked through customs without having them checked even though we declared that we brought some foodstuff, the officer just let us proceed.

Went outside arrivals hall and following the sign to the taxi stand, we got onto one taxi and was issued a paper receipt which I didn’t know what that was for. The driver punched in the address that the Airbnb personnel provided me and we were zooming down the 16mins to location.

Welcome to LA
Taxi line.

We arrived at Islands restaurant and I called the person as I didn’t see anyone there. He confirmed that I was in the right location and we disembarked with all the barang barang with a bill of USD50 with tips, which I thought was rather costly.

We met the Airbnb personnel shortly and he helped with the luggage. We took a short 5mins walk up to the apartment, along the way, a rat ran into mommy’s legs, giving her a surprise.

We went into a 2 room Airbnb apartment and was given the instructions mostly thru the SMS and also quickly thru face to face before he left us to our own.

Dining and kitchen.
Living room.
Master bedroom.
Sink outside bathroom.
Main bath and toilet.
2nd bedroom.
2nd toilet.

It was already way past eleven and the night was spent bathing in the tub, boiling water and watching downloaded cartoons on iPad. I fell asleep while waiting to bath but we all knocked off for the night rather easily.

Escape Plan to West USA November 2018

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to West USA:

Total duration 15D14N
Singapore is 12hr ahead of California, USA.
Flight time is 15hrs on Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Los Angeles and return flight is 17hrs on Singapore Airlines from Los Angeles to Singapore.

Friday evening flight on 2nd Nov at 845pm and arrival in Los Angeles in the evening of the 2nd Nov at 855pm. Return flight from Los Angeles on the 16th Nov at 1025pm and arrival in Singapore at 815am on the 18th Nov

Day 1 Flight and Arrival at Los Angeles
Day 2 Venice Beach, Venice Broadwalk and Santa Monica Pier
Day 3 LA, Hollywood and Griffith Observatory
Day 4 Las Vegas and Helicopter ride to Grand Canyon
Day 5 Drive to Grand Canyon and glamping under the stars
Day 6 From Grand Canyon to Reno
Day 7 Lake Tahoe
Day 8 San Francisco Golden Gate bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39
Day 9 Alcatraz cruise, Academy of Science and Powell Street
Day 10 San Francisco Premium Outlets
Day 11 Coastal drive to Prismo beach
Day 12 Detour to Camarillo Premium Outlets and Disneyland Pier Hotel
Day 13 Disney California Adventure Park
Day 14 San Diego Sea World and Gasclamp Quarters
Day 15 Citadel Premium Outlets and Home Sweet Home

This escape plan was an impromptu due to the availability of good deals. Singapore Airlines announced the revival of the direct long distance flight to Los Angeles and with premium economy seats going at just $1328, only $200 more than the economy seats, it would be a sin to miss!

Budget nature: Budget buster 

It wasn’t a fantastic time to be spending USD as SGD was weak near the end of the year compared to the earlier months. The savings from the tickets were gone in a flash due to travelling in the state with the highest costs of living in the USA, lots of shopping and Disneyland.

Complexity: Easy

Driving around was not difficult even in multiple lanes highways. Tolls can be a little tricky but reading it up on Google helped. Jams were common in cities but with patience, you would still reached your destination, albeit in the dark. Google maps worked like a charm and pulling to the side of the road by the police for speeding wasn’t too daunting too!