My California Dream Vacation

All the leaves are brown
and the sky is grey
I’ve been for a walk
on a winter’s day

I’d be safe and warm
if I was in L.A
California Dreamin’
on such a winter’s day

Lines from a classic psychedelic / folk rock song by the Mamas and the Papas, ‘California Dreaming‘ (1965).  I also love the Beach Boys’ cover.  I used to listen to this song a lot before I went to San Diego.  Last weekend, Wilson Phillips performed a cover that made me browse Youtube just to be able to listen to this classic all over again.  Here’s reminiscing of those good times in California. 


Day after Christmas, year not so long ago, I was aboard a PR flight bound for Los Angeles.  It was my first long-haul flight, all by myself, and with that I prefered to book a flight with Philippine Airlines for an ‘at home’ vibe.  I instantly jibed with my Fil-Am seatmates, and they talked about their lives in CA and those they left behind in our home country.  The conversations were truly an eye opener.  Instantly, the first-hand accounts become part of my life education.  Hours in the plane were well-spent!

I was literally pinching my arm once in a while during that 12-hr flight. It was real, I was finally on with my dream vacation.  Inside, I was singing with excitement – California Dreamin’ on a winter’s day!

Flight landed at LAX, approximately 7PM.  The California winter chill was truly shocking to the ribs for someone like me who thrived in tropical climate.  My family fetched me from LAX and we headed for San Diego – my home away from home!!!  =)

Timezone gap was foreign to me.  I slept through the night. Next day, after a hearty lunch at home, my cousin Sarali and I went shopping.  I was loving the town centers that I instantly bought 3 pairs of shoes, a bag, and a pink pair of Everlast boxing gloves for my training back in Manila (I was to lose 40.00lbs through a fitness routine which included boxing).  Very promising stay (Yikes! I was extra careful not to break the bank).  The next three weeks were spent visiting family friends, driving around National City, shopping at outlet stores, chillin’ in Las Vegas…and munching on steak, fries, and everything nice (meaning, more steak!).  I forgot about what I was doing at work in Manila for three weeks.  The inner child in me got a free rein for the rest of my stay in CA.

Here’s a mix of fun stuff and ideas, stamped – Meowth’s California Dream Vacation:

1.  Driving – For me, long leisure drives or road trips are therapeutic.  My uncle and I took turns at the steering wheel on our way to Vegas and back to San Diego via freeway.

Freeway: California – Nevada

Sunset – Otay Ranch

2.  I was so excited to see Shamu and Friends up close and personal.  I got to bring home a plush dog, which I named Lester.  I got him from a target game at SeaWorld San Diego.

San Diego SeaWorld presents Shamu

A charming sea-lion – he wants fish! =)

3.  Legoland is a wonderland!

New York! New York! – an amazing cityscape by Lego

The Capitol by Lego

Lego’s Fun Town Academy

4.  Nevermind the 2hr ++ drive to Anaheim; heading out for the happiest place on earth called DISNEYLAND!  The magic got into me; queued at Mickey’s place for a meet-and-greet with Mickey and Minnie!  I talked my cousins into doing a jump shot (photo), and we were laughing out loud while (we were) at it.  People were staring, but after our shot, we saw a couple of kids who were giddy over their version of the ultimate jump shot.

I was part of a happier crowd @ Disney Anaheim!

Chillaxin’ @ Mickey’s House

5.  Shopping.  I filled three cartons with shopping finds – two of which I shipped in advance to the Philippines.  We, Filipinos call these cartons, ‘Balikbayan box’.

Federal offense? NOT Guilty. Shopping??? Charge!!! Uh-oh

6.  Lovin’ the Pinoy food at Tita’s Kitchenette in National City – love, love, love their banana fritters or turon (in Tagalog), complete with jackfruit bits or langka (in Tagalog).  I ate those turon in the parking lot, sort of when I started to miss home – I ate turon as I watched cars plied by the plaza.  Dreyer’s and Haagen Dazs’ were relatively cheaper, so I ended up being the only person in the grocery who bought ice cream on a winter.  =)

My favorite Pinoy fastfood – Tita’s Kitchenette, East Plaza Blvd., National City

7.  New Year celebration in the Philippines is about family, and it is very much the same with the majority of Fil-Am in San Diego.

8.  Las Vegas seems lifeless under the morning sun, but it transforms into the grandest place under the night sky.  View from the Stratosphere – Top of the World was amazing – under a canopy of stars and over a blanket of the brightest city lights.  Bellagio’s Dancing Waters is a classic outdoor production not to be missed.

Absolutely Vegas! =)

Stratosphere view deck

Bellagio Dancing Waters

9.  I was basking in the snow at  Mount Charleston (the mountain resort is about an hour’s drive from Vegas, that part going to Reno).  We never have snow in this part of Asia where I live.

Enjoyin’ a day out in the snow with my cousin Sarali. =)

10.  A little downtime at Shady Glade had a rejuvenating effect, as well.

Home away from home =)

After a three-week vacation in California, I was ready to go back to Manila…to go back to one of life’s reality called work…to start a new chapter – aligned with my goals for the New Year.  Energy level:  high-five!  =)


2 comments on “My California Dream Vacation

  1. Mmmmm…I heard National city has really good Filipino food. All I know is that there’s a Lollicup there for my obsession = Boba!

  2. Ann Sales says:

    Boba Milk Tea or Frappe? =) If you happen to be in Manila – try Serenitea.
    You might wanna swing by Tita’s next time you visit National City. Here’s a link to a review published by a FilAm blogger:

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