Omg we're here! So much to say. And I haven't even got the Universal Studios photos up. Ok, first things first, ummmm.....where do I want to start?? What thing should be first?
Ok, how about final overall summary and impressions of California:
1: They really have big city life down to a tee. The highways are massive and well signed. If you miss an exit, don't worry about it, there's another one in 60 feet and you can get yourself back to where you were supposed to be straight away. When driving cross Canada, if you miss an exit, you're stuck driving the wrong way for what feels like an eternity. There's giant box stores everywhere to accommodate the shopping of thousands of people, and there's GIANT signs telling you how to get to them all. Parking is an art, after a certain time in the downtown areas of the cities, the streetside parking turns into valet parking for all the big restaurants and eateries. Genius!! You don't have to worry about finding parking, just hand over your keys!
2: Smog. Smog. and more...you guessed it, SMOG! When we went to Griffith Observatory (where James Dean filmed Rebel Without a Cause) you could barely see the city skyline because of all the smog. It's stiffling. That's the bad part about metropolitan life I guess.
3: There's always something to do! And good things! There's movies, theatre shows, nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, seedy jazz bars, even the wax museum is open until 1am. Being the owner of a creative mind, I love to attend the theater or ballet or opera and Los Angeles seems to have a million things going on all at once. Ahhhh culture.
4: hmmmm... I got to number four and then started talking to my new roommate and now the point I was going to make has fallen right out of my head. It'll come to me. Just wait for it.
okaaay. While we're waiting for that thought to return, let's talk now about my first impressions of Orlando!
It's much less smoggy which I love. The air tastes better. It's humid. Even though we arrived in the evening, it was cool but still humid. I can't wait for summer!! It's going to be ridiculous! The Disney staff accomodation is even more impressive than I imagined. It's MASSIVE. There's 4 different complexes, 3 of which are close together and the other one is further away. Vista Way is closer to the parks and further from the other accom because it was the first complex Disney built. Then later they realized they needed too much more housing and just made 3 giant complexes in their own little area. It's seriously like little suburbs. I'll get some pictures tomorrow in the daylight. I arrived to discover that I am the 6th roommate in my apartment. 6 girls, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. I share a room and a bathroom with a girl from New York who works in one of the restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. She's very nice! I've only briefly met 2 of the other roommates and they were so nice. They had little welcome signs made for me and even one on my bed saying 'Welcome new roommate, this is your bed!' So that was really nice. They take security VERY seriously here. Lindsey and I are housed in the same complex and we went for some groceries and when you come back into the complex they security guards check your ID. We got scolded for not walking on the sidewalk, for true. It was possibly the nicest scolding I've ever received. He said 'First of all ladies, welcome home. Second of all, we've built these sidewalks just for you so that you are safe here, please be so kind as to walk on them. And again, welcome home." When you think about the magnitude of the staff situation here, it's understandable. This many people in such close quarters could get very out of hand very quickly, so I feel safe for sure. I'm going to have to be very careful to not put a toe out of line while I'm here. If there's anything I've learned in my short time here so far, it's that the Americans take safety and security VERY seriously.
OH!!! #4 just came to me!!: I couldn't help but notice in LA that there weren't that many people on the street asking for money. Compared to Victoria where there are several homeless people on every street, it was very interesting to see so few in such a big city. When Linds and I were driving around in West Hollywood looking for a Best Buy, I took a left instead of a right and all of a sudden there were homeless people everywhere. It was unreal, one block down from a clean bustling city street there were people on the ground doing drugs and passed out and yelling. And not just a few, in the one block detour we did we saw somewhere near 25 less fortunate folk. And then BAM, clean street, pretty Best Buy with shiny happy employees ready to make my day better. It was really surreal to see that kind of sudden change. This however, was not the saddest moment of the day. On our way home, at a stop on an exit ramp off the freeway, there was a man trying to sell flowers and oranges at the side of the road. This struck me as far sadder. I think that it's because unlike the people laying on the street earlier in the day, this man was trying to do something to make his life better, he was making an effort to make some money, really trying. But on the side of a freeway exit ramp? It seemed like a perfect exercise in futility, and it really made me sad. And also very grateful for all of the opportunities that I have in my life. If I ever see that man again, I'm going to buy a flower.
Ok, it's almost 2am here. Although it's 11pm my time, I have to be up soon, and as we all know, sleeping isn't really my forte. So, more tomorrow!! Tomorrow we have some fun Disney orientation stuff and we get our fancy ID badges so we can take the busses and get past security at our apartments and.....most importantly.....GET INTO THE PARKS!!!! EEEEEEEEE