A Travellerspoint blog

A Wedding in Santa Barbara

Day 6

Today was the big wedding day between Declan’s mum, Andrea, and Kent (an American). The wedding was set to start at 6pm, with the buns boys having to get ready by 2pm so we had quite a bit of time in the morning to see more of SB.

Started off with breakfast at the Finch & Fork – the hotel’s restaurant – we sat with Declan’s uncle and grandpa and I can say I learnt a lot about world politics haha For breakfast I had the most amazing homemade granola – yet another reason to come back to SB one day to re-experience it! I cannot even begin to describe the crunchiness of it! Delicious!
Headed to Macy’s to check out some deals and ended up getting 30% off because a) I’m an international visitor and thus instantly get 10% off and b) signing up for a loyalty card saves another 20%!. I had accidently discovered a hidden Fossil wallet which was priced at $55 but I got it for 40 – and it’s real leather! Bargain hunting! Caught a trolley bus down to the waterfront but went the wrong way so we ended up paying a dollar instead of 50 cents! Had lunch at Chipotle again where the boys left me to go prepare for the wedding and I continued walking around being a tourist – bought a nice wedding gift and wandered through the stores again.

Spent most of the afternoon getting ready for the wedding, I was quite excited as it was only the second wedding I’ve attended in my lifetime! It was a small ceremony with close family and friends, with Australians and Americans mixing in a party of about 40. I was quite amusingly listed on the list of guests as ‘Lara Bester – Declan’s girlfriend’. Since Declan was best man and had wedding duties to do I wandered around mixing in with the family. When people asked me who I was I would just say “I’m Declan’s girlfriend’ – and since Declan had already told everyone that I was there they instantly knew that I was Lara – the midget South African whose going out with Declan hahah

Andrea looked absolutely beautiful in her wedding dress and I have to admit I almost cried at least 3 times! Each guest got to release a monarch butterfly – symbolic of all the travel across oceans and deserts Andrea and Kent have had to do over the last 2 years to spend time together – it really was a beautiful ceremony.

Received many compliments on my dress which was a nice end to the day – definitely recycling this dress for grad ball next year (super prepared!). Declan and I did make quite the attractive couple – and I was super tall in my 14cm heels – the things I have to do to fit in in the land of giant Honybuns!


After great speeches and celebrations finally got to bed close to 2am!

Fantastic experience getting to meet the whole family and look like some Bond couple at the wedding – Declan did look like he stepped out of a James Bond film!

That’s a wrap! Bester out!

Posted by larabester 20:51 Archived in USA Tagged wedding santa barbara james bond Comments (0)

Santa Barbara!

Day 5 of trip!

Today is my big 3 hour train trip through LA countryside to the coastal mecca of Santa Barbara for the buns wedding. I booked my train ticket last minute and was lucky enough to get an empty seat next to me for a nice relaxation trip up North.

My morning was a bit hectic, had to run down to FedEx to drop my luggage off for shipment to college, run back pick up my backpack and then run back to the train station about 1.5km away to catch the subway to LA downtown to catch another train to Santa Barbara!

I got my 5km power walk in this morning. Hollywood is a nice place but West Hollywood has scatters of homeless people and some quite sketchy looking people openly smoking pot in the streets so I was quite cautious about dragging 22kg of luggage about 1.5km down Sunset Boulevard at 8am in the morning. I either looked like an idiot tourist whose been beat up because I didn’t have time to put makeup on, or a very classy homeless girl who somehow managed to steal luggage bags from someone else – I’m hoping I looked like the latter! Put on my best ‘you talk or even look at me I’ll destroy you and you never wish you opened your mouth’ look and I think it worked pretty well. Some guy asked me if I had a magnet and I said nah and kept storming off with my 22kg of luggage!

Then had to rush all the way back to the hostel another 1.5 km away to pick up my 13kg backpack which on my tiny frame looks huge! Got quite a few comments from passers-by about my huge pack! Probably only looks so huge because I’m so small! Pretty impressed by myself that I caught the subway and navigated the streets with no screw ups because I made my train to Santa Barbara with 7 minutes to spare!

The train ride was very nice, coastal scenery on the left and desert on the right. I had no one sitting next to me so I could stretch out and have a nice snooze while typing about my trip!

Got off at Santa Barbara and had to walk uphill with my 13kg pack to Chipotle (this awesome Mexican takeaway/restaurant place which serves yum burritos!). Anyway, as soon as I arrived in Santa Barbara I fell in love with the place. It’s definitely a place I could spent a couple weeks holidaying in, very relaxed, fantastic shopping! Even the architecture is very aesthetically pleasing to the eye! It’s almost like a blend of Tuscan roof tiles and a mix of whites and browns for the walls. Absolutely beautiful! Definitely putting this place on my list of places to visit again!

So the buns family stayed at the Canary Hotel just off State Street (the main street in SB) and unfortunately there wasn’t room for us so we stayed in an AirBnB – for those who don’t know what this is it’s like people renting their private rooms out to others, very big money saving!). It was about a 5 minute walk away - about six blocks. We joked that we would have kidneys stolen at ‘Eduardo’s’ studio but SB is quite safe.

Finished off the day chilling with the other buns siblings, watching the food network and getting ready for the big family dinner – first time in history that the whole family had apparently gotten together since Declan’s uncles all live in Singapore! Penny/Nan was taking photos like crazy! It was lovely having the opportunity to meet the whole family and we had some magnificent food – I had sea bass and of course chocolate pudding for dessert.

- Santa Barbara is beautiful with its surrounding mountains and coastal scenery
- Everything is cheap
- Can I have a holiday place here?

WTF moments?:
- water is still disgusting
- even mild burritos are too hot for me…come at me 3 weeks in Mexico haha

- the walk sign for traffic lights don’t have a beep noise so I keep missing the sign to walk (quite frustrating!)
- not everyone in Declan’s family are giants (it’s a relieve that I’m not the token midget!)
- As soon as I open my mouth and people can hear I’m from Australia they instantly become more interested in me – got 2 phone numbers from sales assistants which I found a bit yucky – maybe I should fake an American accent for them to leave me alone!


Posted by larabester 23:15 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Magic Mountain Six Flags - Extreme Rollercoastering!

Day 4

Today I spent the day with Buns and co again – these guys take their rollercoasters extremely seriously – no baby rides, only extreme rollercoasters. For someone who only did my first rollercoaster a year and a half ago this day was going to be a challenge. Magic Mountain Six Flags sports some of the most extreme rides in the world!

We had breakfast at a diner (my very first experience). Paid 3.99 for 2 huge pancakes, bacon and eggs – which is ridiculous! Massive servings for little money, only in America! We even got a whole jug of freshly squeezed OJ for $6, in Australia one glass of freshly squeezed OJ costs that much! They had this thing called Biscuit and Gravy – it’s bad trans fats in a cup! Americans can eat some pretty strange things!

Magic Mountain is like the icon of adolescent summers! The park is absolutely huge with the most impressive rides I’ve ever seen (I’ll attach some POV youtube clips for people to see what I’ve been on!) We bought this Gold Flash Pass which allows us to skip the lines and have priority access to the rides – didn’t have to line up all day! The youtube clips don't really do it justice but these rides were seriously out there! Highest, fastest, ridiculous rides!


We went on almost every single ride with a total of 18 roller coaster rides for the day! There was one where you face the ground the whole time, one where you’re standing up, others where it’s the biggest rollercoaster drops, the fastest rollercoasters, the most loops in a row, the greatest G-force! For those back home who don’t think I had the guts to go on the rides I did! And I didn’t even do my characteristic roller coaster high pitched squeal! Only on the rides that were completely crazy with G-Force – like Superman which went at 100 miles and Goliath which actually went so fast I felt like someone was trying to break my chest in half :| We also went on a ride that was 36 years old called the Collosus! Had so much fun on this day, can’t wait for the next rollercoaster experience! Instead of doing a squeal I now just do a manic laughter of pure joy! Adrenaline junkie has arisen!

Everything at the park is deep friend and fatty – we eventually found a sushi place though – a rarity apparently! It was a really big disappointment to see that every single drink contained high fructose corn syrup – so unhealthy. Every thing is so ridiculously sweet. My powerade with the corn syrup in it even stained my lips orange – an indication of how unhealthy it was. I’ve vowed to only drink water for the rest of my stay in America till next year.

The water in this country is disgusting – missing Melbourne water. It’s chockers with fluoride and tastes like metal!

Absolutely loved the last 2 days – having a tonne of fun and can’t wait for the next daily adventure on my big trip! Here are some photos to enjoy! Didn't take many because we were too busy having fun!


Much love!
Bester out!

Posted by larabester 21:01 Comments (0)

Off to Malibu with Buns and Co!

Day 3!

Today was an early start with a super steep hike in Runyon Canyon just outside Hollywood to see another smoggy view of LA downtown in the distance. It was an intense hike! At that stage during the day it had gotten to about high 20s to low 30s and the sun was shining down hotly! Apparently, people only go exercising at Runyon Canyon when the sun is out and hot at midday with their shirts off. It seems like a bit of an ego boost, because when the weather gets cooler (and no doubt more bearable to run down a freaking canyon) no one exercises because there is no sun to illuminate their unnaturally tanned bodies hahah Also bought some cheap Nike shoes today for 100 instead of the 160 I would pay back home for the same type. On a side note – the architecture in America is fantastic! The guy in my photos is David - he's from London on a 2 week placement to study architecture!


Today I was shipped off with Buns and co to experience some luxury and to see some more sights of LA. We drove in this massive 9 person seater truck which we called the ‘freedom’. Ironic because it didn’t really have much freedom to drive at all because it took up so much space!

We set off for Malibu for a day at the beach using this really windy mountain pass which looked spectacular – unfortunately didn’t get gopro footage of it but it was beautiful. Drove through Malibu and it was so typical summer American it was awesome! Lifeguard houses like on Baywatch, a tonne of people! We decided to go to Venice Beach instead 30 min down the road which is another LA icon to visit.

Venice Beach looked exactly like what you see on TV, shops everywhere, they have an exercise region called ‘Muscle Beach’ and in typical egotistic LA fashion people go exercise with their shirts off in the ‘arena’. Bought a groovy hat at one of the pop up shops.

For dinner we had salad and some spicy burritos, went shopping at this ‘grocery store’ called Wholefoods. OMG I think I’m in love, I never want to leave that store! They have a salad bar, everything is health orientated so it’s all organic and natural! I wish Australia had a store like this – it’s like health stores in Melbourne but the size of a Costco!


- Walking everywhere – my legs are getting fit!
- Cheap shoes everywhere
- Venice Beach has a $40 Medical Marijuana Evaluation and they wear green suits – thoroughly entertaining


WTF America?:
- Everyone exercising at midday when the sun is out in full force with shirts off
- Margarine is called Vegetable Oil
- People exercising with dogs at midday and the dogs get overheated – basic knowledge people


- Funny how everyone roller skates on the beach
- Everything in this country tastes sweet.


Posted by larabester 20:20 Archived in USA Tagged canyon malibu buns selfies runyon Comments (0)

Welcome to Hollywood Hills!

Tours, Car Chases, British & Burritos

sunny 30 °C

First day in LA!

Since I arrived at my hostel at midnight last night and woke up at 9:30 this morning I was pretty worried about what I would do with my day since I hadn't met anyone yet! Had some errands to do like pick up a US mobile number, but decided to screw it and went on a tour of the Hollywood sign instead! Best decision!


Walked a pretty steep hill to reach the Hollywood sign. Apparently back in the 70s some students changed the WOOD to WEED, because LA is a massive weed capital. You can literally get these weed wafts about every 10m as you walk down Sunset Boulevard in the Woods (slang for Hollywood).

Met 2 British guys, a Swedish girl and another Aussie studying vet science, was really nice :) We went to the Observatory together and grabbed 'din dins' while we talked about all the Aussie slang I had! It was so nice making so many friends when I was worried that I wouldn't, travel is the greatest! OMG the smog is ridiculous! We also witnessed many police chases and a helicopter following what we thought was a car chase!


Had a burrito for dinner. Was 800 calories...no wonder the Americans are so fat!


- so easy to make friends, I haven't been alone all day!
- -Spent less than $10 on foods (social experiment on how little I can spend on food)
- Got a loyalty card at the local 'grocery store' even though I'm only in LA for 3 days (saved $3 on sunscreen!)
- Spent 0.58 cents on a bottle of water
- Caught the subway - was so noisy (missing you Melbourne trains!)
- Nike Free Runs are only $84! Love you America and shopping!
- 2L bottle of vodka was only $30!


What the...?
- Had what I thought was jam on toast this morning...it was some crap called Grape Jelly...wtf Americans?
- Didn't have time to buy sunscreen...I now look like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and I'm going to a wedding in 3 days :|
- There's a tax on everything. So you think you're paying 99 cents for a 2L bottle of Coke, but really you have to add another 30 cents from

- The smog is so thick you literally can't see anything in the distance

Posted by larabester 21:48 Archived in USA Tagged in day first la! Comments (2)

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