We arrived at LAX from Panama, after being told we were on standby as the plane was “overweight” (in other words, overbooked), we sat with total strangers for 6.5 hours and we arrived tired but excited. We caught a bus to Hollywood (LAX Flyaway which was $8 USD/$12 NZD each) and then walked less than 2 miles to our Airbnb. Our Airbnb cost $109 NZD per night. We got settled in and chatted away to our lovely host Rukkmini before walking along the walk of fame to find dinner. We found a shop with kebabs, but they didn’t match up to Turkish kebabs at home! The next morning we had the intention of walking to the Hollywood sign, but instead we managed to haggle a city tour (see the Hollywood sign, celebrity homes, rodeo drive, etc) for $15 USD/$21 NZD each. The tour itself was ok, and we didn’t get as close to the sign as we had hoped, but we did see some things which we wouldn’t have otherwise. We spent the afternoon planning/relaxing/napping before we went to the TCL Chinese Theatre to see Ghost in the Shell in 3D IMAX. The movie was good and the theatre was absolutely beautiful! Tickets cost $45 USD/$64 NZD for both of us. On our last morning, we went to a cafe with Rukkmini to chat and people-watch before heading to Santa Clarita.
After some issues with our first Uber driver not picking us up (he drove right past and cancelled our booking!), the second one decided to avoid highways, meaning a 35 minute drive turned into 90 minutes! This cost $21 USD/$30 NZD. But it was fun and we learnt a bit about the country Belize and saw a few more suburbs then usual. We stayed at another Airbnb in Santa Clarita which was gorgeous, and our hosts Michael and Tori were so kind and generous. This cost $100 NZD per night. We spent 2 full days at Six Flags Magic Mountain which was intense! We got a season pass each for $80 USD/$114 NZD (the same price as a one day pass purchased at the gate). Each day we either took an uber or got a lift in as we were staying just 5 miles away, which was fast and affordable. We highly recommend going, but avoid the VR roller coaster as the graphics are delayed and the whiplash gave us vertigo. We recommend going on Tatsu, Superman, Lex Luther’s drop and X2. On our last day in Santa Clarita, we picked up our rental car from Avis (costing $69 NZD) and were off to the Mojave desert. We did some research and found a campground for $12 a night with toilets (Mid Hills Campground). The night was freezing and even in the car, we were so cold. Welcome to the desert!