Pomona, Irvine and Apple Valley

My five day tour with Johan had to come to and end at last, 548.6 miles later, so yesterday we went separate ways. Before that we visited some more of his friends in Pomona and Irvine. Newport Beach in sunset was just so beautiful! And cute little birds, who looked like tiny kiwi birds, ran around where the water had sunk into the sand to find food. Together with a group of friends we later enjoyed a hot tub open for the neighborhood and then we watched Frozen. I’d say it was a perfect evening!
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In Irvine we also visited Johan’s friend’s university, who’s mascot was an anteater (myrslok). It was a campus which reminded me of so many college movies, with sorority and fraternity booths, pretty architecture and concrete paths. We payed a quick visit to the beach, Corona Del Mar, which is another part of Newport Beach, and even in the day offered some iconic scenery. For lunch I visited the mythological place of In N Out for the first time, a hamburger place with the said to be the best. And guess what? It truly was. The strawberry milkshake I then enjoyed was out of this world! I will definitely eat there a lot more while I’m here, and the best thing is: They can be found in all of California!
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In Irvine I met one of Johan’s friends, Briana, and we instantly became friends. So instead of going back to Monterey and San Francisco at the moment, I decided to stay with Briana in Apple Valley for a while before heading down to Los Angeles. Apple Valley is a desert town, situated somewhere in between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I’m excited to see a different part of California now. Off to eat now! 🙂

Malibu Moment

Our trip continued and took us further south in California. After a short stay in Santa Barbara to eat at McDonalds we continued to Malibu. There we met a couple of Johan’s friends and truly had a blast. First we went over to Santa Monica and had dinner at Bubba Gump’s. Shrimps and pear and berry salad. Yummy! Everything there was Forrest Gump themed and the staff came up in the middle of our meal to quiz us about the movie. Different for sure 😛
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We then moved on to Johan’s friend’s house in the Malibu hills. It was a scary drive in the dark for sure, we were so close to the edge the whole time! The view from the house was marvelous. One would not want to be afraid of heights. We had a late night kick back with lots of games and laughs. It was a blast!
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On Saturday we chilled for half the day at the house and visited the chicken coop, which had such a cute chicken, but oh so scary (I don’t really like birds). Later we had some excellent sushi downtown and then we went to get my first real Doughnut in the states. Finally! 😀
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Pumped Up Kicks in SLO

Here’s a cover me and Johan made of Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. In the video we’re playing in the streets of San Luis Obispo, give it a listen!

171 miles South

Today, me and Johan spent morning until noon in San Luis Obispo together with Johans‘s friend Nick. We went around to different places downtown to jam a bit. It was great fun! We even visited the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in SLO and performed for the staff. It was legit!
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From Monterey to SLO

We started off our trip by grabbing some delicious Chinese food and loading the car with Milk Duds, Doritos and water. The we drove south along the coast of California, just as I’ve seen in so many movies before. There are no words to describe how utterly awesome it was. The drive from Monterey to SLO offered some breathtaking scenery. As it got dark a little while after we left, we stopped to gaze at the stars lighting up the night sky. We could even make out the milky way, stretching across the sky like a belt made of fog.
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About 40 miles outside of San Luis Obispo we encountered a man with a bike standing on the side of the road. Johan stopped the car and we asked if the man needed any help. He said he thought he had it under control. When we asked if he wanted a ride he could not accept our offer since it would count as cheating. It turned out he had been biking from Seattle and was going all the way to Argentina, exclusively riding his bike. That was not even the coolest part. His bike was not a regular one. It was a unicycle – or half an invisible bicycle, as Johan would put it.

Lights On the Wall

Me and my friend Johan, whom I’m visiting in Monterey, have been jamming a lot and we are having great fun making covers. Today we’ll be travelling south in California to visit friends in San Luis Obispo, Malibu, Pomona, Irvine and Apple Valley as it seems. I’m really excited about this trip! I’m sure street performing will happen 🙂

Below, you’ll find a video of our cover of Counting Stars, by One Republic. Our duet, Lights On the Wall (L.O.W), is named after the Christmas lights hanging on the wall in Johan’s living room.

Rock Climbing in Big Sur

Today, I got the amazing opportunity of going with Johan’s friends to Big Sur for some rock climbing. It was truly incredible! My first time rock climbing, and basically first time climbing anywhere. I don’t think there could have been a better place for it. Words fail me when trying to explain the breathtaking scenery. I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
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Breakfast at the Beach

This morning, we took our breakfast down to the beach. Grapefruits (really cheap at a farmers market), giant muffins (the best!) and some Doritos made up our breakfast. Tasty! The iconic view of the ocean and the sound of the waves crashing was of course accompanied by us jamming. Enjoying the sun, playing music and singing was truly a great way to begin the day!
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Later we went to the famous aquarium of Monterey, in Pacific Grove. For me though, the walk there offered an unforgettable experience. We walked past one of many beaches, when Johan suddenly asked “Do you see that?”, and pointed towards the beach. It took a while for me to realize that what I thought were big rocks, were in fact seals. The beach was packed with seals! It was a fence separating the road and the beach – probably good since I’d probably would have run down to cuddle with them otherwise – but you could see them clearly enough. One seal was slowly making it’s way up from the water onto the beach by way of jumping with it’s whole body, and it was probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen!
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We got to experience another really cool thing at the aquarium. In one of the tanks we saw a large octopus, sleeping and chilling in a corner. After a little while though it stirred and moved across the tank in search for food. That gave me the pic of the day!
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In the evening we went to a really nice restaurant on Canary Road, where we had their famous Clam Chowder and also marinated artichoke. We just eyed the dessert as we were to full to eat another bite. We also passed Bubba Gump, the restaurant named after the famous company in Forrest Gump!
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Just now we’ve been jamming and performed a mini-gig for Johan’s roomie. As he recorded some of it I’ll hopefully be able to post some of it. We are forming a great set list and as we’re having great fun making covers, it’s forming into an awesome music project. We even started to think about names for our duet 🙂 More on that later. Such a good day.
Music makes you glow, all worries are forgotten and you are in the creative zone, probably the best feeling in the world.

Waffles, Santa Cruz and Beach Bonfire

My first real day in Monterey was unbelievably sunny and warm. Apparently, it is not usually this hot (about 30°C) during the Californian winter. It really was a nice contrast from snowy Sweden 🙂
We started off the day by making Belgian waffles using Bisquick mix, typically American as it seemed. I ate mine with the best Canadian maple syrup there is (according to Johan, and I can only agree). It was delicious! Then me and my host Johan went for a walk in the morning to see the neighborhood and eventually found a children’s playground – they certainly don’t have many. Johan explained it was only allowed for the people in the neighborhood to go there, but since he lived there we were safe to play in the playground, which of course we did.
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After that me and Johan’s roomie went for a drive along the coast of Monterey, which was beautiful! The scenery was cinematic and the breeze carried a scent of salt to the car. In the evening me and Johan visited a really nice Italian restaurant named Il Vechio (not entirely sure of the spelling) and got to eat freshly made pasta and probably the tastiest dessert I’ve ever had with chocolate and cream. Yum yum yum. After that we sat down in a nearby park by the water and jammed for a while. I kept going on about how amazing it was that we could still be outside without freezing our toes off. I probably still haven’t grasped that I’m here.
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On day 2 we made bacon and scrambled eggs with spinach, bell pepper and mushrooms for breakfast. When we went to Target the day before I also managed to get a hold of the largest jug of ice tea I’ve ever seen, containing the best ice tea I’ve ever had. Perfect combination. I love walking around in American stores, a lot of things have funny names and everything is super sized.
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For the day we went to Santa Cruz, not even an hour drive from Monterey. A surfers paradise with a large pier, the boardwalk (a smaller theme park) and an arcade center, all situated at a beautiful beach with the usual light and soft sand. We had picnic, worked on hour tans and jammed for a bit in the sun. Then we headed over to the arcade center and tried out the dancing stage which was a bit irregular, either really easy or really difficult. Johan then aced Pacman and I showed off my shooting skills and won some Festival tickets 🙂 Then I got the converter so I was able to charge my computer, good investment for sure!
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We finished of the day by visiting Carmel, the rich area in Monterey. We went to the beach there and met up with Johan’s friends by a bonfire, this was one of the beaches were bonfires are legal so a number of bonfires lit up the whole beach. We played some guitar, socialized and had a really good time before going back to the house and turning in for the night.
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So far so good. I can’t believe I’m in this wonderful place.

On American Soil

Today I’ve had a long flight, about 16 hours in total with the transfers included. I’ve visited the airport of Reykjavik and flown over the majestic landscape of Iceland. I thereafter ended up on an 8 hour flight to Seattle, where I was greeted into the US with a bunch of questions about my stay I have never gotten in any other country I’ve visited before. If I carry any plants was probably the weirdest question. Other questions had the purpose of gathering information about how long I was planning to stay (a return ticket is a must), what my budget was and how I was planning on traveling in the country. Arriving at San Francisco airport I was picked up by my friend Johan, and we traveled by car to see the exquisite view of San Francisco by night, before heading towards Monterey.
So here I am now, in a house close to the sea at the coast of California. I have already begun enthusing about the differences in our material daily lives. For instance, the house has doors with doorknobs – very unusual for me and I had to ask how to look the door. The sink contains one of those classic disposal systems you always come across in movies. And everything is huge! Stove, washing machines (those classic ones with lid on the top, lovely!), tables, chairs, sofas. If I was shorter I would feel like Alice in Wonderland drinking a bottle of shrinking potion. After being awake for more than 24 hours, I will try to sleep on the comfortable couch that I now occupy.
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