I am very confused by Los Angeles. I was told I was visiting the second largest city in the country, but Los Angeles is less of a city and more of a collection of towns connected by congested roadways. However, those towns are incredibly beautiful and very different from one another. There are the beaches and canals in Venice, the traditional city buildings in Downtown, the posh Beverly Hills, the hipster Silver Lake, and the classic Hollywood scene.

Los Angeles is not a walking city, not in the slightest. When my mom and I asked for recommendations for a breakfast place we could walk to from our hotel, we were met with confusion on how we could possibly want to walk anywhere. Lewiston is no walking-haven, but I was not expecting Los Angeles to be so spread out.

Luckily my mom has her life together, so we had our days planned in ways that mostly made sense travel-wise. I had no idea that Downtown Los Angeles was far from Venice Beach, which was also no where near Silver Lake, which is far from Hollywood, which is not even close to West Hollywood, which is on the opposite side of town from Santa Monica. Only an expert of the board game Ticket to Ride would be able to perfectly navigate Los Angeles.

A trip to Los Angeles would not be complete without going on a hike. We went to Runyon Canyon – which I later found out is known as the “Starbucks of hikes.” Nonetheless, it offered a great view of the city. I built up a sweat and was thoroughly out of breath once I got to the top, so it felt like a substantial hike to me. It also felt like every single dog was being walked on the canyon, with one woman walking at least 10 dogs at once.

Now, I love traffic as much as next person, but Los Angeles takes traffic to the next level. My stomach dropped every time we approached the freeway; it was like getting an exam back and knowing you failed. It took a half hour to get anywhere: either you suffer through freeway traffic or you take the back roads that also somehow have traffic and enough stop signs to cover the whole country.

This will be my only La La Land reference, but the movie falsely advertised what the Griffith Observatory was like. In the movie, they could go at night, the place was empty and they could just drive right up to it. I do not know what alternate universe the movie was taking place in, but the real Griffith Observatory was certainly not empty. We went around 8:00 p.m. on Thursday night, not expecting a huge crowd. We encountered traffic (of course) on the way to the observatory since one of the two roads going to the observatory was closed. It turned out the road was closed because a large tour bus got stuck, blocking the whole road. It was a mess, and it felt like the bus had brought hundreds of people to the observatory because it was absolutely packed.

I braved the surprisingly cold night to wait in line to see Venus and fought for a spot to get the perfect picture. The tour bus caused us to get off schedule and we started to get hungry. Our situation became dire once we realized no Uber driver would be able to come and get us. The cold and hunger were fighting us; walking down the mountain did not seem feasible. Luckily a nearby Uber driver overheard us fighting and offered us a ride to the bottom of the mountain. Our observatory experience was probably more aligned with the real Los Angeles than La La Land.