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Another trip to LA, another long drive… I had no car, no real food (granola bars, apples and wheat thins were my savior for the first day), and no friends to stay with. My friends in SoCal either lived in Pasadena or in some place in LA far from downtown where the festival was held. As I would be volunteering for a few days with only the Metro to rely on, I needed a closer, more convenient place to stay. At the same time, I wanted to be a little more adventurous. So I tried out Couch Surfing. (More exciting info on that later.)
As for the drive, I found a carpool through Uloop with two other UC Davis students. It was a much cheaper — and more comfortable – alternative to the Greyhound.
My First Couch Surf (CS for short)
So what is this Couch Surfing, you ask? Exactly what it sounds like. It’s this cool online network through which travelers around the world can offer their homes (and couches, of course) for other travelers to stay.
Some CS Rules:
Some CS Etiquette:
Of course, some of my friends thought I was crazy. “Isn’t that… a little dangerous?” In a way, it sounds like some extreme version of Craigslist that allows predators to lure in vulnerable guests who are unfamiliar with the city.
But here are some reasons why I believe Couchsurfing is super awesome -and safe- when done right:
It’s roughly 10AM. I finally arrive, meet my host and the other couch surfers (one girl from Canada, the other from Colorado), and check out my temporary home for the week: a cozy little apartment in Koreatown. It was walking distance to the Galleria, Vons, and other local shops, cafés and restaurants. And the best part: there were bus stops literally everywhere, with the Metro taking about 20-30 minutes to get to Downtown LA.
My first stop was the Regal Stadium at L.A. LIVE downtown. Before I left, my host showed me a nice food truck around the corner for some $1 tacos! Once at the Regal, I picked up my volunteer t-shirt and badge.
Then got to exploring the area.
After getting a feel for the place, I bussed back to Koreatown. I stopped by the Galleria Market to get some groceries (including sandwich ingredients, potstickers, edamame, and more apples), and saw these cute little things.
Walking back to the apartment, I spotted the Paris Baguette. I bought myself some fresh bread, eating a couple for “lunch.”
After such a busy morning, I took a well-deserved nap on my new couch for a quick energy boost to prepare myself for the night.
Later that night, I met up with my friend Eric and Co. from Pasadena to explore the nightlife in Downtown LA. We ended up checking out The Belasco.
Good music, good company. I liked how there were about 5 or more different lounges to choose from, each with its own distinct musical vibe.
‘Twas a long, productive first day in getting myself situated, and more importantly, prepared for the long week ahead.
So check back for more updates, with LA Film Festival: Day 2 – Volunteering and Night Lights coming soon!