Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 2 (Part 3) - Santa Monica Pier

January 25, 2016 (continued): After briefly visiting Venice Beach, I headed down the road to my other destination on my checklist, Santa Monica. Tip if you’re ever visiting, I mistakenly parked on the pier and paid for parking, but later I found out when I moved to LA that there are several free 90 minute parking lots around Santa Monica. Not only that but navigating, down the pier in your car with the heavy traffic of people walking up and down the ramp is no easy feat.

Once out of the parking lot, I was immediately greeted by a huge color wonderland, the mini amusement park on the pier. A roller coaster, and a few other small rides for the kids, along with the iconic ferris wheel. I don’t know why I have such an affinity for ferris wheels (yet I’ve never rode on one, it’s a heights thing), maybe it’s the feeling it evokes and the atmosphere when you’re around one.  

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On either side of the pier, is the great view of the vast stretch of Santa Monica beach dotted with people along the coast.

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Further along the pier are many buskers and hustlers, from people belting out the latest song, to palm readings, to name drawing. It is almost an overwhelming sensation especially when the crowd is packed shoulder to shoulder shuffling down the pier as one large mass.

I like how this couple inadvertantly posed for this picture.

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I finished my time there at Pier Burger with a cheeseburger, fries and a custard shake.

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Travel Diary: Los Angeles Day 2 (Part 2) - Venice Beach & Pier

January 25, 2016 (continued): Since I was in the nearby Venice Canals, I thought I’d pay a visit to the famous Venice Beach. Little did I realize, that this beach spans a vast width along the coast with the pier and boardwalk looking closer together on the map, it was definitely not in walking distance. Having now visited the boardwalk and Muscle Beach a couple times, the two areas could not be more different. My moments on the pier were calm and serene with only a few people scattered across the beach. Plus it was probably because at this time it was winter and the winds were brisker than usual.

I do like how the lack of people in the area, gives the photos sort of a dreamy, chill vibe to it.

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Travel Diary: Seattle Day 3 - Seattle Aquarium

January 17, 2016 (Continued): After arriving back at the dock from my cruise around the harbor, the next thing on my agenda was a visit to the Seattle Aquarium - it was part of the deal with my City Pass package. Usually I have mixed feelings about visiting an animal facility if they’re not a sanctuary, but this aquarium is a nonprofit and a research facility that helps educate the public about sea life and conservation.

I have a fascination with the sea and its life probably from my upbringing, being from Hawaii, my dad would take me down to the beach as a baby and taught me to swim as soon as I could walk. My birthplace seems to follow me wherever I go, as the exhibition at the time was the Sea Life of Hawaii of all things. There, they had on display the numerous and colorful tropical fish that roam Hawaiian waters. The sea urchin with these surreal pink and purple hues that I didn’t even know existed in real life. The staff invited onlookers to gently touch the languid starfish. The baby stingray looked like perfect smiling, pastel sea angels from the bottom. It was an excellent introduction to another world.

Moving further along in the newly renovated extensions, I witnessed sea lions that gracefully glided through water like nothing. One appearing above water, coupled with water beads on the glass and the shining sun, created a photogenic moment with a magic sparkle halo above its head. Next, were one of my favorite animals the sea otter. There was a group swimming rapidly amongst each other that I could barely capture any with my fastest shutter speed. They eventually broke out into a catfight (or otter fight?) and later a couple of them giving the public an Animal Planet-esque birds and the bees demonstration if you know what I mean.

My time at the aquarium ended as the sun set with the most spectacular rays of light streaming through the clouded sky.

All photos taken by me via Canon 70D

Kauai | Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge

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So here's the first batch of my trip to Kauai! I was going to post it by days but there were too many to share within each day so I'll be breaking it down to locations...

First up is the Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge. Beautiful scenery and lighthouse with wildlife roaming all over - from birdies to seals, whales and turtles! Great start to my trip!