I'm back from my adventures in Lala Land. They were amazing and eye opening.
I know I mentioned going to LA and for those of you who may be reading this thinking I went for a vacation it was far from
that, however it was a great time.
Here is my update from my trip- Caution: This post has nothing to do with fitness.
Thursday: Suffolk University was delayed opening so I went into work at 12:00pm. Finished up all the little things sitting on my desk and at 4:30pm headed over to Logan Airport. At the entrance we were greeted by a very nice anchor woman from NECN interviewing people about how the snow had delayed their travels. A student from Suffolk and my boss both had their interviews shown on NECN
Thursday and you could see me on the phone (booking a hotel for a weekend ski trip ironically while waiting in line to get on a plan to LA).
The 6 hour flight was smooth and there were no children on it since it was so late, we also got a free m
ovie due to technical difficulties, A++ flight in my book. We landed out in LA at 10:30pm West Coast which felt like 1:30am to us. But it's LA so obviously we had to go explore. We found out downtown LA is actually pretty dead on a Thursday night and went to an old
fashion dinerish place called The Original Pantry.
It looked dingy and the Cashier was in a gated box by the door so it was pretty cool. I got a grilled cheese, obviously, and then we headed back to the
Luxe hotel. This was by far the best hotel I have ever stayed in! Unfortunately we were only
actually in it for 5 hours before we woke back up and headed over to USC.
Friday: We woke up bright and early, actually sorry dark and early (we were up before the sun rose). We got to USC at 8:00am, I must say USC has a beautiful campus.
I hope the students there know how lucky they are to have all of those amenities.
The day started off right (wrong in diet world) with Carl Jr's. Suffolk, USC, and Kennesaw State (Atlanta) met here and then we boarded a bus to go to PATH (People Assisting The Homeless). At this center we learned all about what they do to assist the homeless, what their future plans are, funding that they receive, and other facts about their general day-to-day transactions. They also gave us a tour of the center and the residency areas they provide. They did not shut down the center for our tour, we got to see people working as they normally would and people from the streets using the services like any other day.
Their motto is "A hand up not a hand out." The presentation was great and the people at the center were very nice and helpful.
We then headed to In-and-out Burger on Sunset Blvd... They have three things on the menu: A cheeseburger, a double cheeseburger, or a bacon cheese burger.... so enough said about the diet. (My stomach was basically hating me at this point)
On our ride away from the lunch stop we could see the Hollywood sign from a distance, kind of a let down it looks bigger on T.V. (either way, checked off the to-do list!)
We then arrived at the Central Area LAPD Station where LAPD
Senior Lead Officer, Deon Joseph gave us a tour of the station. He also sat us
down and talked to us about what crime was going on in the area, how they are handling it, and why they are using the techniques that they are using. This was followed by a walking tour of Skid Row... that's when things got interesting. Typing out on this blog would not do justice the things that we saw first hand so if you ever want to hear about it just let me know I would be happy to talk to you.
Side note: If the name Officer Deon Joseph sounds familiar to you, you probably saw the documentary Skid Row by Pras Michel of the Fugees. Where he went undercover as a homeless person for nine days. Office Joseph was with the LAPD at that time and he is in the video as the officer on duty.
After walking around Skid Row we went to city hall and got to talk with councilwoman Jan Perry. We got to hear how she views, handles, and plans to move forward with the homeless population in the Central Area of LA.
It was amazing to get to hear from the shelters, see it first hand and talk to people out on the streets, hear from the Police department, and also a political figure. They all have such different insight on the same problem.
They let us go up to the top of city hall where there is an open air observatory and we got to see views of the entire city at night, it was beautiful.
We then went to a restaurant called Phillippes. It apparently was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I had my first french dip sandwich here. Not a huge fan. I would classify it as an homey, diner, that would be a dive if it wasn't so popular.
We finished the night debriefing and hearing the students thoughts and reactions to the whole day.
We stayed at the Radisson Hotel on Figueroa ave. It has sleep number beds, which I claim are just air mattresses in a box spring. That's neither here or there, we were in LA learning about homelessness I can't complain about my double bed in my temp controlled hotel room right?
Saturday: At 8:45 we all met at the USC Student Activities office where we feasted on Chick-fil-a. It was delish, the chicken was bite size and we cut the cinnarolls into fourths so I was actually able to portion control even though I looooove chick-fil-a!!
Then we headed out to Santa Monica, half the group was dropped at the community center that support a homeless shelter and were asked to paint some of the property. The other half came with us down to the Santa Monica pier beach area and had to go and interview some homeless people with their flip cams.
Due to limited space in the car, myself and the other 3 younger advisors got to walk the pier for a couple of hours. We sat at a mexican place outside and got to hear the performers and take in the view. I got myself a virgin(because I was technically working) pina colada just to reminisce back to the Palm Pavilion on clearwater beach.
We met back up with the crowd and ate subway for lunch. A 6inch turkey sub was the healthiest thing I had eaten all weekend at this point.
Then we gathered the group, brought them up to the beach, and discussed what they had done for the day and compared the two types of homelessness that are only a few miles away. Since I was talking to some students and didn't help clean up lunch I got nominated to facilitate this portion. They thought they were punishing me, little did they know that this is one of my favorite things to do!
After the discussion the students had 2 hours to hang and enjoy the Santa Monica
pier area before dinner or go back and rest at USC. Myself and co-advisor Lea were selected to stay at the beach with the students, darn!
We walked around, put our feet in the water then walked up to the city and took in some of the shopping. There was a mall that was the size of the taunton galleria but as clean as the south shore plaza and it was all open air. So pretty and nice.
We ate a family style italian dinner at a place called Buca di Beppo the food was delicious and heavy. I think I did a pretty good job at portion control here. There was a trashed/trashy sweet sixteen party that came in as we were headed out. It was hilarious to watch but obnoxious to be around. We let the students hang out for another 2 hours so those who went back to campus could see the area. The advisors hung out at the little place around the corner where the music was way too loud but all 90's so we broke even.
We headed back to USC and that was the end of our weekend pretty much. We went back to the Radisson, the advisors all discussed how it went and our plans for March when USC and Suffolk go to Kennesaw. Then we turned in because it had been a long day and apparently LA around a large college campus closes everything at 11pm. We didn't have to meet until 10am the next day so we actually got to sleep in.
The entire weekend was around 70 during the day and 50 at night. On the bus ride from USC to LAX it sprinkled a little but quickly cleared up. Check in and security went very smooth we were sitting at our gate within 20 minutes of arrival. The food court in LAX was small with a bad selection so we just hung out and people watched for a few hours. The flight itself was very smooth and the woman next to me had trouble with her t.v. so they gave us two free movies (again) on the flight back.
We touched down in Boston at 10:00pm with 24 degree weather. It was miserable ;o)
As long as this blog is - there are so many more details, feelings, and reactions to my weekend that I couldn't put into written words. If you are interested in hearing about them just let me know I'd love to talk about it and hear your opinions on homelessness where ever you live or have lived.
I was extremely nervous about not having worked out and having a greasy fat diet so I was scared to step on the scale. Throughout the weekend I forced myself to stand as much as possible thought about quantities and tried to walk whenever there was an option to. Luckily my plan worked, I actually came back 2 pounds lighter then when I left!
Hope you all had a great weekend!! Welcome Sarasotians!!