I’ve landed in LA for over 4 weeks now from Mexico.
Why so long in the US and not in South/ Latin America as per plan? Well, long story short, I couldn’t get a visa to Brazil from LA. It had been the one and only plan in my trip to start and finish in Brazil and go out with a Bang! after I release all energy at the Carnival, but well, sometimes you can push and shove and kick and scream but it just doesn’t happen. Not because I can’t get a visa in LA, but because I couldn’t get an appointment to get the visa because it was backed up for over a month, which was even more frustrating! I tried going through a visa agency which can process it in 10 days but they required proof of residency in the US to apply on my behalf so that wasn’t happening either. So people, if you are planning to go to Brazil, PLAN EARLY!!
But hey, LA really is not a bad place to be in. Sunny beaches, friendly and beautiful people, beautiful hills to go hike, great food and nightlife, lots to see and do! So maybe its fate and I decided to think of it so and take this opportunity to enjoy LA, and live in LA and see what the great LA life people dream of is all about. Plus it was time I faced the big question…
What the hell happens after the journey??
In March, I have a flight back to Tokyo. So what next? I had given this some thought in the past few months but haven’t sat down to face it because it scared me tremendously to think this free life will be over . Will I continue in my previous career in advertising in Tokyo or will I shift direction and even location? It’s a big decision and even more preparation to do while continuing to travel (especially while in Brazil and at the Carnival!) so I’ve come to think that it was fate Brazil didn’t happen and this time in LA was perfect to provide me with the environment and support to focus on the future.
And so, I have been enjoying my life in LA a lot, but one of the greatest discoveries I have made for the purpose of focusing has been LIBRARIES and I would like to share this with you.
Why are Libraries in LA so great?
- It’s FREE!!! and open to EVERYONE!
- It has free WI-FI!! (and at impressive speeds! especially coming from Latin America) and computers!
- Study desks are HUGE and with plug outlets to recharge your devices with no worry!
- No constant people traffic and chit chat like in coffee shops!
- Can stay as long as you want without having to prove your customer value by buying something new every 2 hours! (which can add cost and calories!)
- No TVs, no Netflix (well, your choice), no refrigerator, no bed, all the luring distractions at home
- There’s focused people around to force you to concentrate and ride on their energy
- Can fell like a student again
- Has various locations in LA to force you to explore new neighbourhoods!
These are so obvious, but I’ve been so used to going to cafes for wi-fi that the re-discovery of libraries has been a refreshing find! So far I have visited 4 but there are so many, I am eager to make this a journey in itself.
- Los Angeles Public Library (downtown)
Right in the center of downtown lies this historic library which was originally built in 1926. It has been renovated now with 4 stories above ground and 4 underground, an impressive structure with an open air space in the middle boldly displaying colorful artwork. The sun shines through the windows and creates a beautiful display of the space during the day. I especially loved that they have a study desk at the very top overlooking the city and the artwork which you can see in the photo! What a lovely place to spend your afternoon reading or studying!
The outside and the study area. Apparently they have a garden as well which I failed to check out at this visit.
Sitting in the library and working amongst the other focused people was a great way to pump up my motivation! I just wanted to read, write and learn that feeling got me hooked to do this again everyday!
The only sad and shocking downside to the visit was the ridiculous price of parking. Parking signs, I just can’t figure out in LA and I think they intentionally make it vague and tricky so that tourists and nervous drivers like me just drive in without understanding the pricing. So, for 2 1/2 hrs, I was charged a whopping $37!!! Can’t help to think and be disgusted by all the things I could have done with that money in Latin America and how the value of things differ so much…. Parking is indeed tricky here, but I hear that you just need to find the “flat fee” parking, which was still hard to find and understand for a first timer. But… moving on.
2. Beverly Hills Public Library
Just off of the Beverly Hills shops and restaurants, the library was Oh So California! to me surrounded by the palm trees and the elegant white 90210 buildings. It is 2 floors and not as grand as downtown but well organised well lit and spacious. In the study area, the tall windows bring in an abundance of sunlight reminding you that you are in sunny California. Of course equipped with outlets and good wi-fi and even a cafe with a terrace, it was a cute, happy, relaxing library.
The view as you step outside the library. Everything is so elegant and spacious and reeks of the relaxed high life.
3. Doheny Memorial Library (in University of South California)
This library is located inside University of South California which is a beautifully impressive campus in itself. The structures and the greens are well maintained with students on skateboards and bikes in their shorts and flip flops commuting to their classes. The library is gorgeous with its stone floors and high ceilings with detailed railings making it feel like historical museum or a bank. From the inside you can get a great view of campus while you work and almost trick yourself to feel you are a student again. I sat by the window pretending to be a student again (and sucking all the youthful energy from all around), which I enjoyed a lot. LOL
The library also had a dedicated East Asian area with impressive collections of books and historia from my home!
This too, I encountered problems with parking, this time not being able to find it around campus without holding a permit. I rode around for like an hour and cursed LA for being so car dependant and swore I would take public transport or Uber from now on.
Turns out, LA now has metro train lines that run by the campus so I will try that next time. I am a big lover of public transport. I really hope LA and its people will shift to use it more and lessen the burden of the crazy traffic and the crazy parking situations.
4. Santa Monica Public Library
Right in the middle of the shopping area in Santa Monica stands this modern library that was my favorite of the 4 so far. Clean, quite, spacious and well lit with a cafe in the open area, it was a library that was inviting and fun especially in a neighbourhood you can walk to go take a shopping break or lunch.
2nd floor study area has an amazing ceiling high window overlooking Santa Monica Blvd. It is decorated simple but with warmth and a place you can read, relax and concentrate for hours.
So that’s my list so far but I will keep on exploring more!
Here is a list I will follow based on its ratings.