Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Home

Our final day in LA saw us being tourists along Venice Beach. The weather was perfect and we all enjoyed the sights that the area has to offer. We bumped in to Georgie’s family and they joined us strolling along the boardwalk. There was some star spotting – Bono. Unfortunately we missed Arnie. He apparently cycled passed us but we were oblivious.

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We then drove to Santa Monica and bid a farewell to Georgie as she joined her family on their holiday in the US. Some spent their remaining time on Santa Monica Pier, some hit the sand for Beach Volleyball and others did some more shopping.

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We then headed back to LAX to board a Virgin Australia flight home.

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More shopping and UCLA

Thursday saw the departure of Geraldine from the group. She rose early to be picked up by her family and holiday over Christmas in New York. The rest of us spent our morning at a shopping mall picking up last minute gifts and necessities. We then had lunch at In-N-Out Burger eating delicious hamburgers before heading to UCLA. We were fortunate to be offered a tour of the Pauley Pavillion – home of the UCLA Bruins.

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After shopping in the UCLA bookstore for some merchandise we then watched the women’s basketball NCAA game – UCLA Bruins against Cal State Northridge Matadors. Northridge won 77 to 72.

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After the game we headed back to our rooms to pack and weigh luggage.

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Six Flags Magic Mountain and a NBA game at the Staples Center

We spent Wednesday December 19 at Six Flags Magic Mountain a theme park full of roller coasters and rides. The girls went on almost every roller coaster and thrill ride. Some had their moments where their bodies just needed a rest but everyone enjoyed themselves. One or two even managed to enjoy the views in between screaming or laughing on the rides.

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After a full day at the park we headed to the Staples Center to watch the Los Angeles Clippers play against the New Orleans Hornets. The Clippers won 93 to 77 giving them an impressive eleven wins in a row. The highlight for a few of our girls was spotting a Kardashian in the crowd.

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Shopping and Hollywood

On Tuesday we went shopping at the Citadel Outlets. Knowing that their luggage allowance was now increased, the girls shopped hard. Later that day we headed to Hollywood where we strolled along the Walk of Fame and photographed various brass stars embedded in the sidewalk. Some of the roaming entertainers beggars proved a little difficult at times but we learnt to ‘keep walking’.

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We then headed to the Hard Rock Cafe on Hollywood Boulevard for dinner.

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Disneyland!!

We arrived in Los Angeles well after dark on Sunday December 16 but everyone was super keen for an early start the next day. Monday was Disneyland.
“The Happiest Place on Earth” requires nothing more than photos.

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Last game in the USA

Saturday morning we headed to Skyline High School and joined their basketball girls in a fundraising Shoot-a-thon. It was a great time for our girls to mingle with the Skyline girls. The Shoot-a-thon was divided into rounds of foul shots, three point shots and then the big half court shots. Geraldine did us all proud with two spectacular goals from the half court line.

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We then shared a delicious lunch with the Skyline team at Cucina Cucina.

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That night the girls had a thrilling game against Skyline. With 13 seconds until full time, the scores were level. Matt called a time-out, told the girls what he wanted and they went back in to play. The set play was fumbled slightly but a goal was scored just before the buzzer. An exciting win – 53 to 55.

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That night we had our final home stay for the tour. From all accounts everyone had a lovely time with the Skyline families. Once again we were humbled by the generosity and hospitality of new friends in the basketball community.
We all met the next day at the school and loaded the vans in the chilly morning air.

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And we were then off to Sea-Tac Airport for a flight to LAX.

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Fun Photos

Just some random photos of the team out and about. Apologies for some blurry snaps but they captured the moment.

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