I just came back from a trip to the east coast, visiting three different states. I was born on the east coast, but have lived on the west coast for most of my life. This past week may not be a fair week to compare the two because of the extreme heat wave sweeping through the east coast, but I'm still going to offer my two cents.
The trip started out in Raleigh, North Carolina. I absolutely loved this place! It was so green. And for the first time in my life I said the words I never thought I'd say..."I would move here." I never thought I would want to live anywhere else in the world other than Los Angeles. In my opinion Southern California is the best place to live on earth! But, Raleigh grabbed my attention. Except for the fact that it was unbearably hot, it was such a beautiful city! I fell in love with the tall deep green trees along both sides of the roads and highways. I'm used to buildings all around me everywhere I go in Los Angeles. But, these trees were such a refreshing change. I know a lot of the country may have this, but I was in Missouri recently and it had a lot of trees as well, but it didn't have the same appeal. So, thank you Raleigh for welcoming me to your city with such a nice breath of fresh air! (Pun intended :) )
The second part of the trip was in Sterling, Virginia and Washington D.C. I love the variety that D.C. and Virginia for that matter has to offer. I went to the Natural History Museum for the first time and it took my breath away! Wow, what a fascinating museum! If anyone goes to D.C., you must stop by. And be sure to allow at least 3 hours for it. The live butterfly pavilion was so cool! I love butterflies and flowers, so for me it was just what I ordered. :) The coral reef IMAX movie was also beautiful. The temperature was scorching hot during the daytime, so our activities had to be limited. Don't worry, we took advantage at night. What I loved about D.C. that I wish we would implement in Los Angeles, is the many opportunities to rent bikes. In and around downtown there are dozens of bicycles available in the middle of the street to rent out for as long as you want. I loved this idea! What a way to cut back on traffic and get in the exercise that we all need. Love love loved it! Especially, at night! So beautiful! Virginia also stands out in the the variety of different ethnic foods it offers. Love the diversity.
The last part of the trip was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And as you all may know by now, I'm the ocean's biggest fan, but I'm sorry to say, that Atlantic vs. Pacific....Pacific wins hands down! Myrtle beach was a lot of fun, but nothing compared to the cities along the Pacific Ocean, especially my beautiful Malibu. I will share the one moment in Myrtle Beach that was most special to me. I felt like I was so far away from home and everything familiar for so long by this point of the trip. I really didn't like Myrtle Beach when we landed and were driving around. Again, it was unbelievably hot and Humid! Again, the west coast wins when it comes to weather. Yes, it may be hot here, but the humidity is a whole other story. You feel like you can't breathe! I will take the San Fernando Valley's 100 degree heat any day over any temperature with humidity. Going back to my story, so after driving around for a little while and eating lunch, we decided to find a place for prayer. It was Friday, the holy day for Muslims, and Friday prayer (jummah) is very important. So, we found a small office where the Muslims pray jummah. We went in, it was a small room, split in two for men and women. It was incredibly hot inside. But the moment i sat down and heard the word 'Rasulullah,' an inner sense of peace captured my heart. A feeling of belonging and happiness overtook me and I couldn't help but smile. All of a sudden, it didn't matter that I was on the other side of the country. I felt like I belonged. I looked around me and there were five other women, maybe locals, maybe travelers like myself. And I felt like they were my sisters. I was so happy to be there. Right at that moment the concept of self identity and community had a whole new meaning to me. I was so blessed to be a Muslim, where no matter what part of the world I'm in, I can relate to others and belong to a community. How special.
Below is a picture of Myrtle Beach Pier from the Skywheel. Pale in comparison to the Malibu Pier. Safe Travels!