Farmland in California is incredibly precise. Perfect squares and rectangles, all neatly laid out.
The ocean is really big. I've never seen a body of water so large that I couldn't see any land on the other side.
Los Angeles is huge. It goes on forever. You can't conceive of how huge it actually is until you see it. I saw at least 4 football fields, Dodger Stadium, the Staples Centre, all kinds of baseball fields, lots of pools, and endless terra cotta roofs. Beaches that go on forever. The Pacific Coast Highway.
LAX is also huge, but not as confusing or overwhelming as I feared. It was pretty easy to go from the gate to the baggage claim, my luggage came quickly, and I had to wait about 20 minutes for my van to take me to the hotel. It's very loud, though. It was hard to find a place that was quiet enough to make a phone call that also had decent enough reception.
The drive from the airport was various kinds of crazy. First, there were a bazillion different buses, vans, and taxis all trying to pick up passengers at each of the seven terminals. Drivers here are very aggressive. Everyone drives far too close together because there are just so many cars. It doesn't feel overly dangerous since traffic moves so slowly so often. You know the wall-to-wall rows of cars, five lanes wide in each direction that you see in the movies and on TV? That's exactly the traffic I was in. The motorcycles routinely zip between the lanes! Crazy!
The neatest part of the drive was seeing famous routes I know from movies. Sunset Boulevard. Mullholland Drive. Ventura. Santa Monica. Malibu. Everything is familiar even though it's entirely new.