Melissa enjoying the luxury of the Omni Hotel, Downtown!
Arrived at LAX at 7am and got a SuperShuttle bus from straight outside our terminal to our hotel in downtown. The shuttle was $16 each, and very comfortable and quick, so impressed. Also very impressed with the Omni Hotel on Bunker Hill - our room was ready, and walked in to pure luxury after 8 months of back-packing! The toilet flushes (and you can put paper in it!), the shower is huge with great pressure, and the beds are enormous (we ended up with two queen beds in our room). After a shower to freshen up, we walked down to Macys Plaza for a look around, then back up to the hotel past the library - it has a beautiful mosaiced dome which can be seen from various places in downtown. Stopped in to a couple of shops and bought a few souvenirs etc.
Muscle-man at Muscle Beach, Venice Beach.
, then had brunch near the hotel. Meals here are huge and pretty cheap, could put on weight very easily! Booked our city tour for Wednesday, then had a bit of a siesta. Around dusk, we went out to get a quick dinner - Noel had Maccas and Melissa got a delicious take-away spaghetti. Watched Dr Phil, Entertainment Tonight, 3 1/2 Men - right back into it all! Snuggled up into our incredibly comfortable bed for a great night's sleep!
Noel promised Melissa when we left on this trip that she could have a shopping day in LA on the way home - today was the day! We caught a bus from outside our hotel straight over to The Grove centre, which is next door to the CBS studios. The Farmers Market here is wonderful, every type of food you can imagine, plus gift and souvenir shops - it's on a site where the first farmer's market in LA started in 1934.
Julia Roberts' home, Bel Air.
In the same area is The Grove, which has all the big name shops, restaurants etc.. From here, we walked to The Beverly Centre to get some clothes. Went to Loehmanns (for men and women, and we both indulged in some bargain designer fashions!), Calvin Klein, shoe shops and so on. Luckily most of the shops had sales on, so got some good bargains. Also managed to find some Dora the Explorer things for our niece, Sarah - very handy for the Christmas list. Had lunch in the centre, then caught the bus back to our hotel. The buses are great, not crowded at all - seems most people use their cars, but the buses were quick, easy and cheap.
Did our movie star homes and city tours today - most enjoyable. Our first stop was Venice Beach, where we saw some guys working out at Muscle Beach, and took a quick walk along the sea front.
Harrison Ford's home - the big crystals light up at night, and he got them while filming the first Indiana Jones.
Passed over the 3 Venice canals and the LA river bed which has been used in movies like Grease and Terminator 2. Our guide is a screen writer, so gave us lots of info about where movies and tv shows have been filmed. He started doing this job part-time when the writers' strike was on, and enjoyed it so much he kept going. AFter a visit to Marina
del Rey, we drove up Sunset Boulevard to Beverly Hills
, and on to the movie star homes in Bel Air. Can't even remember all the ones we saw, but people such as Kevin Costner, J-Lo, Gene Hackman, Julia Roberts, Joan Collins, Tom Sellect, Leonardo di Caprio, Cameron Diaz, Harrison Ford all have homes here and many of them are not the enormous mansions you would assume.
Cameron Diaz' house - we think she was in the black SUV which drove in just as we pulled up.
Some are actually quite simple, although not cheap of course! After driving along Rodeo Drive to see the fancy boutiques, we had lunch at the Farmers Market at The Grove - seeing as we'd already been here, Melissa took the opportunity to visit The Gap and get the clothes she missed the other day! Also got ourselves a couple of po-boys for lunch at the southern food stall (po boys are basically subs, but with a delicious marinated piece of fish, chicken, even catfish in it). Last stop on the tour was Hollywood to visit Manns Chinese Theatre with its foot and hand prints, and the sidewalk stars on the Walk of Fame. Saw lots of not very good imitators dressed up as various characters here. Went up to a viewing platform near the Kodak Theatre for a view of the Hollywood sign, but it was too far away for any very good photos.
A stretch hummer with a jacuzzi built in to the back!
The tour also took us past the UCLA campus, the LA National Cemetary (a smaller version of Arlington), the headquarters of the FBI and Jim Henson's Production offices. On the way home, we passed the chicken shop where Brad Pitt used to hand out flyers dressed as a chook, before he hit the big time. Back to the hotel for an early night.