Lights, Camera, Action
Los Angeles Travel Blog› entry 33 of 42 › view all entries
So, we are in Los Angeles, land of the rich and famous.
We arrived at our hostel in Santa Monica around 1pm, it had a car park so we could pull in and unload our stuff pretty easily. We were shown to our room by a strange middle aged guy, not the sort you normally see at hostels, usually its youngsters working for their board.
After checking in to the hotel we had to return Chrissie (our car) to the rental place.
The next day we walked down to Venice Beach. The '20 minute scenic walk' was in reality a thirty five minute slog through some pretty boring streets. We finally got there and were immediately engulfed in the living zoo of freaks and weirdos lining the boardwalk. On our right were shops selling souviners, t shirts and other tat, tattoo and piercing shops, smoke shops and food courts. On our left were stalls with hippies, homeless and down right weird people trying to catch your eye, trying to get you to part with cash for whatever random article they had produced. In between the shops and the stalls crowds milled past, gawking at the menagerie, here and there wannabe rappers stopping you to listen to their demo CD's, giving the big sell about how they are about to make it big.
The next day we again traipsed down to the beach, it was too windy and cold to sunbathe so we walked along the boardwalk,all the way to Santa Monica pier (which was a long way!). We found the original site of muscle beach, which has since been relocated to Venice beach. In place of all the weight lifting equipment is gymnatic equipment, parallel bars of various heights, rings, ropes and a long gladiators (the 90's show not the film) style row of rings, so that you could swing all the way along, and all the way back.
Monday the wind died down a bit so we grabbed a sheet from the hostel and went down to the beach to sunbathe. Walking about in a vest top has made my arms a nice shade of brown, which stops at my shoulders, so I was hoping to get a bit more of an even tan.
Tuesday was again too windy to hit the beach so we took the bus in Santa Monica and wandered around the Third Street Promanade. We decided to go to the cinema as we hadnt been n a while so we bought our ticket and sat down at McDonalds with a McFlurry each to wait. I was just finishing mine, absentmidedly gazing at the passing crowds when who did I see but Christopher Eccleson! I almost choked on my ice cream and by the time I managed to inform Rachel all she got to see of him was the back of his head. I was so surprised and stunned I didnt get his picture or autograph with is very bad of me as my Nephew adores him as the Doctor, Sorry Matty *slaps hand*.
We then moved to a hostel in Hollywood, this hostel was much nicer, bright airy rooms with friendly staff, a clean kitchen and plenty of tours planned each week.
When I had recovered to the point where I wasnt running a temperature and didnt feel like passing out if I stood for more than three minutes we explored Hollywood boulevard. Right at the top of the street our hostel is on is the walk of fame, stars embedded in the pavement with famous names of the silver screen and music etched into them. The walk of fame is quite impressive, and I was surpirised at some of the names, that was until I was told that the stars came simply be bought for ten thousand dollars.
We also went down to Graumans Chinese Theatre. Lining the street were lots of movie stars, we saw Spiderman, Princess Fiona & Donkey, Captian Jack Sparrow, Megatron, King Leonitas and a host of others, all happy to pose for photos with you, for a price. The theatre itself was very ornate, huge and comanding with spirit dragons standing guard outside. We, like many others came to admire the hand & foot prints that have been left over many decades by the all time greats of Hollywood. Now this was impressive because it is Sid Grauman that invites stars to receive this honour, this cant b bought (as far as I know).
Of course a stint in Hollywood wouldn't be complete without a picture of the Hollywood sign. Our hostel did a two hour walking tour which led you around and eventually up behind the sign for $6. We decided we didn't need to join the tour and would get close to it ourselves. We never learn! We figured that if we just headed towards the sign we couldnt go wrong, it worked except our journey took up some very windy and steep hills, with the sign being out of sight a lot of the time and we had to rely on judgement of where we thought the sign should be. A builder working out the front of house figured out what we were trying to do after we had wandered past him twice and told us a route to get us there. The route we not the 15-20 minute walk he had said though, more like a 45 minute endurance test up a steep hill, with it terminating in an almost 45 degree climb up to a trail where we got a pretty good view of the sign. Of course we were way too knackered to appreciate it that much and I virtually collapsed while trying to catch my breath. Not really the recommended thing to do when recovering from a cold!
LA has been very different to how we thought it would be. Its not as sunny, very smoggy and you need a car to get anywhere as the publc transport is basic. We had fun, but it isn't the highlight of our trip (except for the star spotting).