Lights, Camera, Action

Los Angeles Travel Blog

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Sunset on the beach

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.

Baywatch reborn?
The hostel as quite shabby, our dorm room had three women in it already, who had taken the lower bunks so we both had to take top bunks. Not a problem normally, but most bunks had ladders attached to them, these had a hastily knocked together from bits of wood ladder that had to be used for all three bunks (not quite sure if the logistics of three strangers using one ladder to get up and down was thought out properly) that wobbled when climbed. The woman below me also had a problem about the placement of the ladder, she didnt want it by the head of her bed, which was where I had placed it as it meant both Rachel and I could use it in the night if necessary so Rachel ended up having to crawl over my bunk to get to hers each time.


After checking in to the hotel we had to return Chrissie (our car) to the rental place.

Freestyle gymnastics
This was located at LAX which we found without too much hassle. We said our goodbyes to the car, Rachel was rather tearful but I think this was more to do with the fact that we had to brave public transport again. We got the rental shuttle back to the terminal and headed to the information desk to ask where we could get the shuttle to the bus stop. The lady we asked looked about a hundred, her face had been pulled back so much by a bad plastic surgeon that it was almost reflective and she couldnt seem to grasp what we meant. She gave me a piece of paper with the number of the shuttle we needed by when I asked where we got the shuttle from she just kept pointed at the piece of paper, like it was going to suddenly sprout lips and tell me. We gave up and walked outside where I asked one of the orderlies and was directed straight to it. The journey back was fairly stressful as there were hundreds of rude passengers vying to get seats on the shuttles and we almost had our toes taken of by several trollies being wheeled by harassed looking women.
Power girl
We eventually got back to our hostel, by which time we were very unimpressed with LA!


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.

welcome to Hollywoodland
We walked the length of the circus before walked down to the waters edge and resting. We watched the sun sinking over the horizon, sand pipers dodging the surf to search for food in the wet sand.


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.

Triumphant after trekking miles to see the sign
We perched on the wall and watched the various posers trying to copy what the serious athletes were doing, with varying degrees of success. After a while we continued up to the pier, whch houses a solar powered indoor carousel. Along the length of the pier were various souviner shops, an arcade, plenty of 'a prize every time' funfair stalls and a rollercoaster (a smallish one). Right at the edge of the pier people were fishing in the fairly lively waves, with plenty of sea gulls loitering nearby trying to catch a free meal. We also spotted a familiar looking head poking out of the surf, a harbour seal was bobbing about.


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.

Johnny Depps imprint at Graumans Theatre
It worked slightly, I'm less British pale white than I was but still got a fair way to go before I show off when I get back, Miami is going to be the place to tan I think!


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*.

The Hollywood walk of fame
We were just discussing celeb spotting when I pointed out a guy walking towards and commented to Rachel that he looked like Dustin Hoffman. He got a bit closer and Rachel turned to me and said 'that IS Dustin Hoffman!'. We were very impressed, and came over so shy that we didnt dare approach him, he is a true Hollywood great! He wandered about, window shopping then he went to the ticket office at the cinema we had got tickets at. We quickly finished our ice creams and shot into the cinema after him, hoping to become brave enough to approach him but we were only in time to see him diasppear into the screen room. He went and saw Vantage Point, we saw superhero movie.


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.

Weird statue on Hollywood Boulevard
If anyone reading this is planning to go stay by Venice beach then I advice them NOT to stay at hotel California, go anywhere else! I had unfortunatley managed to contract a cold while in Venice beach and was feeling quite dire so we didn't do much for a few days beyond finding food and medication.


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.

I think its great he has a star
If thats true then its not so impressive. I did enjoy the fact that Lassie, snow white, mickey mouse, donald duck, woody woodpecker and winnie the pooh share stars with Johnny Depp, Elvis Prestley and the Beatles.


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).

Him too
We saw Rita Hayworth, Hayley Mills, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Bruce Willis, Arnold Swazenegger, Cary Grant, and many more.


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).

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Sunset on the beach
Sunset on the beach
Baywatch reborn?
Baywatch reborn?
Freestyle gymnastics
Freestyle gymnastics
Power girl
Power girl
welcome to Hollywoodland
welcome to Hollywoodland
Triumphant after trekking miles to…
Triumphant after trekking miles t…
Johnny Depps imprint at Graumans T…
Johnny Depps imprint at Graumans …
The Hollywood walk of fame
The Hollywood walk of fame
Weird statue on Hollywood Boulevard
Weird statue on Hollywood Boulevard
I think its great he has a star
I think its great he has a star
Him too
Him too