Arriving in LA LA Land

Los Angeles Travel Blog

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My home for 4 nights in Venice Beach. Very nice hotel and no complaints.

After a major delay in Gatwick airport which I won't bore you with, I finally arrived in LAX, Los Angeles Airport about 6 hours later than expected. I was booked to stay in the Venice Beach Cotel, so I rang a shuttle to get me there. The driver who arrived was a right character and said why did I get a shuttle when I could have taken public transport and got there for 2 dollars instead of 14? The fact that this was my 1st time in LA and it was late at night didn't seem to dawn on him, plus the ease and comfort of a private transfer was well worth it, he also warned me not to tip anyone 'Do you tip in your country?' he asked. I replied 'not really,except for exceptional service'. 'Well, don't tip here either, they may hate you for 30 seconds but they'll soon forget about you and move on to the next sucker, SO DON'T TIP' he reiterated.

Lifeguards lookout tower on Venice Beach. May look familiar to any fans of Baywatch as this was where the series was made.
'OK' I gulped, feeling he was a bit of a nut. Finally I arrived at my accommodation. I gave him 15 dollars for the 14 dollar trip, when once again he admonished me 'what did I tell you about not tipping? Were you even listening to me on the bus?' He then handed me back 1 dollar, which I accepted reluctantly.'And don't forget to get public transport the next time buddy, save yourself 12 dollars' he advised me as he drove away. Strange 1st experience of LA, but then again what could I expect in this city of eccentrics?


Dragged my bags up the stairs of the Cotel and met Kerry who I had been corresponding with before I set off on my journey.' I have good news and bad news for you' she uttered. 'OK' I said wearily 'give me the bad news first'. 'Well the bad news is that we gave your room to someone else.

One of the few canals left in Venice Beach
2 German backpackers didn't like the dorm so we gave them your room instead.' 'OK Kerry so what's the good news?' I said reluctantly. 'Well the good news is that we're transferring you to the Cadillac Hotel, which is a 3 star hotel right next to the beach at no extra cost, and here's 5 dollars for you to take a cab there'. Now this was definitely a result, so I accepted gladly and top marks to Kerry for her customer service skills. I hopped in the cab and booked myself in to the Cadillac Hotel. There was a bar open across the road so decided to have a beer or two to try and offset the jetlag and difference in time zones. Ireland and California are 8 hours apart. So even though it was 11.30 pm in Venice Beach my body thought it was 7.30 am. Noticed that there was a lot of homeless people hanging around the area, they seemed harmless enough but I'd take a better look in the morning after a good well-deserved sleep.
Welcome to Venice Beach


Woke up next day still groggy from the flight and different time zone but decided to take a walk on the beach (by the way when Albert Hammond sang 'It Never Rains in California' he was talking crap). My previous impression about the quantity of homeless people was confirmed in the daylight. They were absolutely everywhere, some living in caravans and RVs, others sprawled on benches. However they weren't the aggressive, looking-for-money, type of vagrant I'm used to in Ireland and elsewhere, most were content to just walk around and interact with each other and to leave strangers like me be.


Decided to find Gold's Gym, but first get some breakfast. I found a place selling breakfast just off of Main St. Still lots of vagrants and what seemed like mentally-ill skateboarders roaming around the street as I gazed out of the window of the cafe munching a breakfast burrito.

Sign for Gold's Gym on Main St, Venice Beach
Took a walk around and found Gold's fairly easily. Went into the Mecca of Bodybuilding and enquired about a day pass. The staff seemed friendly enough and were glad to answer any of my questions. I went back to the hotel and got my training gear and headed back up to Gold's for a workout. A boyhood dream was finally achieved. Did an allover body workout and was amazed at the condition of some of the women training there. Their intensity and work ethic would put any man to shame.


The next day I decided to do the touristy bit and see Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Surprisingly enough this was highly enjoyable and I even spotted Hurley from Lost hanging out in the Farmers Market. Did the whole Houses of the Stars spotting tour and checked out Sunset Boulevard and the surrounding area.

RV used by dropouts and homeless on Venice Beach
Very enjoyable indeed.


Spent the next 3 days just relaxing and hanging out in Venice Beach, which is a great place for people spotting. Saw one guy on a skateboard being pulled huskie-style by 2 dogs as he was talking on the mobile phone!! Have to say I was really surprised by the amount of vagrants, drop outs and homeless in this area, given that California is the 8th biggest economy in the world.
Well enough of that and now it was time to head to Las Vegas by Greyhound bus.

bkretzer says:
and you didn't find a Hooters?! Of course you problably got your fill at the beach!
Posted on: Nov 06, 2009
ellieisamazing says:
So ... was working out at Gold's all you thought it would be?
Posted on: Aug 19, 2009
nicolecarp says:
California's economy is in shambles so I am not surprised by the needy sightings. It's really sad though. Did you also see how many Gold's Gyms there are in Vegas? A decent amount so you don't have to go LA next time even though the history isn't there.
Posted on: Aug 10, 2009
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My home for 4 nights in Venice Bea…
My home for 4 nights in Venice Be…
Lifeguards lookout tower on Venice…
Lifeguards lookout tower on Venic…
One of the few canals left in Veni…
One of the few canals left in Ven…
Welcome to Venice Beach
Welcome to Venice Beach
Sign for Golds Gym on Main St, Ve…
Sign for Gold's Gym on Main St, V…
RV used by dropouts and homeless o…
RV used by dropouts and homeless …
Welcome to LA LA Land, Venice Beach
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