When someone first lands in LA I guess you would expect them to recall how amazing there first night was. Spent in the Hollywood hills spying on celebrities and drinking cocktails until the sun came up.
This is what I would expect to hear from someone else’s traveling adventure. For us the story goes a little differently.
Before anyone judges us, may I just remind everyone that we had just spent the night on a very ‘comfy’ airport floor and flown across America the following morning.
We spent our first evening finding a laundrette to do our washing. Well equipped with washing detergent, bought from a dodgey looking vending machine, we soon managed to get the cleaning of clothes underway.
A man casually strolled passed us and asked if we would like some drugs but we politely refused and continued the mundane task of watching our clothes dance, swirl and splash around.
The clothes did not smell as fresh as I would have liked but I guess that is what is to be expected from a life as a traveler.
As luck would have it a Dominos sat next to the laundrette so we decided to grab a pizza and head towards a beach.
Siobhan, combined with Josh’s sudden breaking, nearly lost our pizza to the floor of the car.
I found LA dominos highly displeasing. Everything just seems to contain so much salt and little of anything else.
Soon after we finished eating we decided to head back to our hotel room and I was quickly sent into a salt and jet lagged sleep coma.
As disappointing as this tale of our first night in LA may seem, the logical side of it is, it enabled us to have clean clothes for the rest of our trip.
I nearly forgot to mention, we now have a car named Sin Wagon.
When we landed, we caught a shuttle bus to the Thrifty garage to pick up our hire car. As we queued up waiting to see what our vehicle for the next month was going to be, I was praying for a red swanky car worthy of the Sin Wagon title but unfortunately we got given a black one. Sin Wagon was still a justifiable name even though it was black.
Josh was given the task of being the first to drive but before he could even begin, we had to figure out how to move the seat back so Josh’s long legs could fit in. Who could have guessed that seats these days are electric?!
Once we got on the road Josh was doing great considering he had only ever driven a car during his driving lessons and that was on UK roads.
It was such a relief knowing we could pack up the car with all our luggage as and when we wanted, ready to head to another destination.
The following day we decided to head to Venice beach, having heard a lot of good things about the place. It is supposed to imitate the real Venice but when we got there I did not see any little alleys filled with water, no boats gliding along any rivers and no Italian restaurants for that matter.
What I did see was a number of tramps picking rubbish out of bins, an outdoor gym with a few men posing near the weight machines and a beach, which could have been great if the mist wasn’t surrounding us. Needless to say, we were all slightly disappointed by Venice beach. The best thing about the place was a group of guys who put on a dance performance and I was pretty sure I had seen them in New York a month or so ago, so even they did not originate from this place.
I am sure the place may look and feel very different if the sun had been shining because surely all the hype cannot be about nothing.
The following day we decided to head into Hollywood. We walked through a lively market and headed towards the Walk of Fame. It was much bigger than I had imagined, lining a number of streets. In New York I felt like you had to walk with your head up so that you could see all the architecture, whereas in Hollywood I found myself constantly walking with my head down, so as not to miss some famous persons name planted in a star shape on the floor. You could spot the locals because they flippantly wondered the streets without their eyes glued to the ground. It almost felt as though the locals were annoyed at the tourists for being excited about a ‘sidewalk’.
We saw the Chinese theatre which is famous for the concrete blocks that are set in front of the entrance, bearing nearly 200 signatures, foot and hand prints of famous people. Most of the stars have written short messages to a man named Sid and at the time I had no idea who Sid was. It turns out, after reading a little history about the place, that Sid Grauman was a showman who created the Chinese Theatre back in January 1926. I was very excited to be touching the concrete where famous people had previously placed there hands.
We also went on a tour of the Hollywood hills and saw many things:
The church that Sister Act was filmed in.
Rodeo Drive which was very glamourous.
The shop that Julia Roberts was rejected from in Pretty Woman.
Viper Room where River Phoenix died
The hotel that Marilyn Monroe had an affair with JFK in and the place she stayed in when she first started out.
Where Jennifer Anniston worked before she was famous.
Where Brad Pitt worked as a sign holder in a chicken suit before he was famous.
The first cinema in LA known as the Egyption cinema.
Dolbly Theatre where they hold the Oscars.
Michael Jackson’s, Bruno Mars’ and Madonna’s house along with the Playboy Mansion and Tom Cruises chimney.
It was all very exciting and you didn’t really know which way to turn your head first. Warning: The drive is not a straight and simple drive and may cause travel sickness! As we were parked outside the Playboy Mansion I did think I was going to vomit – what a story that would have made.
That evening we headed to a BestWestern hotel and stayed one night in luxury.
The next day I went to Warner Brothers Studios whilst Siobhan and Josh went to Universal.
Warner Brothers was one of the highlights of my entire trip. I loved learning about everything that goes on behind the scenes and seeing parts of the set that had been filmed in Friends and other programmes that I had watched. It was definitely worth the $60 I paid to go on the VIP Tour.
Whilst I was there, The Big Bang Theory cast were rehearsing in one stage, and Pretty Little Liars were filming in another. I walked along the street that was used in Gilmore Girls and is currently used in Pretty Little Liars and Heart of Dixie. I also got to wonder around the school that is featured Pretty Little Liars and saw all the girls bedrooms. It is crazy how small the spaces are in real life in comparison to how big they look on TV. I also got to sit on the sofa that was used in the filming of Friends!!
I think I had a permanent smile planted on my face as we went round and it definitely made me want to work behind the scenes on a show one day.
Later in the afternoon we met up with the others and Josh drove us closer to the Hollywood sign. We managed to get to some great touristy pictures before we left LA for San Diego.