Travel: The delights of Hollywood

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.

1174830_10153249604005054_1109670102_n

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.

IMG_0713

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’.

IMG_5536IMG_5537IMG_5538IMG_5541IMG_5542IMG_5543IMG_5544
IMG_5545


IMG_5552IMG_0715 IMG_5560 IMG_5561 IMG_5562 IMG_5563 IMG_5564 IMG_5566

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.

IMG_5677 IMG_5680IMG_5571 IMG_5579 IMG_5578 IMG_5577 IMG_5575 IMG_5573 IMG_5572

We also went on a tour of the Hollywood hills and saw many things:

The church that Sister Act was filmed in.

IMG_5585

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.

IMG_0721

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!!

IMG_5654 IMG_5653 IMG_5650 IMG_0736IMG_5646 IMG_5635 IMG_5633 IMG_5627 IMG_5626 IMG_5625 IMG_5624 IMG_5623 IMG_5602 IMG_5601

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.

IMG_5694 IMG_5689

Travel: Leaving England…

The day of my flight finally arrived. Up bright and early, I made my way to Heathrow airport, terminal 3, with my friend Chris.

It was nice to be able to travel to the airport with someone as it made it less stressful. The previous day I had made the journey from Devon to London and I spent the night at Chris’.

Once at the airport we sailed through check in and security. The buzzer didn’t go off when I walked through which was a surprise. Whilst waiting to board the plane I savoured my last English bacon butty and spotted the Ted Baker shop.

Chris’ flight was at 2pm so once I had munched my way through the bap it was time to say our goodbyes.

Alone at the airport, I headed to Ted Baker to ‘just have a look’. When I realised all the stuff was half price I made a beeline for the purses. I have wanted one of these purses for over a year now so was so excited to find they only cost £35 instead of there usual £75. Extremly happy with my bargain I walked away and decided to look around the seating area to see if I could see anyone else with a Camp America (CA) top on. I walked over to a girl and we gave eachother an awkward smile. I motioned to sit next to her and she seemed willing. We ended up chatting until the flight was due to board and at that point there was a big group of CA travelers. It was all very exciting which made the pre flight nervs sudside.

A very excitable and friendly girl asked if I wouldn’t mind being intereviewed as she was a vlogger for CA. Knowing how difficult it can be to get people to comply I agreed. It was all light hearted fun, with cheering and laughter.

After walking through the tunnel that connects the plane to the airport, I found my seat and waited with baited breath to find out who my ‘plane partner’ was going to be. A young guy came and sat next to the window which left one seat in the middle. I waited and waited until the pilot began to tell us we were about to take off before coming to the conclusion thatI  actually didn’t have anyone sitting next to me. I could barely believe my luck, first a half price purse and now extra leg room and no worries of someone smelling of BO.

6A23C4A7-F7D1-4FE9-8E15-0C0FA79AFADA

Take off always makes me feel weird, my tummy feels like it is being bounced up and down. Once in the air I began to watch Les Mis. Half way through the film, just as the melas were being handed out, we hit some turbulance. I began feeling rather ill so once the seatbelt signs were turned off I headed for the toilet to be sick. Typical me!

After that I felt fine and carried on watching the film and eating the just about edible plane food. It was funny how they described the food on the menu, it made it sound delightful.

B56EB5EA-CB0A-4365-8551-0775056A3EA6

On the plane there were rows and rows of CA travelers, I made friends with the girl who sat across the walkway. Her name was Kate and during the flight she just began laughing at me because I was kitted out with so much plane gear. I had kids ear plugs that helped relieve the pain you get in your ears when flying, a cool strip for my forehead, PJs to keep comfy and my inflatable neck pillow. I recommend everyone get these essential flying itemsto make your journey better!

After I finished watching Life of Pi it was nearly time to land. Once on the ground, we headed through security and boy do they hate it if you use your phones. A mean looking man hovered over us and waited for this boy to notice his mistake before humiliating him infront of the rest of the que. I’m just glad it wasn’t me!

The whole security process was a little scary. I wasn’t particularly scared until I approached the desk and the security guy through my passport back at me and told me to remove the cover. He was so rude!

I was amazed at how quickly and easy it was to retrieve my suitcase. The whole airport experiece almost felt too good to be true.

We then all piled onto a couch and were dropped off at the hotel were we were to spend the night before heading to camp.