Sunday, May 23, 2010

California Part 1: Los Angeles - not as glossy as Hollywood would have you believe.

Where do we start….a week has passed and it seems like two! The random places we have ended up, the people we have met so far has been nothing short of brilliant! We have let go of control (surprise for me I know) and going with the flow has been rewarding to say the least.

So here goes….we arrived in LA on Monday 17th May and extremely jet lagged, we made our way via shuttle to our hotel just off of Hollywood Blvd, through peak hour traffic. We discovered that LA drivers are ruthless and the only way to get through a gap in between bumpers to turn into a driveway is to honk your horn and use certain hand gestures! After arriving at our hotel, we got some food in Thai town, managed to stay up until 9pm (5am UK time) then hit the sack.

We were in LA for 3 nights, 3 days and it was slightly underwhelming, especially Hollywood. It definitely doesn’t look like the glossy brochures/postcards! It’s actually quite run down and after talking to some of the locals, we learned it’s quite a ‘rough’ neighbourhood. Of course it was a novelty (albeit cliché) to walk the Hall of Fame. We had a bit of fun posing with the stars at Madame Tussaud’s and of course Freddy Kruger out front of the Chinese Theatre. We spent the most part of a day at Universal Studios which was way overpriced and overrated (in our opinion of course – just in case we have caused offence ;-) We have concluded that theme parks are really not for us! They sap our energy and leave us feeling deflated and exhausted. So it will probably be the last one we do….at least until we have kids. The highlight of our visit to Universal was having a photo with Homer! LOL!

In LA, we were engulfed by fast food billboards from every angle and the ‘supersize’ reputation America is known for is definitely true!! We learned this at dinner on the first night, after eating it looked like a mouse had been nibbling at our serve. I (sal) was feeling a little concerned because it seemed obvious we were going to struggle to find any healthy, unprocessed food and there’s no way I was resorting to junk every day! Our saving grace……Whole Foods Market – an organic supermarket that we found on our way to visiting Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. We stocked up on Salad for lunch and dinner there and although it was quite expensive (only because Tim got the weight conversions wrong - 1lb is only 450g, NOT 2.2kg!!) it was a brilliant buy! So there was hope…maybe we would find some more good, healthy food in this country!

On our last day in LA, we caught public transport to pick up our campervan. We used Google to find out the best way of getting to where we needed to go and what buses we needed to catch. Something we neglected to do was check what sort of neighbourhoods we would be passing through. We headed south from Hollywood and had to change buses at the halfway point….we got off the bus and needed to get some change for the next bus. Walking into a fast food joint, we immediately noticed the 2-inch thick bullet-proof glass lining the counter. ‘Uh-oh’…. We were not in a good neighbourhood. We hopped on our next bus and realised we definitely were not in Kansas anymore. All eyes were on the only Caucasian looking people and trying to get our luggage onto this packed bus was a little un-nerving to say the least! Thankfully we managed to get to where we needed to go without any hassle.

We have since found out from LA locals, that the corner where we changed buses is gang/violence central of LA and several people on that bus would have been thinking ‘how can we rob these people’!! Probably not a good thing to tell ya Mum or Dad!! SORRY!! Something to laugh about now!

We picked up our camper and were stoked to get a brand new van (right)with a wicked airbrush design! We have since attracted quite a bit of attention with this funky mini-home on wheels. It is our home for the next 28 days.


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