Los Angeles

Its been a while since my last post and this is my second attempt in writing it. The computer I was using yesterday decided to crash and I lost about 45 mins of writing, I was not happy! Let me try again!

Los Angeles is a vast vast metropolis that actually holds at least 3 other cities within its borders. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Universal City are all self sufficient units within a much larger one.

Our first impressions of Los Angeles were not exactly positive. As we entered the city limits on the Greyhound all we could see was industrial units, warehouses and factory’s. It didn’t seem to fit the LA we know from the movies. Another negative aspect was what was written in our California guide about the Greyhound station we were soon to approach. It read…"If you can help it, do not depart from the coach at the downtown station as it has been known to be quite a dangerous area for tourists!" Well we had to depart because that was as far as the coach was going. So I made a decision to get a cab and pay the extra cost just for peace of mind. An hour and a half bus ride through unknown territory wasn’t an option!

Anyway, once we were dropped off at our hostel at Venice Beach the scenery dramatically changed and we saw the LA everyone knows and sometimes loves. Our hostel was situated about a 30 second walk from the beach which was great for evening strolls and morning swims. Venice Beach is a lively place with all sorts of characters roaming around trying to get you to buy stuff or generaly give them cash. A 20 minute walk along the beach takes you to Santa Monica, which is a very pretty place and alot more up market than Venice. Its also where Baywatch was filmed! Yes ladies and gentlemen, we walked the same sands as "The Hoff" and "Miss Anderson". The lifeguard towers look the way they should and the lifeguards even hang the orange float thingy from the roof, just like "The Hoff" once did. Very cool!

As we only allowed three days here we decided to take part in the cheesy tour of LA, this would make sure we saw all the touristy places without having to pay for public transport (it takes at least an hour to get anywhere by car here!). The tour was an all day one and we started at Venice Beach and learnt about how they had tried to create an exact replica of Venice in Italy, they even had canals in the street and gondolas riding on them. The dream never worked out though so they filled in all the canals and only the name stuck.

After Venice we toured around Santa Monica, saw things like Golds Gym where Arnie trained to be Mr Universe and also saw a few restaurants he now owns. Then we went to the oldest part of LA, where it all began back in like the 1700’s.

Then we travelled to Hollywood and stopped here for lunch, we managed to see the typical things like the Walk of Fame, The Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held and a glimpse of the Hollywood sign. Hollywood is okay but its not as glamorous as you may think. The Walk of Fame starts about a quarter of a mile up the road and the shops that run right next to it are your typical sex shops and liquor stores found in smaller less famous towns.

From here we travelled up into the Hollywood Hills where we saw the Hollywood sign and some of "The Stars" homes. Some of these homes we saw were owned by Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Cuba Gooding Junior, Bill Cosby and Marlyn Brando to name but a few. We then travelled into Bel Air and Beverly Hills where we stopped at Rodeo Drive to look at the stupidly over priced shops. The tour was great fun especially as our tour guide was new and some of his commentary was hilarious and his driving was a bit sketchy. He actually bent another coaches wind mirror back as he drove past it. Bobbie and I were in stitches it was so funny!

Los Angeles was a great place to visit but I could never live there, it doesn’t have a great vibe like San Diego had.

We are now in San Francisco and I will write about this a bit later. We need to go check into our new hostel.

Until a bit later….

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