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Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Los Angeles - Hollywood!

18th – 22nd July

After several very wet days in Panama, we believed that LA would be the change we’re been looking for – California, the sunshine state, where the weather is fine and the bodies on the beach even finer!

Lots of people we talk too say that they hated Los Angeles, so we arrived not really knowing what to expect. Arriving late at night, we checked into the Santa Monica Motel, and got a some sleep before heading out the next day on foot to explore Santa Monica.

The notion of not driving a car while in LA is alien to most people. 6 lane boulevards where priority is always given to cars means that you can stand waiting for 5 minutes waiting for the green man to come on, blink and you’ve missed him and have to wait again. Contrary to what people will tell you, there are bus services, and we found them very cheap and very reliable.

We had no plan of what to do with our three days here, so it was a
combination of the free tourist guide and friends recommendations that led us to stay in Santa Monica. It was a great place to base ourselves – unlike Hollywood, the main tourist centre of LA. Santa Monica has a much more local feel to it. Being right on the coast, it has a seaside atmosphere and the pier reminded us of Brighton!

It was the first ever ‘Glow’ festival on the Saturday night that we were there. This was a 12 hour (7pm – 7am) extravaganza of light shows and entertainment around the beaches and pier. We made the schoolboy error of forgetting our ID so we were unable to get a drink all evening, bloody rules and regulations! Unable to make it through till 7am, we headed back home on the free night bus and were tucked up in bed by 2.30am!

The following day, we headed down to Venice Beach, expecting to check out the fit guys and gals of LA strutting their stuff. We were sorely disappointed! We showed them a thing a two with our ripped bodies, and went for a very quick dip due to the fact the water was freezing! On the promenade there are a number of cool cafés and bars, full of the Venice crowd.

We landed a very good table outside the Candle Café, which turns out to be one of the places to see and be seen! Just after we took our table, a guy in his 50’s who seems like he is a bit of a local celebr
ity, with a huge blue parrot called Rocky, sits down next to us. He was with a friend who had a canary in his pocket. Only in LA!

We enjoyed some great food and several pints of pear cider (our first cider for some time!) and watched the locals entertain us with all kinds of fun goings on!

There was a fight in the back alley between one of the waitresses beefcake boyfriends, and another meaty looking guy – all the time we are getting a running commentary from the parrot man and his friend, who seem to know everyone that passes. The parrot guy also has a loudhailer under the table which has a number of sound effects such as a police siren. He sets it off when a homeless guy comes up to talk to him ‘Quick Louie, it’s the cops… better move on…’ What a fruitcake!

We allowed ourselves one day to do all the major sights of Hollywood and the centre of LA. The only way to do this we thought, would be on a Harley. We couldn’t afford one, so we ended up with a lovely cream coloured scooter, called a Buddy, which as you can see from the picture suited me very well! Along with Sunset Strip, Hollywood and the Hollywood Sign, we cruised around Beverly Hills, down Rodeo Drive, and had lunch at the Farmers Market. We tried Pinks Chili Dog on the way home, thanks for the recommendation Darren!

Malibu is around 30 mins drive away from Santa Monica. We spent our last day by scooting up to Malibu beach, and hanging out there for the day. Not what we expected, but nice all the same, we were looking out for the Baywatch lifeguards, but the high cut swimsuits and fake boobs must have been a thing from the past!

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