Coming to America
Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
374Trip End Mar 15, 2007
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Where I stayed
Approaching the US coast it was a clear blue sky day as the Air New Zealand flight came in over the sprawling city blocks of Los Angeles below stretching out to the surrounding hills beneath a film of smog.
Filling out the immigration card I did have some satisfying trouble trying to fit all the countries I'd been to though on the little space they give you having to give up around Singapore. It was about this time I wondered how gentle the brick wall like US immigration would be on me having visited 3 communist countries, 1 Muslim country and 2 countries that have both had a recent military coup on this trip.
Stepping up to the custom guy having my fingerprints and photo taking things went surprisingly smoothly although being asked why I needed so long in North America at 6 weeks I took a step back almost asking him "Do you know how big an area that is?"
Clearing the firing squad line up with no rubber gloves appearing, Katie was waiting on the other side to hand over her contact details before she left on another flight to Las Vegas scribbling them down on the back of a leaflet (take note).
Taking a shuttle bus to my first USA hostel, handily called USA Hostel, it was located just off Hollywood Blvd. being a good position to explore this part of town. Handing over the hostel leaflet (take note) I picked up at Vara's for a $3 discount I dumped my bags and went for a wander down the street.
Hollywood. For a film buff this was was like err, erm...well Hollywood although probably a little tackier than I'd imagined but maybe with just as many stars lining the pavement, sorry, sidewalk (flipping Americanisms) stepping over 100s and 100s of people I've never heard of down the walk of fame.
Reaching Mann's Chinese Theater further down the road home of many a movie premiere I checked out the immortalized footprints out front of such Hollywood greats as Steve McQueen, Johnny Depp, R2-D2 and Donald Duck. Knowing that all the best nutjobs, screwballs, oddballs and cheeseballs come from California a few where on display around here including one guy dressed as Spider-Man standing on a bin, sorry trashcan, trying to climb a lamp post.
Climbing up the steps inside the Kodak Theater next door where the much advertised around town Oscars will be held in a few weeks I didn't really feel like a star but did feel a night of sleeping on a plane creeping up on me. Returning to the hostel I remembered I would let Katie know my impressions of the City of Angels on arriving when I suddenly remembered where she copied her contact details and what I did with them. @#!%*!!! Rushing to the front desk the bald but bearded guy who checked me in was no longer there as I asked his replacement if the leaflet was lying around amongst the millions of others scattered about. Arrrrgggghhhh!!!
That guy in the Spider-Man suit didn't look as stupid as I felt now.