We arrived at Union Station around 9pm, picked up our bags and headed off to the back of the station to pick up our bus to the hotel. After only 10 minutes or so, the bus we required arrived, pulled up, let off it's passengers and then drove off without letting anyone on! What was that all about! Another half an hour later and another bus turns up, but this time we were allowed on. We got off the bus just around the corner to our hotel and dragged our bags the short distance to the entrance. After checking in, we went up to our room on the 14th floor and dropped off the bags. It was a poky room, looking out at an internal courtyard and to be honest, smelt like it had been used for a while. Straight away, Dean switched on the TV, but discovered the remote didn't work as there was only one battery in it. We traipsed back down to Reception to get a battery and see if we could change from this musty room
. Battery obtained, but when we asked if we could swap rooms, were told that because we had used the room we weren't allowed to move. We explained that we had only just checked in and just dropped our bags off before coming back down to sort this. We were then told, 'oh ok, I'll see what we have available.' Before moving our bags, I asked to view the room, (well, smell it anyway), and we were escorted up to the room to look. This room smelt better and also turned out to have a view not of an internal courtyard, so we swapped. Once settled in, we showered, tucked ourselves into bed and watched some TV. Around 12am we fell asleep.
Not a bad night. Got up around 8am and headed off to Cliftons Cafeteria to have breakfast, just like before. However, we soon discovered that it was closed for refurbishments. The look on Dean's face said it all. We now had to hunt for somewhere else for breakfast and a reasonable price. We were recommended Ihop, sort of like a Happy Eater style restaurant, sat down and ordered. When the food arrived it was very nice, but luke warm. Breakfast over, we returned to the hotel to get up to date with our travelpod and do some research on where to go tomorrow and how to get there, After a short while, we decided to go for a walk to Union Station to get information on bus/rail day passes
. While walking through El Pueblo, we watched some tribal looking dancers and then what may have been traditional Mexican dancers. We left the dancing behind and walked into Union Station, where we found 3 young ladies at an information booth, who were very friendly and helpful. We left the station with a few ideas in our heads and headed back to the hotel, checking out a nearer subway station on the way, so we'd know where to go tomorrow for the subway. We returned to the hotel via McDonalds for a hot fudge sundae and got back on the internet for a while before heading out to Pizza Hut for dinner. Pizza Hut may not sound the best place to go when you're in a city like LA, but when you haven't had a pizza in a while and there selling any pizza for $10, well, what can we say and actually, it was really nice. We then returned to the hotel, back to our room to watch some more TV, before retiring.
As it was Sunday, we had a little lie-in until 9am and then walked to Ihop for breakfast again. After breakfast, we headed to the nearest subway station, bought our day passes and got on the train to Hollywood. We got off at Hollywood Boulevard and walked the Walk of Fame. It really is amazing, who they will give a star to! Big Bird, really! We'd not heard of half of them
. We stopped of at the Kodak Theatre, where the Oscars are held and took a look at the Hollywood sign in the distance. With our day passes in hand, we then hopped on the next bus to Rodeo, (pronounced Ro-day-o not Ro - dee -o), Drive. However, we didn't get far, as we found out we were going the wrong way and had to get off and on the next bus going in the opposite direction! Oops! A couple of bus changes later and we arrived at Rodeo Drive. This really is where the rich come to shop. All the names were there; Jimmy Choo, YSL, Armani, etc. Looking like tramps, we quickly walked up and down the street and hopped on the next bus back. This time we were heading out to Griffith Observatory to get a closer look at the Hollywood sign. We arrived around 3pm and after taking the obligatory photo of the sign, entered the observatory. We spent a good couple of hours wondering around looking at the exhibits and then watching a movie, hosted by Leonard Nemoy, about the observatory. We then took a look at LA all lit up and then had to wait around half an hour or so for the next bus back. As it was getting on for 6pm we decided to eat out and had spotted a Wendy's earlier, so that's where we headed for. Fast food again, you may say, but I can remember my dad talking about Wendy's when he used to visit the US for work, so I thought I must see what they are like so I can tell him. To be honest, they're pretty good. Similar to BK. Anyway, tummies full, we headed back to the hotel on the subway, having asked a few people where the best place to see Christmas lights would be and getting the same answer, 'Christmas lights - no, we don't really do them'
. Back at the hotel, we were soon on the internet catching up and then we showered and spent the rest of the evening watching yet more TV before falling asleep.
Up around 8am for our last morning in LA & North America. Headed off to Ihop again for our usual luke warm breakfast, but this time we had a voucher so we could get some money off. After breakfast, we returned to the hotel and packed ready for our flight home. Our shuttle was already booked, so we just had to sit and wait in the lobby until it showed up. As this is where the internet was, we didn't mind so much. Around 2pm, we popped out to Subway for a quick lunch and then returned to the hotel's lobby to wait, out of the rain for our shuttle. At 2.45pm the shuttle turned up and after waiting for another passenger we eventually headed to the airport for our flight home. After checking in our bags, we found a spot to sit and read for an hour or so in the arrivals area as we couldn't go through security with our bottled water. An hour later we queued up and went through the screening booth (first time in one) after taking our shoes off and having them put through the xray along with our carry on bags. We then had 2 hrs to wait for our flight which seemed like forever as there's not much to do at this airport
. As we were in the cheap seats, we were called on last and even when we were all on board they seemed to take ages to get to the runway. So much so we took off half an hour late. Good job really as we found out that we had a really good tail wind and would only be nine and a half hours instead of the eleven we thought. We soon settled in and watched the final part of Harry Potter, which was rather dissapointing as it's such a dark movie and the screens reflected the cabin lights so much that you had to slouch right down in your seat when the guy in front reclined his seat back. After the movie and the usual in flight meal (I was expecting more from Virgin), we settled in our seats for the night and got a few hours sleep.
Woke up after 4hrs sleep around 10.30am UK time (2.30am LA time), gave up trying to sleep and watched the movie Cowboys and Aliens. Half an hour later we were heading in to land which also took forever so in the end we landed near enough on the original time. That was good for us as we'd have been to early for our pick up. Cat's parents arrived bang on time and drove us back to thiers in time for a nice cup of tea and a well earned rest.
9th Dec. cont.