Trip Start Dec 02, 2011
14Trip End Jan 12, 2012
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Where I stayed
My brother's friend Aubrey
Stayed in a hostel on Hollywood Boulevard for the first night, I arrived very late as the train was delayed by 2 hours due to an accident of 2 trains ahead of us. The next day I walked around the Walk of Fame (80% of the 'stars' I have no idea who they are, but never mind). I saw the Hollywood sign - you know the big letters HOLLYWOOD - in the distance and it didn't seem that far, so decided to walk there next. Turned out it was much further than I thought, took about an hour and a half to get to the bottom of the hill (mountain if you ask me :) ), and then the zigzag route up the hill was about another hour. I got a bit impatient (I know, it's known to happen) and decided to take a shortcut by deserting the road and climbing up the hill. Got pretty close but as it was around 3.30pm and it is dark around 5pm, thought I'd better not go any further
I then collected my now very heavy backpack (don't know what happened in 1 week) and made my way to Aubrey's near Venice Beach by bus. The 2 buses took over 2 hours, and it really isn't that far (still all within LA) but never mind. The bus driver started talking to me and was saying how he used to have an office job but hated to sit in one place all day, and how you get to move around as a bus driver haha.
Venice Beach is a crazy hippy area with lots of market stalls. The weather was amazing, felt like 25C. In the afternoon I had a tasting session of Green Tonics with Aubrey. She is setting up her own online business to sell Green Tonics (basically very healthy vegetable drinks) and Health Elixers (herbal teas), and she needed to finalise her recipes. So this was a great way for me to top up my vitamins (finally!) and for Aubrey to have a non-green-fanatic taste her drinks. Most of them I really liked, and it was really cool to experiment with the different ingredients (this needs some honey!). I tried about 10 different drinks, really good! Aubrey was very worried I was going to have a counter-reaction to all the healthy stuff and get sick, apparently someone else said that happened to them - which is quite ridiculous because it is all vegetables and fruit. I survived and no side affects, so I can say with quite a bit of certainty that others will as well!!
The next day I took the Southwest Chief (the big route Amtrak trains all have great names), leaving around 6pm and arriving at 5.30am in Flagstaff. Flagstaff is in Arizona, and guess what, it is about 4C and snowing. This is quite different from traveling about 3 hours south to Phoenix area where it's about 18C, but I want to go north to the Grand Canyon. Northern Arizona has ski resorts but most people don't know this. Luckily I was prepared and had my hat, gloves and scarf ready, but it's quite a change in temperature :(
Today I'll be in Flagstaff and then making my way to the Grand Canyon tomorrow, although snow storms have been predicted so I'll have to see what happens...
As they say in the US, have a nice day!