Trip Start Apr 15, 2009
Trip End Jun 09, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, May 23, 2009

So, after a long drive from Flagstaff to Vegas and then a long bus journey from Vegas to LA (through the desert on a bus with broken air con!) we finally arrived in downtown LA and set about finding somewhere to stay. We found some free beds at the USA Hostel in Hollywood and made our way there via a bus and then the metro! LA is massive!  When we finally got off the metro at Hollywood Boulevard, first impressions are basically...what a shit hole! the streets are dirty, shops are crap and the whole place feels pretty seedy. The glamourous ´Hollywood´that we all hear about doesnt really exist, its Belair, Beverly Hills and Malibu that are the nice parts. Hollywood itself is actually a dive!

So anyway, the hostel was not kind to our buget at a whopping $34 per night, but it seems that is the going rate in LA and we just sucked it up. It was nice place though and we were pleased to find out there was a comedy night on in the hostel bar that night and we enjoyed a few cheapish beers and the comedians were actually pretty good - considering it was free!

The next day after our all you can eat pancake breakfast, we signed up for the hostel´s walking tour of  Beverly Hills. "See all the stars homes for one third of the price of the bus tours" we were told. and so $12 dollars later we were off, covered in suncream ready to see some celebs.  It turned out that the guy taking the tour is a wannabe actor (as is everyone in LA) and it seemed like he was full of shit! He was actually smoking a fake cigarette half of time - why anyone would do that i really dont know! So we saw lots of houses that supposedly belong to or used to belong to famous people including Michael Jackson, Matt le Blanc, Freddie Mercury and my fave Adam Brody (aka Seth from the OC)! Then afterwards we took a walk down Rodeo Drive to relive that famous scene from Pretty Woman. The tour guide man sais "take some time to go shopping if you like". Im thinking - Mate, we´re staying in dorm beds in a hostel, do you really think we have money to go shopping in Gucci and Prada?! Dillusional! So, at the end of the day, we didnt see any celebs whatsoever. Very disappointed!

After the tour we decided to get the bus to Santa Monica and stay in a Hostel there for a few days. It took 45 mins to get the bus from Hollwood to Santa monica though - like I said LA is massive! The hostel was another expensive one, but best we have stayed in yet. We walked along Santa Monica Beachfront which was very nice and what you might expect of LA, and along Sant Monica Pier which is full of shops restaurants and cute fairground rides.    30mins walk south of Santa Monica Beach, you come to Venice Beach and Venice Boardwalk which is full of street performers, stalls, shops, restaurants etc and the famous ´Muscle Beach´. Got to say I was disappointed with Muscle Beach as there were only 3 men in there, 2 of which were over 50 and all of them were flabby! We then went to look at the Venice Canals - based on the ones in Venice Italy, but actually nothing like them! was interesting to see though, people actually have boats tied up outside their houses and sail along the canals when they need to!

One day we decided to  be sociable and took a trip to Malibu with people from the hostel - it was free so why not hey! Malibu is supposedly where some of the big stars live when they are in LA so we looked forward to some more celeb spotting. Malibu beach was disappointing, but mainly cos the weather was pretty poor at the time. But then the clouds started to lift and the sun came out  in the afternoon. By this point we had moved on to Zuma beach - the best in LA supposedly and where they filmed Baywatch! We had a few games of volleyball with our new found friends, and luke showed off his football skills to anyone who was watching! On the way back we stopped off in Malibu shopping centre to try and spot some celebs, but again to no avail!

After a few days at the beach we headed back to Hollywood, and booked ourselves on a tour of the Warner Brothers Studios where they make a hell of a lot of TV programmes and Films. We got to see costumes worn by stars in several blockbusters including Heath Ledger´s Joker costume f& Christian Bale´s Batman costume from the Dark Knight, lots of costumes from the Matrix, Million Dollar Baby and lots more. Very interesting to see how small and how big the actors/actresses are...skinny bitches!

The hilight of the tour for us was getting to visit what remains of the Friends set. Its only Central Perk but we were delighted to pose of the sofa for photos and just imagine what it would have been like to see a show beeing filmed.

The next day, we thought "when in Rome..." and so went to see a TV sitcom being filmed. (We nearly missed it however thanks to two bus drivers giving us incorrect directions and taking us to the wrong bloody studios despite me showing them a map!) The show is called "Rita Rocks" and is a sitcom based on this woman called Rita who is your typical wife andmother, but also plays in a band and they practice in her garage! It was quite funny actually but it took about 5 hours as they kept having to retake for various reasons. There is a compare/comedian guy there theough keeping the audience entertained - and we got a muffin and bottle of water and it was all free so you cant complain can ya!

For our last day in LA we acted like true tourists and went to the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard to see the imprints of celebrities hands and feet. Luke´s hilights were Clint Eastwood and Frank Sinatra, whereas I liked Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt haha! We then walked along the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" which streches for miles along Hollywood Boulevard, and picked out some of our favóurite peoples´ stars to take photos with -not easy when hoards of tourists are walking along the street at the same time! But fun all the same.

The next thing on the tourist checklist was to see the Hollywood sign, and although you cant actually get right up close to it, you can get reasonable close if you hike up a small hill and so thats what we did! Then it was time for a burger at our favourite burger joint - In & Out Burger. We were introduced to the delights of this place in San Francisco - apparently they only exist in West USA, but if you are ever there - you should go! Sooo tasty and cheaper than Macdonalds!

So, after killing a lot of time it was finally time to go to the airport and we checked in for our flight to Panama, apprehensive about what the journey south was to bring!...

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