(Where the hell are we in) L.A.

Trip Start Jan 22, 2006
Trip End Aug 16, 2006

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Today was the day where we found out exactly why L.A.'s road system is so notorious and what a bad plan it is to set off in the car without having a clear idea where you are driving to. The plan was to visit Hollywood and take the obligatory shots of the sign, but things didn't quite go to plan.

According to the man that served us in the coffee shop that we visited, the locals consider this weather cold and he had seen some people walking around in a fur coat. We suggested they should try the UK at this time of year, then their outfits would be more appropriate!

The drive started off well, we went over the top of a mountain (where no doubt my extremely cautious driving annoyed the trail of cars behind me!) and again hit the coast. Some of the views were stunning and the houses seriously big, you need lots of money to survive in LA obviously!

Then we headed further into the town, going up Mulholland Drive (just so we could name check David Lynch) and then to Bel-Air (so we could sing the theme tune to the Fresh Prince). I'm sure the residents of the road must be used to people driving up and down their road and just staring at the size of their houses.

Driving around some more, we stopped at some traffic lights temporarily, when glancing right, we saw a rather large and topless man beating a war memorial with a giant fern. I'm not sure who hit the door lock button quicker, Lynne or I, but it must have been a close run thing. Fortunately the lights turned to green and we were able to leave him and whatever mind altering substance he had taken behind us.

With a bit of blind luck we happened to stumble across a huge cemetery which had the graves of the tens of thousands of US service men and women. Row upon row of white headstone stretched for as far as the eye could see and beyond. We'd just stepped out of the car to take a few morbid shots with the camera, when a police cruiser pulled up in front of us. My first thought was perhaps he'd maybe seen me driving around wildly earlier in the day or that the people from Bel-Air had phoned 911, but it was simply to advise us that we needed to obtain a free permit to be able to take photographs. Since he was carrying a huge gun, we decided it would be wise to obey him.

After this interlude, the driving nightmare began where we ended up getting into suburbs of LA that we (and our map) didn't know existed. Already completely lost, we were overjoyed to find that the LA rush hour seems to start at about 3pm. Poor Lynne was busy trying to map read or at least guide us in a direction that put us back on the map, whilst I was trying to make sure that the car wasn't smashed to pieces every time we were cut up (approximately every 30 seconds).

In the end we decided we just got on a freeway, so we could work out where we were and then drove out of town to escape the metallic soup that is LA in rush hour. We reached Pasadena (now officially re-named the stupid town that doesn't appear to have any hotels) and then drove out the other side of Pasadena to a place called Arcadia. It's not in any of the guidebooks, but it did have a hotel that wasn't too overpriced and did have vacancies for the night. So that is where we decided to rest our heads for the night, underneath some rather beautiful mountains.
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