LA Baby...yeah!

Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
Trip End ??? ??, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, August 31, 2008

As Los Angeles was purely a 24hr transit stop before flying to New Zealand, we didn't know how much of the city we would see - surprisingly we managed quite a few of the sights.

We touched down around 3pm local time and after collecting our luggage we headed to our hotel situated only minutes from the arrivals hall. For those of you who have never been to LAX airport, the locality of it and the ease in which you can pass through customs and check-in, make it probably the most user friendly airport in the world - enough of the free endorsement.

Now the intention was to collect the hire car (not booked with Thifty) on arrival, however due to the fact that we woke early to catch the two fights to LA, the crossing of time zones and the journey itself, we were absolutely shattered and had to catch a few zzzzz´s before seeing anything.

We finally left the hotel a few hours later and found our way to our next car rental centre. Now before leaving the UK it was my intention to choose a funky car to cruise around LA in (it had to be done) and after perusing Hertz' website I noticed they had available a whole fleet of fun hire cars in which to choose. Now one of my favourite cars is a Ford Mustang Fastback 66, and as Hertz had a special relationship with Ford and Shelby way back when, they came together a few years ago and produced a special collectors Hertz Ford Shelby Mustang. Now you would have thought that booking this car three months prior to arriving at the Hertz' office the car would have been available - but oh no. It turns out that there were two cars available, however one was still being cleaned and the other had a dead battery. After another two hour standoff with a car hire customer service officer he finally acknowledged that we were greatly inconvenienced and gave us a free upgrade, free petrol, free SAT NAV (which the Ford did not come with) and the opportunity to exchange the car the next morning.

The upgrade turned out to be a stunning Chevrolet Corvette, not the first choice but still it looked amazing and I couldn't wait to drive it. Our first destination was Santa Monica Beach as we heard there were a few things to do after hours. After cautiously navigating our way there we managed to find a car park and a parking space that accommodated the beast. The next dilemma and quite a problematic one at that, was managing to lock the car. Unlike normal cars this car did not have a key to lock the door but only a remote locking device that did not have a button to press when leaving the vehicle, thus Naomi and I spent the next hour trying a myriad of connotations involving one leaving the car and the other staying etc. that would allow us to break free. This as you can imagine caused quite a few raised eyebrows especially as the car is not the most understated of cars found in a parking lot. After all of her innumerable years of university education Naomi eventually fathomed out from reading the owner's handbook that the car senses when you move so many metres away from the car and then automatically locks itself. I should add at this point that you can pretty much apply the aforementioned set of events to the very next day when we tried to figure out the convertible roof. All I say is good luck to the next people that have the same problem as us.

The Santa Monica pier at night was mildly disappointing, in fairness it was really no different from that you would find on any English seaside resort, apart from the strange array of characters and people.
There really wasn't much left of the evening once we had done a quick up and down of the pier and had a bite to eat, except that is for Naomi to take control of the Chevrolet on the main strip which she enjoyed enormously, though I must admit it was the first time since knowing her that I saw a slight bit of trepidation in her eyes as she applied pressure on the acceleration pedal.

We awoke the next day not wanting to exchange the car due to the time restraints and the fact that this car had SAT NAV - a much needed accessory for seeing things quickly. The whole day was spent taking in the sights, first stop the shabby chic area of Hollywood Boulevard, where all the star encrusted boardwalks are found and it was there that we also caught a glimpse of the Hollywood sign. We then headed to Beverly Hills, taking in Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard before heading up into the mountains surrounding LA. The real estate found in this area was pretty awe-inspiring and probably a selection of the most beautiful properties we had ever seen gathered in one place.
Finally we headed back to Santa Monica Beach where a stroll along the beach was followed by an enjoyable meal along side it.
Though I was a little bit miffed at not taking hiring the Mustang, I think I can speak on behalf of Naomi and myself in saying that it was truly one of the most enjoyable and memorable days of our lives so far.
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