A Day in Tinseltown

Trip Start Jul 26, 2012
Trip End Sep 13, 2012

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How could we come to LA and not visit Hollywood. We had our Ethiopian taxi driver, Saleh, pick us up at the hotel to do a bit of a tour, starting at the Griffith Observatory overlooking Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Downtown LA. This is where James Dean was filmed in "Rebel without a Cause". After a day in the heat, we're already starting to winge a bit - it's around low 30s and we're not used to it. This is the closest we'll get to the Hollywood sign, and it still needs a good zoom lens. I hear the sign was put up in 1929 to promote a housing project called Hollywoodland (with the original sign flashing Holly,Wood, Land and then the full sign - already back in the 20s they were flashing adverts at you here). The plan was to keep it for 18 months - its lost the "Land" bit but has survived the test of time, including the official sign caretaker driving off the cliff drunk one night and taking out the bottom of the "H" many years ago - sounds like something Jack would do!

We then got dropped off at the Walk of Fame - 2,500 names so a bit tricky to see all of them but we saw our fair share. I'm guessing that this is the town where tacky souvenirs were invented and we did resist the temptation to buy 3 oscars with the "Worlds Greatest Dogsitter" for Marco & Pina, Ian and Kelly and Peter & Jenny - in retrospect, we should have got them as these are all people who would have proudly displayed them on a mantle-piece somewhere.

Also saw the famous Chinese Theater and the hand and footprints of the famous. Our lunchtime experience was the Californian version of McDonalds as recommended by our Ethiopian friend who sold it as a true dining experience - the In 'n Out Burger - and true, better than McDonalds but unlikely to excite the food critics. We also stopped into the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard and walked around the lobby - I've read about this place sometime ago and seem to recall it was restored to it former glory. Pretty amazing inside and worth taking a look if you want to take a break from tacky for a few minutes.

Old Saleh picked us and shared some taxi stories with us - like the time he was called to pick up a guy who when he rolled down the window pointed a gun at him - he was in reverse when he put the window down so just "shot" (if you'll excuse the pun) backwards and managed to get away. Or the time he picked up a guy who wanted to go to a cheque cashing service - to cut a long story short, it ended up being a two day affair after calling to many which didn't have enough money - in the end he asked him how much he was looking to cash - the guy told him that he had just been released from jail for murder and was looking to cash a cheque for $10,000. I'm sure that our Compliance team at work would struggle with this guy as a client. Or - last story - his colleague who was called to pick up a guy on Hollywood Boulevard who asked to take him to Las Vegas - worked out that the guy had just shot several children in a schoolyard, killed a postman who walked by and then hailed a cab - he even fell asleep on the way to Las Vegas (he was caught in the end). Crazy country - you don't get these type of stories from Josť in a Luxembourg taxi - come to think of it, you don't get any story from Josť.

Back to Santa Monica and dined in the Border Grill - a Mexican restaurant run by a couple of celebrity chefs and on one of the food critics 99 places to eat in LA before you die. It was almost a prophecy come true for Jack who had a couple of unscheduled trips to the loo after but all round was a nice meal.

Tomorrow, Hawaii....


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Mary on

I am enjoying this all of you look great

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