Chinese Embassy & Rodeo Drive!

Trip Start Apr 18, 2008
Trip End Jul 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This early am got pictures of Hollywood sign! Yeah! it is so cool! Just a 100 metre walk from hostel up some stairs and had a great view! Also the walk of fame, Flic got her pic with Britney's star!!! Yeaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!! Honestly im sure there are quite a few people out there with a closet love of Britney, stemming from her earlier less wild days! LOL ;-)

Today the plan is to hopefully, very very very hopefully obtain Chinese visas. Which we weren't able to get in Adelaide due to the entire visa revamping in time for the Olympics and maybe also I suspect to do with trouble in Tibet and not wanting foreigners being a part of it. Anyway in Adelaide they would only give us a visa for 8 weeks and single not double entry - so it would have expired on the day we arrived in China! Not much help!!! So it just means that its more carry on to try and figure out where the embassy office is in Los Angeles, and hope they are helpful to us Aussies!
We arrived at the embassy by 11am, thinking that as we were going to pay rush fees on the visa's for them to be processed that day, that if the office shut at 3pm we would have fair bit of time! Wrong!!! We arrived at the visa section of the embassy and were confronted by a huge room - a sea of mostly black hair, with 5 very long rows of seating all filled! And people standing and queuing for seats! We took a ticket it was like number 172 and they were only at number 100 with two people only dealing with the masses who were there for visa's, passports and China and Hong Kong immigration! Far out sums it up pleasantly!

We eventually got to the front of the queue only about 1:30pm!!! Not as fun as waiting for a ride at Disneyland!!!  Only for us to have another battle on our hands! The woman kept carrying on about us needing an airline ticket. We're like no! We are coming by land; we only have a train ticket! The whole purpose of our trip!!!!!! 'No' she said, 'how you going to get from London to China by train.' 'This is not possible!'  Talk about getting frustrated, then she say 'ok' 'maybe you can fly from Mongolia to China'! ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!
Anyway ended up giving her a quick geography lesson! Yes Europe and Asia are connected by land, and there are train routes running the whole way!!!  And also showed her our tickets! She finally believed us, but then seemed to go completely over the top! We had come prepared with all the necessary paperwork photocopied and completed,- but suddenly she wanted copies of our airplane ticket to London (to prove we were catching a plane at some point) and copies of all our tickets and receipts all the way from London through to Russia and our extensive itinerary for Russia!!(Good thing I was organised with all that! Far out!), but it did not seem at all relevant to China!!! But... whatever it takes to get the visa! We had to have them photocopied there at a cost of $0.50 cents a copy rip off! $15 dollars later! We had to queue up again!  And I took the time to write her a little note about us being a young couple trying to complete a big adventure of travelling half the world by land! As I felt that she wasn't overly convinced or maybe supportive of what we were doing. Got back to see her, and she had a smile at my note, which was nice cause was beginning to feel teary at the stress if we weren't going to get a visa and our Russian tour ending in China and China being a reasonable size focus in our trip! She told us to come back tomorrow to find out! So four hours later, good part of a day for sightseeing spent in a queue and we still didn't know the outcome!  We both felt stressed not knowing the outcome until tomorrow!
Actually could probably say at this point, that is was really hitting home, about what our trip involved! We were starting to really comprehend, after seeing some people's reaction like at the embassy, about how we were going against main stream tourism, and it appeared that we were probably going to have to argue our case along the way, to people who were suspicious or unaware of how you complete our trip route.  It also started to hit me about the sheer distance we are going to be attempting to travel. Very easy to write it on paper on your itinerary, but much different to actually act it out!!! And now that we are actually living in our trip, rather than just planning it, it is sort of a scary thought, we hadn't considered before!

Following the embassy we went to the Earth Fair, a major event that had drawn tourists from around the world. An event that was looking at what people can do to make the Earth a better place in terms of energy use and the environment. And it was also about animals on the planet - displays of what customs find they had an Australian Frill necked lizard on display - that apparently became very popular after the movie Jurassic Park, and also popular with smugglers!

They also had some beautiful dogs and cats from the pound, so it was nice to pat them and remind ourselves of our pets back home -which we miss! Also had lots of weird and wonderful health foods on display so it was interesting or perhaps gross at times LOL sampling some of them! Then I got stopped by someone to interview me about the Earth Fair, and my ideas on energy efficiency. They were very interested in whether Australia was as interested as they were. I told them about my parent's brand new super energy efficient house in the best technical words I could think of that made sense and they seemed suitable impressed. Particularly by the idea that my parent's house makes enough power from the solar panels to cover their electricity bill and get a refund from the company! Have not seen many solar panels around California in our short visit, so maybe it's not something that has caught on here yet.

Following the Earth Fair, decided to go to Rodeo Drive, to see what it was all about and for possibly star spotting? Also I really really need a new jumper as although the sun is out there's a freezing wind and it's only going to get colder where we're going! And one jumper not enough!  Not that I expected to find myself a jumper in Rodeo Drive though LOL. Everywhere else I have looked in Los Angeles has been very pricey though! For a jumper so far the cheapest I could find was $90 US - no go in our budget!

On our way to Rodeo drive, managed to find ourselves lost on the wrong bus, but a lovely very smart looking local Filipino man waiting at the bus stop, offered to accompany us all the way to Rodeo drive! We got on the bus with him, and found out he had been living in Los Angeles, close to Rodeo Drive for over 15 years and.... his job was making suits for the stars!!! We were very curious! We found out his clients included Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone, and a couple of Los Angeles Television stars we hadn't heard of! But anyway we were suitably impressed! He also had pictures on his mobile to show us, with the stars that he dressed and named Sylvester Stallone as a close acquaintance! Very interesting encounter! And he got us to Rodeo Drive!

Rodeo Drive! As Poncy as I thought it would be!!! Not overly busy though, although most shops had elaborate entrances so they might be busy on the inside and look quiet at the front. Names to throw around included Chanel, Luis Vuitton, Dior, Cartier, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany's and that's only just warming up LOL The list goes on a long way of very fancy brand names and one shop Bagtligeri or something like that where they promote they are one of the most expensive shops in Rodeo Drive and not to expect any change from $100000 for a suit! $15000 alone for a pair of socks or a tie! Far out better be diamond encrusted at that price! LOL
 Thanks to our Filipino assistant, he recommended us to go to a fancy pub at the end of Rodeo drive for an early tea. We said thanks, but didn't think that eating in Rodeo Drive would be fitting the budget! But he told us that Happy Hour was 4pm to 6pm and you could get a quarter pounder burger for only $1.95 with purchase of a drink! Bargain!  So we can now say we dined with some very poncy looking patrons, including one lady who I'm sure I have seen in a magazine who came complete with her Chihuahua in a fancy leather designer carry bag! For the record very good value for $1.95, so thanks to our Filipino assistant!
That night went to a big shopping mall in Beverly Hills - like Westfield Marion size! To try and find a jumper! Do you think I was successful, not even close! Even the cheap stores either did not have any because coming into summer or were still priced at at least $80! Where is Target or Jay Jay's when I need it! LOL But then in the mall they still had their sprinkling of Luis Vuitton, Gucci etc just to help keep prices up there! They also had a massive pet store there, couldn't get over all the dog breed choices you had in this one shop! Chihuahua though are very popular. Saw a new breed of dog 'Pekaboo' LOL Pomeranian fluff dog crossed with something?  Also found a shop there called 'Chromes and Bones'! A very poncy shop selling all the designer accessories your Chihuahua will ever need from diamond encrusted collars (ranging from $80 to $200), carry bags and beds (starting price $400 for the cheapest!)And if you didn't like the diamonds there were leathers to choose from -alligator, buffalo. Also a extensive range of very different designer clothing wear for  your dog to wear - from Princess style to the hard core gothic style! Interesting!!!

On to tomorrow now and finding out about visa's!!!!!!!!!! And if our trip is going to involve a major detour around China!!!
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