Driving Miss Maddie

Trip Start Dec 09, 2012
Trip End Jan 05, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Toddlers and tours; they can be a volatile mix. Kez and I decided not to do the whole tour bus thing with Maddie if we could avoid it. Instead, we justified the expense and hired our very own private chauffer for our last day in L.A. This way, if Maddie got her crazy on - and, man, can she get her crazy on - we'd only be torturing one other unfortunate soul instead of a whole busload of innocent victims. Conscience cleared. 

Our chauffer's name was Steve. He was punctual, presentable, and instantly likeable. Chauffer Steve wanted to know everything about us, and when the questions eventually turned to him, we discovered he had quite the story to tell.

Steve had been a lawyer for seven years, but turned his back on the firm and his career to pursue a better balance between home life and work life. He founded his tour business shortly thereafter and never looked back. Steve also knows the Hollywood scene rather well. His wife is an Emmy-nominated writer for AMC, who produce two of my favourite television series: The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. She's now working on the American adaptation of The Killing; originally a Danish series that Kez would cook up and inject into her eyeballs if she could.

Chauffeur Steve was incredibly accommodating and gave a thorough insight into each of the areas we visited. He even catered to my geeky fanboy requests, such as a drive-by of "Nakatomi Plaza" (Fox Plaza in real life) where John McClane battled Hans Gruber and goons in Die Hard; and Bungalow No. 3 at Chateau Marmont, where John Belushi popped the speedball that tragically claimed his life in 1982.

We also covered parts of the Hollywood Hills that were missed on the Stars' Home Tour. Circling Justin Timberlake's estate, we waved shamelessly at the mountain of a bodyguard posted outside the front gate. He didn't wave back. In fact, the look on his face suggested he wanted nothing more than to pick me up and tie me in knots like a balloon animal. 

The rest of the day's highlights include La Brea Tar Pits, lunch at the Farmers' Markets, a stroll to the end of Santa Monica Pier, before arriving at Griffith Observatory just on sunset. The Observatory, which has been used in numerous movies (most notably Rebel Without A Cause), has a breathtaking view of the city. Watching the lights flicker on across the expanse of the greater Los Angeles area was a sight to behold.

Chauffeur Steve finally dropped us off at the hotel. As we said our farewells, paparazzi and cheering crowds swarmed the Chinese Theatre directly across the street. The doorman explained that the premiere for This Is 40 was under way. The likes of Paul Rudd, Jason Segel and Megan Fox were traipsing the red carpet. We were also informed that sections of the Roosevelt had been restricted because the after party was to take place in our hotel. Now that would have been a bash worth crashing. As it was, the only thing we crashed were our beds after a terrific but tiring day. 

Hollywood can wait.
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