Living it up in Los Angeles

Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
Trip End Oct 26, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, November 27, 2009

The initial organisation of the year had been a bit of a dog show and I think the flights are the key example. The day after booking all the flights for a Hosking holiday to the U.S, Sasol gave Kate the all clear for a gap year so all the flights had to be rearranged and they never fully recovered.

After two very long flights from Jo'burg we arrived in Los Angeles, via Atlanta, about two hours before Dad and the rest of the crew arrived from Dubai. We must have looked fairly tired and weary after our flight and were very annoyed to see that the Dubai arrivals looked anything but that after they were all upgraded to Business Class to fly in style.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was really nice but our sleeping habits were all completely messed up. By 8 in the evening we were all dead tired and couldn’t keep our eyes open but at 3 in the morning everyone was wide awake and couldn’t sleep anymore. Dad hired a huge car and the navigation wasn’t a huge problem, thanks to the GPS, except for one time when we ended up in a very dodgy, gang-hangout looking area.

Most of L.A. was very flashy and fancy but the downtown area and Hollywood Boulevard were pretty run down and had an air of neglect that hinted at a much more prosperous past. It was pretty cool walking down Hollywood Boulevard with the star-studded pavement; plenty of people dressed up as stars; the footprints in concrete; the famous Kodak Theatre and Oscars everywhere. We did a bus tour of the downtown area with a really strange but funny guide who was very interesting and took us past some of the studios and famous places in town.

The other side of L.A. was all about the money, money, money! We took a drive through the unbelievably huge mansions of Belair and stalked the stars by following a map with all their houses on it. Unfortunately, we didn’t see anyone famous but we saw people steal mail from Michael Jackson’s house and got told to get out of the Playboy mansion's driveway while we were turning around. There were flashy cars just about everywhere, especially when we went window shopping down the excessive Rodeo Drive. A drive along Mulholland Drive gave good views across the city but the Hollywood sign turned out to be a bit of a disappointment because it is much smaller in real life than on T.V.

We spent a day at both Disneyland and Universal Studios which were both fantastic. Kate was a bit sceptical of doing the 'American theme park’ thing but they both definitely surpassed our expectations. Universal Studios was much more focused on the movie making side of things and we did a tour of some of the studios, outdoor scenes and special effects demonstrations, which were really interesting. There were also some cool rides with the highlight being the 3D virtual rollercoaster with the Simpsons. It was so real that you couldn’t tell whether you were moving or stationary and when it finished you felt like you had been on a real ride.

The Disneyland rides were even more fun and dad even overcame his fear of heights on the rollercoaster, tower of terror and maliboomer at California Adventure. The rides at the Magic Kingdom were just as cool with the Indian Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain. The adrenaline was pumping the whole time as we ran around like little children trying to get to all the rides.

L.A. was very cool, because so much of the entertainment we see is focused on it but I guess we didn’t have enough time to see everything because even though we were there for four days we didn’t even get to see the beach!
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