L.A. or Bust

Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, February 1, 2009

We first have to thank our friend Brian and his family for putting us up and making us feel at home. It was wonderful to be treated so well away from home. As we anticipated, Brian made an excellent tour guide. We first explored a little of their picturesque town of Monrovia. It is just east of Pasadena and quite pretty. It is nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and its winding streets zigzag through beautiful neighbourhoods filled with cute little shops and eateries. A great location, close enough to the city for you to take advantage of what it has to offer without being too close to what you don't feel like dealing with. That evening we headed to one of Brian's favourite Thai restaurants. President Thai was a wonderful experience minus the gentleman changing his screaming four-year-old at the table next to us. After a few minutes of screaming and slapping the show was over and people could try and get on with eating. Thankfully the food was outstanding.
The next day we headed into the city with our tour guide and his well thought out plan. Our first stop was Manhattan Beach. It feels like a community within itself just on the outskirts of L.A. It has surf shops and restaurants that have been there for decades, as have most of their patrons. We ate at the Koffee Kart a fabulous little greasy spoon with exceptional customer service and a side of pancakes to go with just about any meal you order. We then decided to walk off our meal on Venice Beach. We had heard about Venice Beach all our lives but we were eager to see it with our own eyes. Even on a weekday, in January, there is no shortage of odd characters strolling the boardwalk. We even came across the "World's Best Wino". A gentleman that resembled George Clinton in his prime that sang songs about donating to his cause (getting money to drink). "Give a dooooonation for my ineeeeebriation..." It was pretty impressive making him quite popular with the passersby. We saw a few rather large individuals around the Muscle Beach area and even a bunch of paparazzi hanging out around some CBS shoot that we didn't feel like waiting to figure out what it was. We even had a celebrity sighting... sort of. We are not sure what his name is but we saw the actor that played one of the sons in the remake of the Nutty Professor... the guy with the farting problem. Anyway, from there we headed for a driving tour of Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset strip. We saw the Walk of Fame and the Grauman's Chinese Theatre as well as quite a few characters busking in front of the place. We think we saw a Pirate, Snoopy, Spongebob Squarepants, and a superhero of some sort all doing their best to service the hordes of tourists swarming the grounds. We chose the drive-by viewing as it looked a little intense for our liking. As we drove around, we even got to experience many of the freeways that L.A. is so famous for. They all seemed a little over-dramatized except the 110 (I think that is the one). The 110 is the very first freeway, built when cars could do a mere 30 miles an hour. Now with speeds getting up to 70 and 80 those winding turns and intersection-like on and off ramps, this is the freeway to take if you need to spice up your day... absolutely crazy. We did make it back to the quiet streets of Monrovia in time to be treated to a delicious Mexican meal at a local place. It was fabulous to eat some real Mexican food although finishing one's plate was a tall order that no one could meet.
After sleeping off our big meal and even bigger day we had to leave our lovely hosts to begin our journey north. We had a few extra hours in the morning so we headed into Beverly Hills so Megan could try and improve the list of celebrities she had seen. Although our efforts were unsuccessful, Rodeo Drive was certainly an experience. The stores are ridiculously over-the-top, some even have valet parking out front filled with Bentley's and Rolls Royce's. Megan even made a big purchase on Rodeo, there was a beautiful little black and white... cupcake that she couldn't resist (I was even honoured with a bite of Rodeo Drive cupcake and it was quite good). So with our cupcake in hand we decided it was time to escape the city for the Pacific Coast Highway, the number 1. Here we go.

Megan and Kevin
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