Go west, in Hollywood.
Trip Start Jun 12, 2014
13Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Palm Ave West Hollywood
What I did
The Abbey West Hollywood
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
It was as thought as soon as I stepped off that plane, and lit up a cigarette to feed my indulgent addictive personality, it was all systems go.
I took a taxi to my rental apartment I had organised via Airbnb, a mere $70USD cab ride later, I arrived feeling like I should've been tip toeing through what seemed a "Melrose Place" apartment complex where I felt I was invading the place, and did not belong. It's definitely a weird feeling rocking up at someone's empty apartment that they temporarily shift their life (or continually rent their space out), to make space for people like me to run a muck and live in their home.
If you've never tried Airbnb, it's quite possibly the easiest and convenient way to chose an area you'd like to live in, at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. Yeah, hotels offer fancy towels, an over priced room service menu, and maybe even 1000 cable TV channels, but who needs all that?
A perfect location, in your very own apartment, where you have to wash your own dishes, and check the front door is locked, in my case double locked for your safety. It's hard not to feel like a local when you're living in apartment just off the strip.
And talking about the strip. Santa Monica Blvd. Jesus.
I've been here a few times before, for short 1 night stop over's I used to do when flying as an international hostie, it was usually a long ride in, cram in as many nightclubs as you can before the entire of West Hollywood (WEHO) shuts down at 2am, where no more alcohol is being served, and you're virtually pushed out the club doors, finding yourself mingling with randoms on the streets while you're hunting down a taxi to take you back to the crew hotel.
Essentially the nightlife here hasn't changed, clubs still close at 2am, but I believe some keep going until around 4am, but without the serving of alcohol. Regardless of what day of the week it is, there's always a club that is pumping, and my favourite of course is The Abbey.
I virtually lived there every night
The crew that flew me over from Australia invited me out to dinner that evening at a fancy French restaurant "Bouchon" in Beverly Hills. $100 bought me a half a glass of wine, a cocktail, a handful of various entree items shared among the group, and a little chick on a big round plate, oh and tap water. Suffice to say, the waitress was on the mark with the food descriptions, the venue was really quite pretty, and I even thought I saw Jane Fonda sitting at a table across from us. Turns out it was just an old lady that looked like her.
But word had it that Justin Bieber and Usher were staying at a hotel next door to this restaurant, which I discovered when talking with two girls whom worked there while snatching a cigarette from me outside...
Spending 5 days here in LA, has helped me see this place in a more newer, local perspective.
By day, the gorgeous early stages of the summer sun lightly smooches your skin, but not to the point where you need to walk around half naked because you're sweltering hot. In saying that, the big buff muscle gay boys of WEHO aren't afraid to use their Greek pantheon type bodies to show off to the busy streets while walking their little Chihuahuas on a pink leash. Christ, why wouldn't you? If I had the slightest definition these boys have, I'd be flaunting it too!
And eye contact, eye contact here is huge! As I attempt to whip up my most fashionable "this goes with that" ensemble before I leave the apartment, I noticed that groups of boys like to stare you down
Or MAYBE, just maybe, I'm being uber paranoid, and that they don't really give a shit who I think I am, walking around with my super sized mirror tinted sunnies, thinking I'm Lindsay Lohan or something.
And speaking of Uber. Well. It's tiny little things like "Uber" that reminds me just how far behind Australia is on "Services".
Uber is pretty much an app on your phone that works like a taxi service basically. And although Uber is available in Australia (Premium cars only), it doesn't come anywhere near as good as how it operates here! You want a car? You've got one! Wanna pay as little as you can? Grab an UberX car, simple, clean and gets you from A to B. Want something a little more fancy? OK, pay the price and you'll be driven around in the latest Mercedes.
I've virtually cruised around WEHO for 6 bucks each trip, and there's no cash transaction between you and the driver, after you've been dropped off, the app will notify you on how much you've been charged, and gets deducted from your credit card (or paypal) account, which ever you add in your profile in the app. The app also has a to/from calculator so you know roughly how much you'll be paying, and there's a star rating system at the end of your ride, giving you the opportunity to rate your driver and leave a brief comment about your experience. There's even a little map where you can watch your driver approaching you closer and closer while you wait
Two drivers in particular received 5 stars from me, one because although I was expecting a Toyota Prius (the usual UberX type car that collects you), arrived a sleek black Audi with a sexy wanna be actor driving it, and he virtually took me seriously when I said I needed to check myself into rehab for excessive drinking during my short stay in LA. I nervously laughed and assured him that I was kidding! I still only payed $6 bucks! TICK!
Another driver by the name of Nicholas, originally from San Fran whizzed me around in his car, but then also gave me a "$25 off your next car ride" promo code with Lyft, another type of app that essentially works exactly the same as Uber. That $25 bucks will be used towards my trip to LAX airport tomorrow, where approximately $5 will come out of my pocket, as the estimate cost to get to the airport from here is around $30-40, unlike the overpriced regular taxi fare which cost me a weeks worth of tuna salads.
And then you have your fellow Australian homo sapiens who live here in the USA, and can hear your accent from a mile away, "OMG! You're Australian? Where are you from? What do you do? Are you travelling? Do you live here?". I met a gorgeous group of Aussies last night on my drunken stumble home (from The Abbey of course) where we had a brief chat, establishing an immediate connection, because ultimately we were all the same people from the same country. One girl in particular Danni lives in New York now (Stop it, just the thought kills me knowing that she lives there and I don't) invited me to her 4th of July party during my stay in NY in a couple of weeks to come. Ummm.. FUCK YES!
So as my 5 night "relaxation" journey wraps up before I hit my next chapter, I sit here, with a somewhat glum feeling of "I don't wanna leave here!". I actually never imagined I'd have so much fun here in LA. In general, the people here are beautiful, people going on a jog will smile at you, and people who hear music playing from inside a store will gladly stand out the front and dance to their favourite tune, in public, with not a worry in the world.
I've been blessed to be around old work colleagues to kick off my trip and to help alleviate any feelings of loneliness I previously feared before my arrival. But I have a feeling that won't last for long. But I'll continue to meet random people, via the usual gay channels (Grindr and Scruff) and although it's mainly used in a "Hihowareyouletsshag" kinda way, I use it as a tool to tell the locals that I'm a space cadet and I'm just looking for people to hang out with, grab a drink, have a chat, and maybe even a chance to show off my "sexy" Australian accent like a few have already claimed.
My next stop...
My Review Of The Place I've Seen