Why are you awesome?

Trip Start Sep 16, 2011
Trip End Nov 20, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, October 22, 2011

Elwood wakes up stoked this morning, firstly because Grandma is with us, and secondly because Grandma has come bearing gifts; Brother Bear 2 DVD, a moose, a talking car, red swimming goggles – to name but a few. I wake up even happier as Elwood is not climbing on my head, which is what he normally does in the morning.  Mum also brings me a new swimsuit, hurrah!

We introduce The Mothership to breakfast, budget hotel style.  She shows the restraint of someone on their first day of holidays.  We are impressed, but put money on her having doughnuts and luminous cereal for brekkie by day 3.

Back at the hotel room, I make plans for the day whilst the others get ready and take it in turns to play Fireman Sam with Woody.

We make it out the door with a minimum of fuss and make our way via Santa Monica Boulevard.  Mum loves saying Santa Monica Boulevard and manages to work it into every conversation for at least 3 hours.  I mention this to her, but she could care less.  Mum and Noah both say that they keep wanting to sing the line about Santa Monica Boulevard from Sheryl Crowe's 'All I wanna do’ song.  I argue that Sheryl Crowe does not say the word ‘boulevard’ at all – and the others mutter disagreement.  As you would imagine, I check this at the first opportunity.  Turns out, they are right and I am wrong.  Sheryl Crowe does indeed say ‘Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard’.  For many years now I have been singing, ‘Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica in a couple hours.’  I feel like such a fool.

So we drive via Sunset Blvd to Hollywood and we cannot play it cool.  We are all crazy excited and cannot believe we have made it to Hollywood (sort of).  We find a cheap park just off Hollywood Blvd and make our way back to the action.  We get to the Walk of Fame and Woody is saying he is too tired and wants to go to sleep.  We know he is tired but we are not sure if he is crying about that, or that he didn’t get to see the end of his movie in the car.  Either way, it ain’t pretty.

So, Noah and Woody go off to Target to buy Elwood the cheapest pushchair they can find whilst Mum and I take a wander.  We go to Mann’s Chinese Theatre (home of premieres) and take some photos of the celebrity hand prints and messages.  We then wander down to the Hard Rock Cafe and then to the Kodak Theatre, and then to Highlands and Hollywood shopping centre for a browse.  We take a look at the Hollywood sign and it is impossible not to get over the top excited.  And because we are in LA, and it’s what you do, we spend some time on the ‘casting couch’.

We meet up with Noah and Woody (now on wheels) and wandered some more, before heading in search of a restaurant Mum had wanted to eat at for ages, www.cafegratitude.com . I was very cynical about this predominantly raw food vegan cafe, as many people might be, but we had promised The Mothership we would go there.  Well, the menu and passing dishes looked delicious and the atmosphere was fantastic. That is apart from in our little world as Woods has decided to have another meltdown. I eventually manage to calm him down so we can order our delicious food.

All the meals start with ‘I am...’   Mum had, ‘I am hearty’ and ‘I am cherished’.  Noah had the ‘I am magical’ and ‘I am magnificent’.    I have ‘I am festive’ and ordered ‘I am irresistible’.  But apparently they had run out, and I tried not to take this personally.  So I have ‘I am devoted’ instead.

The place is full of happy and healthy looking people and it is difficult not to feel fantastic just being there. They pose a question every day, today was ‘why are you awesome?’  And written on the mirror in toilets it says, ‘I am gorgeous and so is everyone else.’  They have a meal called ‘I am grateful’ which is a nutritious hot meal that they will provide for anyone who needs it for any donation.  Such kindness.

Another random kind thing we saw today... In the liquor store Noah and I called in on the way home there was a little container of money on the counter.  Initially, I did not take much notice, as I just assumed it was for tips.  But when I did read it I noticed it said, ‘give a penny, or take a penny’ – so it was for people to leave their change, but not for tips, but for people who need the money take.   I was taken aback by such a simple and kind gesture.

I really like LA so far – two things which have struck me.  A real love of good, wholesome and nurturing food. (We see a massive sign which says ‘sugar is not a vitamin’.) It is everywhere.  And the other thing is a sense of community and kindness towards others.  I was not expecting either of these things of La La Land.

After lunch we decide we want to find our long, lost friend Route 66.  And low and behold, it turns out Santa Monica Blvd is Old Route 66.  So we head to the coast, via Beverly Hills, to complete this magic road trip bathing in the glorious sunshine and just soaking up the moment. 

In a heartbeat, the sun disappears.  Now, we are not entirely sure what has happened to it.  It is now covered by dense cloud, fog, or pollution.  Either way, the sunny day is now a thing of the past but you cannot dampen our enthusiasm, so we hit the beach at Santa Monica Pier. 

I was a little nervous about the beach in LA.  This is what I have read, 'Mastering at least one  beach skill - surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking, frisbee tossing, or looking fab while catching rays - is also essential.'  Hmmm, this is tricky.  Elwood is pretty much an expert at 'looking fab' - so he is fine.  The rest of us have none of the  'essential skills' and are more than a little 'Beverly Hillbillies' in this beautiful town with beautiful people.

When we arrive at the beach our concerns are allayed. A crazily dressed busker is playing bongo drums, randomly tooting one note on a trumpet and singing ‘who let the fog out’ (to the tune of ‘who let the dogs out’) – very cool.  We run around like crazy (to keep warm) and played games, mostly involving Elwood being a lion on the loose.  We got stung for a couple of coffee from the pier and Mum briefly got her head stuck in a jumper, but other than that, its all good.

We then took a drive to Venice Beach and then back home.  Elwood had Mac and Cheese for dinner, watched a bit of tv with Grandma, they read a book, and Woody promptly fell asleep after randomly telling Grandma she had a ‘dirty back’.  Very strange.

So Woody is asleep, which means Mum is 5 minutes away from sleep too.  Mum complains (mostly in jest) about the feng shui of the room, the lack of bottled water, and me typing on the keyboard.  I scowl darkly at her (also, mostly in jest) and that’s it, the Mothership is asleep.

Noah briefly disappears into the fog to get bottled water and helps some hammered locals choose snacks (he knows nothing about). He returns bearing surprise chocolate to help us with our blog and we watch unsolved murders on TV as we go.

Sweet dreams from La La Land beautiful people.
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