Los Angeles

Trip Start Jun 26, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Los Angeles (aka the Angels when translated into Spanish), home of Hollywood, famous actors and actresses and the temporary home of David Beckham's right foot. L.A is also my last stop in the USA before heading to Mexico. So lets see what L.A. has to offer.
I stayed in Santa Monica, located a few miles from downtown L.A. and for me it resembled my home towns of Poole and Bournemouth. With its sandy white beaches, the cold sea water, a pier (famous for being filmed in Forest Gump when he ran across America, cashing in on this is the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant), occasional dolphins in the sea, a couple of English pubs serving British beer at British prices, and home to the rich and famous (similar to Sandbanks in Poole), there is even a British shop on the corner of Santa Monica/2nd Street that sells Marmite or Vegemite for the Australians. Unfortunately the similarities end there as the UK weather is no comparison to the glorious Californian sunshine and even walking through the shopping promenade at night and you'll seen a different side to Santa Monica, one of poverty with over twenty homeless people sleeping on benches on just one block on 3rd street alone.

Day 2 and a trip to the Universal studios. Warning! It appears that the tour groups will overcharge you for this trip, wanting 40 dollars (not including tax) for their shuttle service. Very expensive when a day pass for buses and metro only costs $5. L.A. transit system isn't that bad, although for a large city it needs to extend its subway system to take the cars off the road, so the reasonable bus network isn't always the quickest mode of transport. 75 minutes later, I arrived at the Universal Studios where I was subjected to more of the US petty laws all over a large bag of crisps.

Did you know, you cannot take a large bag of crisps onto the entertainment complex, even if the contents are 75% gone. However I was allowed to take the rest of my lunch in except my large bag of crisps which is seen as a security threat!!! One was not amused and despite my protests I had to throw my crisps in the trash can. Just makes me laugh that the US has all these pathetic petty rules to protect their security but their rules on safety is the complete opposite, you are allowed to use your mobiles while driving and you can legally drive through red traffic lights. CRAZY!!!

Enough of that rant and back to the Universal Studios. Being mid-November there isn't much of a queue so you can cover most of the studios in 6 hours. Although my favourites was being a volunteer in the special effects studio where I was eaten by a big white fluffy monster, the 4D Terminator and Shrek movies and the Return of the Mummy indoor rollercoaster. However the studio tour was a big disappointment because I didn't see much of the special effects as I was sat on the wrong side of the road train. (HINT - sit on the left side of the road train.

Day 3 and the bus tour of Los Angeles. 49 US$ for a 6 hour minibus trip around Rodeo Drive, Hollywood, homes of the rich and famous and Beverly Hills. Unfortunately I wasn't too impressed with the tour. You get to see alots of high hedges and gates of the rich and famous, and for some reason we spent one hour driving along these peaceful roads, although you can see the white house where the Prince of Bel Air was filmed. This was followed by a drive through Beverly Hills and a long 20 minutes stop at Rodeo drive, famous for the expensive shops, where you cannot enter the shop premises without an appointment. From here up to Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood to see all the stars on the sidewalk. And Finally up Mulholland Drive to get a picture of the Hollywood Sign and a view looking down on Los Angeles, before driving back through more traffic.

I got back to the hostel and packed my bags ready for my trip to Mexico when I stumbled across a Californian drivers licence in my backpack hidden in a blue airport boarding pass holder. Must have picked it up when I was leaving the plan thinking that it was my blue holder. So the last few hours in L.A were spent surfing the internet as well as sending the driving licence back to its original owner.
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