Last stop.... LA!

Trip Start Aug 21, 2009
Trip End Aug 20, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Simon: Hola! After our fantastic trip to Vegas, we climbed on another Greyhound bus and made our way to The City of Angels. The bus journey was largely uneventful, we drove through Death Valley and the Mojave Desert for around 8 hours with absolutely NOTHING around for miles. We did however manage to see the worlds largest Thermometer! (sorry, no pictures!) It was so barren and dry, not a good place to break down, which thankfully this time we didn't. Whilst i'm on the subject of the Greyhound bus, DON'T USE THEM! The people on them are horrible, and they take forever and are pretty uncomfortable. Fly, get the train, hire a car, don't get the Greyhound. I never will again, especially after the San Diego journey.

So anyways, we arrived in LA around 5pm and walked from the bus station down Hollywood Boulevard to our hostel (Free pancakes again, woohoo!) on our way we walked down the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars, and saw lots of cool people, and some other not-so-cool people. We got a pizza and went to bed early, the next day was a busy one.

We woke up on our only full day in Hollywood early, and went out to check out the rest of the Walk of Fame and the Theaters. We checked out the Chinese Theater and the handprints and stars around it, as well as the, erm, odd characters hanging around outside, mostly dressed as film stars/characters begging for photos to be taken with them in exchange for cash. There were tons of Michael Jackson impersonators, most of which were rubbish. After we'd finished checking out the stars and such, we hopped on the Metro to Universal Studios! (Whilst in the Metro station we saw the LAPD conducting a drug bust on some Mexicanos. They were brutal! manhandling the 2 of them, kicking and throwing their stuff around, really harsh, but really cool!) 

Universal Studios has it's own city(!) just outside of Hollywood where all the offices and studio complex is based, and in the middle is the amusement park based around the studios.

Flo: We got there pretty early on, and we did the backlot tour first thing. We went to the Desperate Housewives set, the Back to the Future set, War of the Worlds set and lots more, including of course Jaws! They were filming on the Desperate Housewives set and the Back to the Future set, so we couldn't take too many pictures of those 2, but we saw some cameras and stuff, but no celebs (Simon: No Eva Longoria! Noooooooooooo!!! lol!). Adam Sandler was also filming and new film in one of the studios we went past, and we could hear the special effects and people shouting "CUT!" The War of the Worlds set was the best, it had a blown up airplane scattered around a suburb and looked so lifelike.

After the tour we had our picture taken with lots of characters around the park like Spongebob, Jaws, Dora the Explorer and lots more. We also went on the theme park rides Jurrasic Park, Mummy's Revenge, Shrek and the best of all, The Simpsons Ride. The Simpsons was a 3D ride but the screen was all around you and the car moved like a rollercoaster car so it made it feel like you were really on a rollercoaster. So cool. We also watched a Pets show with some cool animals and the Waterworld show with massive boats and Jet-skis and lots of flames and fireworks and even a blown up plane falling from the sky! Our day ended with us sharing a giant toffee apple called a "Turtle apple" that's covered in not only Caramel Toffee, but Marshmallow and 3 kinds of chocolate! AMAZING! That night we went back to the Chinese Theater to watch the stars arrive for the Premiere of "Fantastic Mr Fox". We saw Bill Murray arrive and lots of ladies in glamourous outfits, but sadly no George Clooney or Owen Wilson :(

Simon: The next day we moved Hostels to Santa Monica. LA is such a massive city (it's really 18 cities in 1) that because we didn't drive, we could only see a few of the sites in the limited days we had. We didn't even see downtown LA or Malibu or the Hollywood Hills, because it takes so long and costs so much to get there. Hollywood was ok, but the Stars and Theater is pretty much ALL there is to do there, the rest of it is strip clubs and terrible costume shops. 1 day was definitely enough.

Santa Monica was much more glamourous. Our hostel was really nice and ultra-modern, set in LA's old town hall. It's by the beach with a really nice shopping promenade where LA Lakers players hang out with Paris Hilton (she was there the week before with Kobe Bryant too!) We had some absolutely amazing Sushi there, and watched some cool street performers. Next day we spent on the beach sunning ourselves. The beach was absolutely enormous! The distance from the road to the ocean was about 1km!!

Santa Monica pier was pretty cool with an amusement park and some nice shops, well worth the stroll, and next to the pier Cirque du Soleil have a big circus tent at the moment for their new show. Apparently the night we were walking around there it was the opening night and lots of celebrities were there, but we saw none :( Next to the pier on the beach also is a mini memorial to soldiers killed in Iraq & Afghanistan. Lots of little crosses, one for each person killed.

We walked along  the promenade to the original Muscle Beach and Venice Beach, and we watched some acrobats and martial artists practice and perform for about 3 hours! The Capoeira was particularly cool.

The rest of LA we spent getting ready to leave the US for our next destination, and we had our last meal of the trip at a place called Buddha's Belly, where they do the best Ramen and Satay Noodles EVER! Also it's quite popular with the famous folk too!

We got a 50cents bus(!) from the hostel to LAX that evening and bid a fond farewell to America.

After 74 days, 8100 Miles(!), 23 States, 14 cities, 4 Time Zones, 9 trains, 4 buses, 4 Boats, 1 Duck(!), 12 hostels, 7 hotels, 2 mountain ranges, Wind, Snow, Sun, Rain and a Partridge in a Joshua Tree, we've finished our American Odyssey!

Flo: YAY! it was so much fun! Now we have to go on to... oh yea... Fiji!!!

Catch ya later!

Flo + Simon
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