L.A. Story

Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
The Stay Hotel

Flag of United States  , California
Monday, November 30, 2009

Before we even arrived in LA I was skeptical as to how well I would enjoy our visit there, and I was right to feel this way.  It is always difficult to describe a city that you are only visiting for a short time, as I am aware that a visitor to Brighton could have a totally different perspective of it than me, as living somewhere allows you to filter out the crap parts, and lets you focus your time in the places you enjoy.  I know we should have seen Malibu & Venice, but time was against us, and I intend to see these areas of LA when we return in February before we fly out, but until then my opinion of LA is very negative.

Ok, so we arrived via the Greyhound and had to walk through a pretty rough part of town, the Warehouse District, before we found the safety of our hotel.  This was not a good first impression, the streets had the overpowering stench of urine, and we had to tiptoe through the used syringes and dodge the gaze of the crack addled street sleepers.  It makes you harshly aware that something went so wrong with society when you see such scenes, so close to the opulence of the adjoining neighbourhoods.

We we checked into the Stay Hotel, which is in the Historic Downtown district, this is advertised on hostel websites as a budget hotel for the style orientated traveler.  Well we are not orientated by style, but we are on a budget, and by LA prices this was cheap.  A strange place with a lot of pretension and full of rude aloof people, a bit like LA really!

We had planned to pick up a hire car in LA and use this to see the whole of the country over the next 10 weeks.  Unfortunately it is not that simple, as most hire companies do not let you take their cars out of California or one of the neighbouring states.  This was a problem, the only company that would meet our needs was quoting us 1000 over our budget!  So we bit the bullet and resigned ourselves to seeing the US via the Greyhound network, this would cost us $1000 for two 60 day Discovery Passes, which would allow us unlimited travel for that time.  This was great as it would allow us have money left over to take a few shorter road trips at various points along our journey.

Our schedule only allowed us to spend two full days in LA, we decided to spend one in Hollywood & the other at Universal Studios.  Hollywood Boulevard is so painfully disappointing and tacky I deplore anyone thinking of going there to reconsider and spend their time & money elsewhere.  The Walk of Fame might be a more enjoyable experience if the sidewalk was not stained with urine, covered in litter and full of desperate salespeople trying to drag you (and in some cases they get close to attempting to bundle you on their tour bus) onto some pathetic tour!  The Kodak Theatre is the centre point where awful lookalikes hang out, charging you to have your photo taken with them.  I am sorry but Darth Vader was not 5 ft 4" in the movies, Superman did not soil his tights and Marilyn Monroe never reached the age of 60+!!!

Universal Studios was fun, it is a theme park so it is fairly hard not to have fun! The studio tour was a major disappointment, I was actually bored by the halfway point!  Highlights were the Simpson's virtual roller coaster, and seeing Kristina terrified to the point of tears in the Haunted House (that makes me evil doesn't it?).

I was glad to board the bus and get out of LA, it felt like I had been playing Grand Theft Auto for real over the last few days.  A very ugly city, that really need never be seen by me again.
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