Going Crazy with the Freakshow in La La Land

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Feb 20, 2014

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, March 31, 2012

I had wanted a bit of sleep in before checking out from my Hollywood hotel, but bing, I was awake at 7am and not happy about it. I find this happens often when I am on break, I think it is mostly excitement from the fact I am in a foreign land and so much to explore. My mind tracks 100kmh thinking of all the things I want to do and how I will do them. In a way it was ok to wake so early cause I did have a fair bit to achieve on this day: Hollywood Museum, scoot into downtown for Grammy Museum, back across town to hit Rodeo Drive, and then collect my luggage from hotel before taxi to Long Beach to once again meet up with Jon & Fi. Whoah, even typing it out makes me recollect how mammoth this day was.

Hollywood Museum was ok. Main thing I wanted to see was the original Hannibal Lector cell set from Silence of the Lambs. This was cool. The remainder of the museum focussed on Mr Max Factor who's make-up HQ was here and all the rooms dedicated to various hair coloured celebrities – brunette room, reds, and of course blondes where Marilyn Monroe was the star. They had some original sets, props and costumes from Star Wars, Planet of Apes, etc and Oscar memorabilia. This museum was a 3 min walk from my hotel, but Grammy museum was in the CBD and I caught the subway train there. I’ve heard all bad things about LA’s public transit system, but my observations are that the system itself is actually quite good – I was surprised that they even have a subway and moreso a stop in the centre of Hollywood. I bought a $5 all-day pass, which was great value. THE down-side of the LA public transit system is not the network...it is the people who ride it. 90% look dodgy, talk to themselves, stink, and generally seem like they are on their way to the asylum or just escaped. I felt like I needed a high pressure clean to re-hygiene myself after my day on LA public transport. I’ve travelled a lot of public transport across the world and this is the first one that has ever made me feel this way.

Despite this, it was good to travel into the main city area and see how the normal LA people live. The Grammy Museum is next to the Staples Centre (stadium) and very high tech. Lots of music history with focus on LA and if u are into the creation of recorded music, then this had heaps of interactive tools and booths where u could record ur own tune. I decided my talent is exclusively for the shower and car. Their main attraction (well, for me anyways) was a collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia – his original jacket from Thriller film clip, suit he wore on album cover, and clothes. Pretty cool.

From there, I trained/bussed to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills! Thank god I preloaded the public transport map to my phone before leaving Ghana – very handy these smart phones. My bank once again put a hold on my credit card, so I was on the phone to them most of the bus trip, while one of the LA freaks sat across from me singing what was playing on her MP3 player...or maybe it was just the voices in her head. Getting off that bus on the corner of Rodeo Drive was pleasing in more ways than one. We had briefly passed thru Rodeo Drive on the TMZ bus tour I did on day 1, but I needed a closer look.........it seems I looked a bit too close because my credit card sure got a work out. I bought a belt from Mont Blanc and a weather proof jacket from Ralph Lauren. It was cool to buy stuff in these stores and have the sales people pander to you and take my bags, bring me coke, and generally tell me how much I will need that jacket for your Quebec City trip. Oh, how sucked in I was. But it was half planned cause I was always going to buy something to say I got it on Rodeo Drive. But I left that famous road with 3 bags and a mind wracked with guilt over the price of the jacket. It is a good jacket tho...lots of pockets.

Ok, now for the irony of the trip so far. I leave those ridiculously expensive stores (where I saw a t-shirt for $895) and then walk down the road a bit to line up for the bus with my $5 all-day pass. I gripped onto those bags the long trip back to Hollywood (traffic was nuts, and the bus driver seems yet to have worked out the basics of accelerating and braking). I then had to walk from Santa Monica Blvd back to my hotel, where they called me a recommended taxi for the hour trip to Long Beach. It was already 630pm (the time I had told Jon I would be there). I didn’t arrive until 830pm following the worst taxi ride of my life!! This guy was a certified tool. He pulled over around the corner to check my credit card security and phone it in to his boss...um, random. I’m still waiting for all the fraudulent transactions to appear; in that case Jon wisely points out that I could claim the Rodeo Drive splurge as fraudulent activity...this is why he’s my friend. He then drove about 20 miles under the speed limit down the freeways, talking occasionally on his mobile phone. We approached Long Beach and he suddenly pulls into a 7/11 deli – for directions!! OMFG. This was about the time my blood pressure started to really elevate and I questioned him why he accepted the fare when it was his 1st time to Long Beach and why the hell he doesn’t have a GPS or at least a good old fashioned street map. Eventually he baled up another taxi driver to escort us to the hotel. What a joke. He still couldn’t find the lobby drop off point and I ended up getting out on the road side. When he asked me for a tip, the blood pressure over-topped and I shot him down in flames. I told him he was lucky I was paying the pre-departure agreed $100. He offered to help me with my bags, which was met with my best look of evil and I walked to the hotel scouting out for the closest bar where I could score a shot of tequila to cool my hot head.

My 3 nights in Long Beach was welcomingly more relaxed than Hollywood. Fi got incredibly sick to the point she missed most of the conference she had come all this way for and a doctor was called to the hotel room to administer anti-vomiting injections etc. Jon and I hung out the whole time, which was great. Got my hair cut by an 82 year old man, went to a Walmart, got drunk on 1 litre glasses of beer at a sports bar with the biggest projector screens I’ve ever seen, ate at Taco Bell, dined on the Queen Mary, visited Santa Monica where I repeatedly sang a verse from the Savage Garden song of the same name much to Jon’s disliking, and then had a fun drive back to Beverly Hills where Fi and Jon dropped me off before continuing up the coast towards San Francisco. Still hard for me to fathom that I just spent a week with friends in Los Angeles.

I booked a hotel in Bev Hills at last minute and was a great bargain for only $99+tax and just steps away from my guilt at Rodeo Drive. Even more a bargain when u consider Long Beach was $209/n and that is, well, Long Beach. Still feeling a little rough around the edges from the previous night out, I dumped my stuff and then mustered up the enthusiasm to go for a walk around the streets of 90210 and admire the fancy houses, palm lined streets, and rich bitches with the tiniest dogs (which u even have to mind your step in a department store for fear of stepping on a Chihuahua). I kept my eyes peeled for a celebrity, but none to be seen or none that I recognised anyways. I’m sure they were checking me out tho.......as I took photos of their house they were probably calling the Beverly Hills Cop himself to arrest the povo person walking their exclusive streets.

I got locked in a secure ATM booth for a moment, had a couple of drinks at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (Pretty Woman hotel) where I had a really good chat with a 53 yr old woman who is a social worker with a million dollar rock on her finger, and then had dinner at a restaurant next door to one where Michelle Obama was eating (in town for Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards). I did try dine with the President’s wife, but it was fully booked of course and Secret Service wanted to pat me down just to enter. No worries, I’m sure I’ll catch up with the Obama’s in Washington DC.

I had found a club crawl event on a website before I left Ghana and thought this would be perfect for my last night in LA. After debating the idea many times in my head, I finally committed and taxi’d across to Hollywood where I met a large crowd all keen to party. We went to four different clubs with express entry and no cover charge (paid $25 to be part of the event). Drinks were expensive, music was crap overall, it was raining, and the clubs shut at 2 am just as I was getting in the mood. It would’ve been 10 times better if I was with people I knew. I did chat to a couple guys from Aust, and a few others, but it seemed everyone was out on their own night. My head hurt the next morning as I got up to taxi to LAX for my flight to Canada and start a completely different part of this adventure.
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globalchild on

The Queen Mary is apparently really haunted. Eventually I'd like to go and have a meal on there too. And also; I am very jealous that you got to go on the set of Silence of the Lambs.

Glad you're having fun and I hope you're enjoying Canada.

travellingross on

Yes, i read something on QM about a ghost at the piano. They moved the piano to another room and people still claimed they saw her ghost at the piano.
Silence of the Lambs is one of my fav movies, so it was really cool.
Jon hates scary stuff, so he wasn't keen on ghosts or Hannibal!

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