Los Angeles – Sex, Drugs and Rock’n Roll!
Yeah, had to try out the sex headline to see if that attracted more of you to read my Los Angeles post 🙂 And you’re here so it must have worked! It was time for our 5 days in the States and we were ready for fast food, shopping and some serious glitz and glamour!
As we had booked our hotel in both Fiji and Los Angeles ahead, we went straight from LAX into a cab and on to the highway. It turned out though that the hotel we had booked, the Clarion Los Angeles, was not the same as the Clarion Downtown that I had though it was.. So to cut a long story short we ended up in Carson, a suburb to LA where we had a hotel booked for the next four nights! It wasn’t actually so bad as LA in itself doesn’t have any real downtown area. The city has been built up through the years and has expanded vastly in every direction. This has ended up with LA today having several independent city centres that really doesn’t have anything to do with eachother. The main areas that we were going to be visiting was the Hollywood area, Santa Monica and Venice Beach as well as Long Beach. We didn’t even visit the area that is reffered to as Downtown cause it didn’t have anything in interest for us.
Since LA has a really crappy public transport system we realized that we had to rent a car. Not just to get around the town, but also because we had decided that we wanted to get high on some adrenaline out at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park! This is located about one hours drive from LA and taking a cab there would be too expensive. So once we got to the hotel the first thing we did was to organize a rental for the next day through Enterprise rental cars. This was a wise choice that I would recommend for anyone spending more than 2 days in LA!
Our second objective for this short USA trip was to sample their wide menu of fast food as the States is home to the largest amount of fast food chains in the world! My plan was simple, just eat fast food, and don’t eat from the same chain twice! Our first meal was at Quiznos outside the hotel. Quiznos is sort of like Subway and was really good, and maybe not as unhealthy as the usual fastfood was. As the first fast food meal was devoured the fast food race was on!
The area around our hotel was filled with department stores, so we spent the rest of the day relaxing, shopping and watching documentaries about fat people on TV as this seemed to be the only thing Americans were interested in..
As we got the car early the next morning it was time for some serious sightseeing as Hollywood was our next destination. Hollywood is just a suburb, so more precise we were aiming for Hollywood Blvd. and the Walk of Fame. Driving in LA is actually quite easy as the city is made up of a grid of highways that interconnect pretty much any part of the city. As long as you have a map describing the highways you can get pretty much anywhere easily. It turned out that parking wasn’t that hard either, although a little pricy.. We parked right at the Hollywood Blvd. and started walking. As I hadn’t been there before I didn’t realize just how big the Walk of Fame is! It stretches all along the Hollywood Blvd. and among the thousands of names it was hard to find names that I recognized.. The further west we came and closer to the Graumanns theatre the more recent and more famous the actors, singers and film makers became. We finally started recognizing them!
On the way to the commercial centre of Hollywood Blvd. we stopped at what we though was an awesome costume shop. It was awesome in the way that they had a lot of costumes, really cool ones like Batman, Star Trek and so on! The one thing that made us not buy anything there or to reccomend people not to go there was pretty much the crappiest customer service I have ever experienced. You were only allowed to try on one set of costumes which I though was fair enough since they didn’t want people trying out costumes just for the fun of it. Eli and me on the other hand really wanted to buy a costume to bring back to Norway, but as I found out that the medium was way too big for me (American sizes…) I wasn’t allowed to try on the smaller version of the same suit even though I said that I would buy it if it fit me! The same thing happened to Eli as she tried on a Wonderwoman outift.. It’s not just bad customer service, it’s bad business logic as they can’t be selling a lot of stuff when people can’t get their right sizes.. On top of that they were rude.. bottomline, do your shopping elsewhere.. not worth it!
As we kept walking west on the Hollywood Blvd. we started getting closer to famous spots like the Kodak Theatre, Graumanns theatre and Disneys premiere theatre. The American Idol was currently being shot at the Kodak theatre and there was to be some sort of premiere at the Disney theatre as they were blocking off the roads and leading hundreds of teenagers in behind the bars. It was a theatre alright! As we walked along the promenade tens of people had dressed up as different characters from movies and wanted to get your picture taken with them for a small amount of money. As most of them just wore a cheap costume that we could buy ourself we politely refused all of them. I even ended up getting interviewed by a small TV channel that specializes in two of my favourite fields, gaming and movies.. But after travelling for four months I was not up to date at all on the movie front and couldn’t answer many of the questions that they asked me. I still got interviewed though and got my five minutes of fame right on the Hollywood Blvd!
After soaking in the sights and having our second fast food meal of the day at McDonalds we got back in the car and went hunting for the famed Hollywood sign. We had seen it from the car earlier but decided to drive up the hills to get closer to it, something that turned out to be harder than expected as it was really difficult to find! Below is the closest we came and it’s not very impressive is it….?
Beverly Hills and Bel Air was next as we drove into some of the most expensive real estate in the world. It was literally littered with mansions and even the streetsigns came embossed andholl often chisseled out in concrete.. Driving around there we passed a sportscar on every turn, and half the houses had at least a few SUV’s crowding their large parking spots. We didn’t buy a starmap so we don’t really know which famous people’s houses we saw, but Im sure we must have spotted atleast a few 🙂
The next day it was shopping time and Veronica and me drove out of the city to do some serious shopping at a big outlet mall. Turned out that the traffic was intense and we spent almost four hours getting there! LA is a hard place to go shopping for specific stuff as most of the malls we found were either to posh or didn’t have the stuff we wanted. This is why we googled an outlet mall that was supposed to be a short drive out of the city.. A short drive in LA can be anything from 45 minutes to a complete day.. I did get to buy the stuff that I wanted but it was definently not worth the drive out of LA. Since Eli had stayed back at the hotel we picked her up on the way back and headed to Universal CityWalk. It’s pretty much a small commercial centre that Universal has built up outside their amusement park and it’s definently lit up enough!
It’s a good place to go and hang out at night, eat dinner and have a few drinks. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, but you can also have some shrimp at Bubba Gumps shrimps if you’re more up for that 🙂 Walking along the citywalk it’s almost like being on the set of Blade Runner as the neon lights flash everywhere and there is plenty of costumed people and so on. I have to warn you though, it’s and expensive place and you’re likely to burn up a lot of cash if you stay too long here!
As the next day was the 17th of May it was the Norwegian Constitutional day! We headed straight for the Norwegian seafarers church were there was to be a gathering of Norwegians for a celebration, some waving of the Norwegian flag and an actual band! Us Norwegians are patriotic but we don’t go waving our flag everywhere, except on the 17th of May… then it’s all about the red, white and blue. We found the place easily enough and it turned out that there was quite a gathering of Norwegians, half Norwegians and people who just wanted to be Norwegian. They even sold Solo and Norwegian waffles!! Woho! We spent the better part of the morning there and had a chat with a few of the expats before we decided to take our newly bought Norwegian flags and go celebrate on Venice and Santa Monica beach.
Ever since seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie, Pumping Iron, about the bodybuilding scene in LA, I had to have a look at Venice Beach. Venice Beach is also known as Muscle Beach as they have a lot of workout equipment on the beach that is free to use for the public. There were plenty of muscular men and women along with quite a lot of people playing basketball with more skills than I can brag about. I didn’t even think about asking to join as it would just have been an embarrasment for my self esteem.
After having some Hot Dogs on a stick and checking out the beaches in cloudy LA it was time to head back to the Hollywood area for the highlight of the day! Star Trek at Arclight cinema!
The Arclight cinema is an old and refurbished cinema on Sunset Blvd. that is set in a dome with one of the largest cinema screens I have seen. It was the perfect place to see the new Star Trek movie and we went all the way with American sized popcorn and drinks, it was the perfect ending to our national day!
Btw, the movie was awesome!