03.10.2006 28 °C
Well, after a lovely time in San Diego we caught the greyhound back up to LA and a cab over to Hollywood where we were staying for a week. The hostel was nice and right between Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard.
The first thing I wanted to see was the walk of fame, where all the stars have their names in stars right along the pavement. Unfortunately it was a little disappointing - the walk of fame section of Hollywood Blvd is full of tacky shops selling tat that no self respecting tourist would buy like maps of the stars homes (yep, got one of those) and plastic Oscar statues (knew there was something I forgot!). There's also an awful lot of kinky lingery shops, selling outfits that only hookers would wear really, or maybe if you were going to a kinky sex party...
Anyway, we took a pic of Tom Jones star for my mum and walked along pointing at random stars asking each other, "Who's he?" and "Who's she?" Not heard of half of them.
Laura says: We were told that neither Al Pacino or Robert Deniro have their names on the Walk Of Fame? Apparently there is a commitee which organise the placement of the names but they require a contribution/payment - How bad is that?! Our cheque's in the post!
We also had a quick look outside the Grauman Theatre where some of the more famouse celebs and have had their hands and feet imprinted in the cement there. Johnny Depp has really big feet....
The next day we spent at Univeral Studios going on all the rides and taking a little look around the studios where they film lots of TV and films. It sorts of spoils it a bit as all the houses are all just fronts and they film loads of different films using the same props and just decorating them a little differently. Interesting though. We did get to drive along Wisteria Lane from Desperate Houswives. Didn't see anyone famous.
The best rides are The Mummy and the haunted house, where there are some actual people dressed up and they chase you around. I had to hold Laura's hand the whole way round and we screamed a lot!
We were also introduced to chilli chees fries, very nice!
Laura says: J9 gets very excitable at these theme parks, it's like spending a day with a toddler. She waved so hard at Spong Bob & Shrek I thought her elbow was elasticated. She even chatted to 'Donkey', from Shrek, & kissed him full on the mouth errrrrggghh.
If we make it to Disney I'm thinking one of those straps you tie to a childs wrists to keep them attached to you.
The next day we spent the WHOLE day on various buses. We couldn't find a decent map for love nor money so we guessed where we thought things would be! Everybody says you need a car to get around America and so far we've been fine and decided that if there are buses around LA then that was the way to go. Unfortunately, LA is huge, so spread out it takes hours to get anywhere, as we soon discovered. It took 2 buses and about 2 hours to get to Rodeo Drive and even when we got off the bus when we were told to, Rodeo Drive was about another 15 min walk away. Although everyone wants to be helpful, no one really knows how to get anywhere when you're walking or taking public transport.
But Rodeo Drive was nice, full of very expensive shops that we couldn't afford to go in, never mind buy anything!!
We then spent another 3 hours getting back to Hollywood via Santa Monica. It was a long day.
Laura says: the whole reason for going to Rodeo Drive was so J9 could live the 'Pretty Woman' experience, I seriously think she beleived she was Julia Roberts for the day. Luckily it was too hot for her wig & thigh high boots that day, so I didn't have to get her out of any awkward street corner situations.
We got back just in time for the hike up to Runyan Canyon to get a good view of LA and the smog and got back for the all you can eat barbie for $3! I did worry that I might see my half cooked burger again sometime during the night but luckily we were fine!
Laura Says: Every hostel, so far, has had a map of the area available but not here, hence it taking so long to get anywhere. I think it's all a huge ploy to get you on their tours: The Runyan Canyon Trek was $6.00 & the Bel Air Tour $7.00 which isn't much money but having to pay to follow someone round the streets seems a little harsh - It's just like doing it yourself (if you had a map) but with Germans.
Hollywood is full of wannabe actors, more so than San Fran, including our Australian guide on the hike. He starts shooting a film in January next year, so we instantly made him our best friend just in case he becomes famous.
The night ended with a few glasses of wine as we watched various new stand up comics try out there material on us. Some where funny, others were not.
The next few days we did the typical Hoolywood things:
We went to a showing of Jay Leno which was pretty good. Ashton Kutcher was on and and someone I've never heard of that is part of the american Office cast.
Laura Says: Again, she was like a child! before the show Jay comes out & chats about what's going to happen through out the filming, as it's live & there are no retakes. Then some people from the audience put their hands up to be chosen to have their picture taken with him, I couldn't believe that the hand that shot up next to me & the "me, me, me" chant was coming from J9?? I had to get her out of Hollywood asap!
That night we went out on the famous Sunset Stip. We got talked into going into The Roxy (apparently the place where a lot of famous bands first perform in LA!) by an old guy who we presumed was promoting the singer currently doing her set. And he promised to buy us drinks! It all went a bit weird from there - we found out he was some sort of mortgage man and he was there with his mate who was also in the money business, and the guy who was producing the singer currently performing.
We got chatting and they asked us what we did back in the UK. As always, we both made it very clear that we had given up our jobs and currently have the status of being unemployed. This did not deter this old chap. He started going on about how we could help to promote this singer in the UK through our jobs!!! Obviously this guy had heard the words "work in TV" only and thought bingo, these girls will make our singer famous in Europe!! After insisting on taking our phone numbers so that we could meet up the next day (we both made a mental note to switch them off) the guys left and me and Laura were left wondering whether we'd just stepped in and out of the twilight zone.
I know he was old, but his selective hearing and his own imagination was truely stretched.
But he did buy us a beer so we fogive him for being strange.
Laura says: However odd the experience may have been, I have to admit liking the sound of this guys translation of my job title, on introduction to his collegue, from Accounts Manager at Eurosport to "This is Laura, she finances film"... How cool
We also did a walk of the stars homes. There are so many of these offered around town and they cost about $50 but we did it with the hostel and it was $7 plus $3 for a bus pass!! You don't really get to see much as all the houses have massive gates and lots of security. We did see Aaron Spellings house as the security guards opened to gates for us so we could have a proper nosey!! It was very nice. We also got to chat to the security guard at the Playboy Mansion but he wouldn't let us in, spoilsport. The whole area of Bel Air and Beverly Hills is so plush, such a difference from Hollywood with all it's homeless peole. You can't really believe that all these magastars live in these $10 million plus houses and yet there are more homeless people in the state of California than there are in any other US state.
Firday night we went to watch our new friend Ashton Kutcher in his film, The Gaurdian and then we went out on the hostel bar crawl. Bit disappointing that all bars in LA close at 2am. We saw a fight in a pizza parlour which rounded the night off nicely!
Next stop, Venice Beach and Santa Monica.