San Francisco to Los Angeles....
I was booked on a California Shuttle bus – due to leave at 1150 and arrive in LA at about 7pm. But having read the reviews on the website, I knew it wasn't the most reliable of transports, but it was the cheapest and easiest way to get to LA, without flying. Believe it or not, the trains here are rubbish between the 2 cities. I was in town by 11am, after getting a bus from outside the hostel, which was free due to the cash payment machine being out of order. As we passed through Chinatown, it made me laugh as the 'Chinese Americans', acted just like the normal Chinese, from China as they attempted to get onto a full bus before letting off the departing passengers. A large African American woman made her point by shouting out loudly ' Hey, let us off the bus before you get on – In fact let ME off the bus before you get on!', then emphasised her point by getting off, elbows out and taking as many Chinese people backwards with her as she could! I liked her and wished I could shake her hand as she knows my frustrations!
As I waited for the shuttle bus I got chatting to an LA resident called Michelle, who claims that she has worked as an extra on Eddie Murphy movies and a few tv shows I had never heard off, but she was fun to chat to and gave me a few good hints on LA and what to see and do, plus it kept the homeless people from bothering us (They tend to pester single people)
The bus turned out exactly as the internet said – half an hour late to start with and then delayed by another hour as the drivers swapped halfway and we had to wait while the new driver had a Mcdonalds -haha! I didnt mind as I only had my bed to get to when I arrived and more sleep on a snoreless coach was fine, but one girl behind me, was on her phone to the bus company asking for her money back for most of the 2nd half of the journey.
On arrival I had about 15 metres walk to the hostel and after booking in I met my new roomies – A German and an Irish girl and 3 blokes from the US and Australia. I hope no one snores. I had a quick look around Holllywood Boulevard, but decided to head off to bed about 10ish to catch up on sleep. (I spent last night on the sofas in the old hostel because of the two snoring champions I was sharing with.)
No snorers!! Get in there! I had a great nights sleep and woke up early, before heading out. I grabbed a ride on the 222 bus and got off just before Warner Bros Studios, before heading up into the Hollywood hills. After half an hour I rounded a corner to see the Hollywood sign, where I stopped for a while and did some jump shots and photos. I also saw some celebrity bloke stopping off in a limo for a look, but I have no idea who he was. But I took his photo anyway just in case.
|Anyone know who this is!? Some celebrity dude!|
|ME BIG - SIGN SMALL!!|
After the stop for pics I headed back down the hill towards Hollywood boulevard but somehow ended up on a small track in the hills, getting caught up between bushes and trees, but eventually made it down to the town, where I took a ride on a tourist bus around the circuit of Hollywood and Beverley Hills. It is a strange place with everyone either being a tourist or a sickly rich wannabe celebrity or a celebrity, I didn't see anyone really famous, but did find a Bugatti Veyron parked up in Rodeo Drive, before watching a movie shoot just off Hollywood Boulevard (The movie is Gangster Squad, starring Sean Penn, but I didn't see him) I'm now ready for bed again – Its been a really long day and I am a lazy bugar.
Another day in LA. Today I went on the movie stars homes tour. A 2 hour jaunt around the poshest houses in the world. We looked at houses belong to people like Sly Stallone, Nick Cage, Becks, Frank Sinatra Tom Cruise. Leonardo DiCaprio and loads of others. Some are just silly in their size and cost. We only saw one celebrity though and we didn't even know who she was as she walked past the open top minibus followed by photographers.
|Filming 'Gangster squad' - out next year|
|Leonardo DiCaprio mums house -Honest! I shit you not!|
|Nicholas Cages Ferrari - Honest I shit you not...|
|The top one is David and Victorias house!|
It was a lovely sunny morning so I decided to go down to the beach in Santa Monica for the afternoon, but as I got there after an hour long bus ride, the sun disappeared and it got cold and windy. I did see muscle beach and the pier, but it was very quiet and so I decided to grab a bus back to Hollywood, which took 2 hours due to the traffic. It was still a fun day out though. Time for Pizza and then a couple of beers before bed.
starline tour ticket I had should have been swapped for a Universal Studios ticket! I only found this out when I couldn't get into the Studios! I eventually paid cash after the wouldn't accept my credit card without ID and went inside. The day was really good though.A fantastic tour of the studios, looking at famous stages and places, along with a 4d Jurassic Park adventure and of course, getting attacked by Jaws. Then some shows – Terminator and Waterworld were the best – Both live action but with some great effects, fire and lasers etc. The rides were good, but the best ride was the Simpson's, even though its one of those big screen non moving roller coaster things, it was really really good fun.
|Really really strange people -who had their heads made from clay!|
|war of the worlds plane crash - you think they would have tidied up by now!|
|waterworld was great!|
After a long day and seeing everything (It is out of season, so there were no queues!) I got back on the transport and was delighted to get a refund from the company, for not issuing me a ticket! Bonus. I celebrated with a couple of beers and a burger in the pub, before watching a bit more of the filming of Gangster Squad, which is still going on in a side street off Hollywood Boulevard.
I decided to get out and get myself a US mobile phone today. Every time I have booked a tour or transport they have asked for a phone number, but only take US numbers. So I got myself a phone fr $4.99 and then went downtown LA for a look around the city and Union Street station, which is a beautiful art deco building, with old style massive leather arm chairs for people to sit in while they wait for trains or buses. It is a really atmospheric building and I loved having a look around it for a while. It certainly puts to shame some of the crappy railway stations I use in the UK and is a throwback to the stylish old days on the early 1900's. I had a nice day riding the metro train and buses before getting back to the hostel and doing my weekly laundry. Then I packed my gear and had a couple of last beers in The Pig and Whistle, which has become my Hollywood Boulevard local and where I ate my dinner tonight whilst watching US Football on the TV.
Hollywood is everything people say it is. The Boulevard itself is very tacky, but doesn't take itself seriously - Anywhere where you can shake hands with Elmo and get chased by a 3ft high Mr T dwarf impersonator doesn't need to tell you that it is just a bit of fun. Some people told me they were disappointed with Hollywood, but I disagree. It is just a place where you come to have fun and laugh – Sure the sex shops and down and outs on the street spoil it a little but even they join in the fun every now and then, trying to make a buck by playing a mini guitar or my personal favourite - a local homeless guy who walks around town doing an impression of Jimmy Stewart in 'Its a Wonderful life' – saying Merry Chrishshmas to you all - and quoting from one of the best movies ever made, with a smile on his face knowing that he is having fun and making people laugh.
I liked it here – from Beverly Hills to the Hollywood sign and downtown. I think that people expect to see superstars and flash cars every minute of the day, but Hollywood is more about the people who really live and work here, mixed with the tourists, they make it a cool, funny almost theme park like in the way it works. I didntt know if I would live here, but the people are friendly, its not that expensive, the weather is warm and personally - I liked it a lot!
There are loads more photos on Picasa and LOTS OF VIDEOS FROM UNIVERSAL STUDIOS on YouTube.....
Just click on the links on the left side of the screen....
Ill be back in 3 or 4 days when I am settled in VEGAS!!