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Roon the Globe Nadia's trip around the world in 365 days :)

LA - land of tacos & plastic faces

USA | Friday, 24 June 2011 | Views [335]

I arrived in LA about 1pm after an overnight flight from Fiji, the queue to get through security and pick up my baggage was ridiculously long as suspected so i never actually made it to my hostel til around 4.30pm. I was staying in the Venice neighbourhood which i heard wasn't safe to go around at night time so pretty much headed out straight away and got some tacos then walked down to the beach. On the map the beach looked only a few blocks away but it was my first taste of how big LA actually is and took me about 25 minutes to get there. There was alot going on since it was the weekend, massive cars driving about playing music and a good buzz about the place. Venice Beach is absoulately massive and stretches along the coast til it reaches Santa Monica..but i decided not to head along that way since it was getting quite late. I had ran into a few weirdos trying to talk to me cos i was on my own so i knew i'd need to be a bit careful about where i went and just headed back to the hostel for the night.

The next day i decided to head up to Hollywood Boulevard to do the typical tourist thing and check out the Walk of Fame, it took me over an hour on the bus to reach downtown LA, pretty much on one straight street the whole way then i hopped on the Metro train into Hollywood. When i stepped out onto the street it was absolutely mobbed with tourists, as i was right next to the Chinese Theatre where loads of buskers are dressed up as celebrities and cartoon characters. I managed to spot Michael Jackson, Marilyn Munroe, Samuel L Jackson, Spiderman, Spongebob Squarepants and Tinkerbell all within the same vicinity - bit surreal! I spent most of the day just wandering around the boulevard looking at the stars and the shops. I even managed to spot the Hollywood sign on the hills in the distance, kind of covered by smog but amazing to see it in real life! I was also really surprised to see how much of LA is Spanish influenced and most signage is bi-lingual, it's been a great way for me to practice reading and listening to people speaking.

On the Tuesday i went into Beverley Hills and seen how the other half lives! I jumped on a bus which took me along to Santa Monica, i ended up having a wander round the shops there which was really nice in the pedestrianised street. It was a lot cleaner and more upmarket already but nothing prepares you for stepping off the bus in Beverley Hills. I had been getting by without a map for the last couple of days but realised i had no idea where i was when i stepped off the bus this time so managed to pick up a guidebook in the Beverley Hills Library. I headed straight down to Rodeo Drive which is where all of the designer stores are. The place is just jumping with massive cars, bling and women with plastic surgery! After that i started heading up one of the streets where celebrities live but once again underestimated how big the place was so never quite made it to Elvis' house unfortunately..but some of the mansions on the way up there were amazing. All different styles of building and made of different materials with big cars sitting outside in the drive, the streets were empty though and it sometimes makes you wonder how long these people actually spend in their massive homes.

After a couple of tiring days walking around i decided to have a chillout on the Wednesday and Laura was arriving late afternoon so i wanted to be around for her getting to the hostel. It was good to relax for the day and i didn't even leave the hostel all day :) Laura finally arrived about 5pm and it was great to be reunited after 10 months! We had a good catch up that night and had booked a private room in the hostel which was like a 70's throwback. There was actually a bath and a toilet in the room with no wall separating them from the sleeping area, except for a bright orange seat in front of the toilet..very bizarre. Anyhoo we had quite an early night so we could make the most of the next day cycling to Santa Monica.

We headed out quite early on the bikes we had hired from the hostel along the Venice beach boardwalk which runs along to Santa Monica. There is so much going on down there it's unbelieveable - constant entertainment just from people watching. There's a skatepark, a gym, loads of market stalls and shops and so many homeless people. We kept heading towards Santa Monica, and when we arrived there took a walk along the famous pier which you see in so many films. The weather was so nice, about 26 degrees so not too hot and nice and breezy. We turned back to go and see what else was going on in Venice, and by this time in the afternoon it was getting really busy. Loads of street entertainers and weird people floating around, anything goes in this place. We ate some questionable cheap pizza for lunch and watched one of the street dance shows going on..which we soon realised was so scripted and the same crowd participation going on the whole way along the board walk - they must have been part of the same dance crew trying to maximise their takings!

We were both shattered and a bit burnt after being in the sun all day so spent the evening planning our trip for the next few weeks as we had to pick up the car the next day.

 

Tags: los angeles, usa

 

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