I'm sorry Nat but Los Angeles was really seedy. That said, we did enjoy ourselves, we just had to go to the right areas.
So we arrived on a Monday after our last, and worst, greyhound experience of the whole trip. see if you can wrap your head around this - the trip from Anaheim to Los Angeles is supposed to take 45 minutes so one would think it would be a relatively painless experience. We arrived at the bus station one hour early as directed to receive our tickets and luggage tags, missing out on our chance to have one last piece of Baker's Square pie. So we wait that hour, and then another hour to be told that the bus has chosen not to stop in Anaheim as it was full, even though we bought our tickets 2 weeks ago. Instead we would have to wait "5 minutes", then "20 minutes" for a bus they had sent from LA. Long story short, by the time we actually left Anaheim we were supposed to have arrived in LA well over an hour ago. Greyhound! Bah!
But anyway, we eventually arrived at our hostel in Melrose Avenue (hey, hey) to find they hadn't booked us in, even though, again, we'd booked in about 2 weeks ago. That was all sorted, but we think they accidentally put us in a boys dorm because everyone who arrived and departed from the room was male - maybe we just look manly. But that was OK anyway. So Monday arvo we went to Farmers Market and looked around a bit - lots of expensive shops we couldn't afford. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets (cool American 50s diner - Nat you have to go, they have the BEST milkshakes) and Jess got harassed by a crazy person asking her to play 'Are you Lonesome Tonight' by Elvis on the jukebox. For half an hour. Even though the jukeboxes weren't working. Then we did washing. Yay! We're wild.
Tuesday we went to... bah bah bah baaaah... Hollywood. So you'd think very glamorous, exciting... yeah, no. It was sooooo seedy. The walk of fame was all dirty (like, seriously, Bruce Willis's star had a big piece of tape stuck to it. No respect!). Mann's Chinese Theatre was pretty cool, but besides that, meh. Oh there was a big painting of John Ritter on the side of Hollywood High. Lot's of dodgy souvenir shops. LOTS. And people dressed up as superheros and stuff trying to get money from people wanting photos. A guy dressed as Jason tried to kill Jess. Then we attampted to get the bus to Venice Beach, but ended up in Santa Monica, which we wanted to see anyway, but, you know. On the way we saw a high school and thought "heeey, that looks like Rydell High" - we looked it up, and, shucks (Jess made me write that), it was. Summer Lovin' indeed. Santa Monica Pier was cool - Jess won a big bird playing whack-a-mole, I bought Bubba Gump stickers. It took me back to when I was 13 and was going to fly over to America and marry Leo (he lived in Santa Monica duh).
On Wednesday we made it to Venice Beach and spent too much money on trinkets and things - lots of cute little jewellry stands. They filmed Xanadu there - you could totally feel Sonny's spirit in the air. Also the magic. I was a little disappointed at the lack of men in short shorts and rollerskates. And muses. Then we went to Beverly Hills and got pretty woman-ed on Rodeo Drive from OUTSIDE the shops. It was awesome though.
Thursday we went to Universal Studios, which was really cool. We did the studio tour and got to see the sets of a bunch of cool movies - Psycho, Jaws, Back to the Future, Blues Brothers, Jurassic Park and stuff. And where they film Desperate Housewives and Ghost Whisperer. Exciting. We went in the House of Horrors which absolutely terrified us - I (Sarah) would never go back in it in a million years, Jess reckons she would, but not by herself. Horrible people jumped out at us and chased us with a cleaver, and Leatherface jumped out at us with a chainsaw. He terrifies me on TV, I thought I was going to die. For the rest of the day we kept waiting for things to jump out at us. We went on Jurassic Park the ride and The Mummy ride, both were very cool. And they had some cool shows about special effects and stuff. After that we went to check out Sunset Strip, which was pretty unimpressive. That disappointed us. We did see the Rainbow Bar & Grill, The Viper Room, Whiskey a Go Go, The Chateau Marmont and the 'Riot House' (the West Hollywood Hyatt) where all the rock stars hung out in the 60s and 70s. Very cool. And we had a milkshake at Mel's Drive In. And saw a Veronica and The Follow.
Then on Friday - our last day in the US - we went along Melrose and Sunset and did some (window) shopping with one of our dorm mates, Jackson, and looked at Amoeba Records. It was even bigger than the San Francisco one. Then we ventured up to Laurel Canyon, which is quite a story....
We caught a bus, two trains, and two more buses and finally ended up at the Laurel Canyon Country Store. This took about an hour. When we got off the bus we got talking to a guy who worked for Ugly Betty - so we so know Eric Mabius by association now. He told us that Sunset was about 10 minutes in the other direction, so we'd gone all around the world for nothing. Anyway... it was worth it because the Country Store was sooooo cool. It's where all the rock stars hung out in the 60s, they all lived up there. Jim Morrison's old house (well, obviously his old house, he's not likely to live in it now...) was right next door, and he wrote 'Love Street' about it.
We stocked up on Aussie chocolates there, then trekked up Laurel Canyon Blvd in the dark to see Frank Zappa, Houdini and Joni Mitchell's houses. There were no street lights, no footpath, it was all up hill and there were celebrities whizzing past at god knows what speed trying to hit us. But we persevered and were handsomely rewarded. So we made it to the corner of Lookout Mountain Ave, where Frank Zappa's house was. It used to be owned by Harry Houdini, who also owned the house across the street and another down the road. AND two of them are connected by an underground secret passage. It was like the coolest thing ever. It also had a really creepy faceless statue in the backyard and bridges and stuff. Awesome. Then we went around the corner and saw what we could of Joni's house. Very special. Graham Nash wrote 'Our House' there.
After all that adventuring we went to wait for the bus to go back down to Sunset (the 10 minute way). And waited. And saw Tara Reid (we actually did). And Waited. And Waited. And Waited. And got offered a lift by a really creepy guy. And declined that lift. And realised that this was where the Manson murders occured. And waited. We were there for well over an hour, long enough to eat most of the Australian chocolate we'd stockpiled. And then we finally accepted a lift from someone I (Jess) later named Mark Scott who we thought was a pizza delivery guy but who actually worked for the movies delivering props and scripts and stuff. And then we went home to pack and sleep.
Saturday, we got up to say goodbye to the USA and travel to the airport. It was very sad but also exciting. And we saw Kick Gurry at the airport. So it's goodbye USA, hello London.