Back to blogging, last few days have been crazy fun, those that know the Abel's will understand this, we fit so much in, not any time for blogs!
Early morning pickup by VIP Tours, our first stop was Venice Beach - I don't think the name fits because it's just a whole different world down on the Ocean Front Walk. Because it was the early morning, we saw a lot of people that were recovering from the night before, apparently the place buzzes from mid afternoon to all hours of the night. It's a bit of a mix of everything from gym junkies, roller-skating/skateboarding, Bob Marley groupies, street circus people looking for the next dollar for food or the other obvious need, there is a graffiti park, corrugated iron stalls of cheap stuff, and green outfitted men that you can approach for a necessary requirement of the green stuff - yes it's legal here but not like Amsterdam, they have medical centres set up, with patient waiting areas and all. This area of LA feels dirty unfortunately and when you see the beach where Bay Watch was filmed, you think straight away, gosh we are so lucky, with what is on offer in Australia in regards to beaches.
Moving on we venture to Santa Monica, same coastline and just up from Venice Beach but a whole different setting, still the hippie chic, surfers, skateboarders, yoga crazy, and private gym trained Mom's, everyone is in good shape, super tanned, there are tons of gyms. I'd say this beach/ocean frontage esplanade and the pier reminds me of the Gold Coast.
We had a half hour on Third Street Promenade for a stroll and coffee at the Coffee Bean - this is where we learnt about ordering coffee in the US, you have to advise how many shots you want, then there is the choice of cream, creamer and milk. Nothing is easy, like asking for a Skinny Cap!!
Onto Beverley Hills, new car dealers are the cars that we see in movies not buy!!! And the cars on the road are pretty much the same as those new in the windows ready to be bought. Yep, you guessed it, we go onto Rodeo Drive, so that explains all the glitz and glamour of the place. Bijan is the most expensive clothing store (Men's Wear unbelievably....grin). You can only go into the shop if you have a private appointment and spend more than $25,000!!! It was nice to walk along the elegant street and window shop, it did feel odd walking along the street past ladies dressed like they were going to the races, when I had jeans and thongs on.
Lunch time was a stop at the famous buzzing Farmers Market - stalls offering an international array of foods. The heatwave, had me take up a crepe with loads of fresh fruit salad on it and Mum/Dad a variety of fruit from the stalls and salad. Apparently close by is The Grove, for those that want a decent shop.
Back on the tour bus for a drive by the famous Walt Disney Concert Hall - it's supposed to represent a ship adrift in rough sea, then on past Chinatown and a short stop at Pueblo de Los Angeles - LA's 100 year old community where it all started - we wandered through the narrow Olvera St's vibrant Mexican-themed stalls, where Dad bought himself a black leather man bag - for carrying camera, tickets etc.
We finished up after driving along Sunset Strip at Hollywood Boulevard. We asked if we could end here for our Starline Celebrity Tour.
In an open roofed bus, we were off to see where all the Hollywood Stars lived in the area, and where movies were made. The houses, some quaint, some grand, and others just in the mix. To name a few, Katy Perry, Bruno, Gwyneth, Lucille Ball, Shirley Temple, Tom Cruise, and even Michael Jackson the last place he lived, the list is too long to write about and they sell houses or move about anyway. The streets are so neatly manicured and quite charming - it was just nice to drive around to see where the locals lived too. We did stop to see the Hollywood sign from a good viewpoint, the sign actually first appeared in 1923 as an advertising gimmick for a real estate development called Hollywood Land. The last four letters were lopped off in the 40's and in the 70's after the signs deteriorated, Hugh Hefner and Alice Cooper joined forces with fans to save the famous sign.
But you guessed it - the day didn't end after the tour, we headed to the Dodger Stadium and of course the best way to experience it, is to catch a ballgame. Dodgers vs Chicago Cubs. It truly is like the movies, the place just buzzes with excitement, you can smell garlic fries and burgers for miles, and yes they do have the Kiss Cam which is hilarious and yep they play on a real organ at the game -
Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack.
I don't care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.