We arrived in LA and went to check into our motel. After several comments about how lucky we have been with accommodation so far we found our room was by far the dirtiest we had seen. I begrudgingly plucked six long black hairs out from our towels and the floor was filthy and in need of a good sweep and clean. We didn't inspect the linen too closely both scared of what we might find and after an average meal we went to sleep.
Friday saw us spending the day at Universal Studios, oh yeah! We rose early and drove up the freeway to the small city and parked with no problems. We had a fantastic day. I had been on my first visit to LA thirteen years ago with my Dad and David and all I can really remember is the huge crowds as there was some carnival on and we missed the last tour of the day. I don't really remember any of the rides.
This time we purchased queue jump passes and they were really worth the money. We only just managed to complete every ride and see every show and although the queues weren't massively long we wouldn't haven done as much without the fast track passes. My favourite ride was the water ride (of course!) which was the Jurassic Park one, with an 80 foot drop into water ensuring you got well and truly drenched, so much fun! Dan really enjoyed the King Kong 4D experience as park of the Studio Tour.
For one of the shows we auditioned to participate in showing the audience what goes on Behind the Scenes. We had to play Shrek (me!) and Donkey (Dan) and funnily enough we passed with flying colours and were moved into the VIP section. Later during the actual show we were used to demonstrate how the white screen is used behind the actors in order to make it look as though they were at Sea, in a jungle, in Space etc. We acted as the Captain and First Mate on a ship and imagery was portrayed onto the screen behind us. With us ducking and swaying it looked quite life-like on the televisions around the studio. Lots of fun and we all know how much I enjoy making a spectacle of myself!
It was a great day, one we didn't want to end. After the Park closed we had a drink in one of the bars nearby and had a mooch around the shops. All the entertainers were out in full force and the nightlife was hotting up and like true backpackers we climbed into our car and went back to our shabby motel to sleep!
Saturday was the day our car had to be back in the afternoon. We had thought about extending the lease and exploring the California Coast but the weather changed quite drastically and we woke up to wind and rain so we decided against it so we hit the mall instead! We both got our hair cut and we did a couple of other errands before dropping the car off at LAX. We decided to spend the next couple of nights based at the airport rather than lugging all our stuff into town and back again in 48 hours so we found a relatively cheap hotel and checked in and had a quiet evening.
Sunday was the day of the Emmys so at Dan's insistence (yes, really!) off we went to Hollywood. We caught the free shuttle to the airport and then another free shuttle to the metro station. We had to catch the metro and then change to a bus and the whole ordeal took over two hours, LA is either very large or not public transport friendly! It wasn't a patch on NYC or Chicago that's for sure! The bus was taken on a detour because the Emmys saw a four square block area closed off only allowing hundreds of limos through and not much else.
After walking around for what seemed like hours we finally made it onto the actual street where the stars were exiting their cars and walking the red carpet. It actually wasn't as busy as we were expecting and we made it quite close to the front, which was still a good two hundred yards from the drop off point, and waited to see who we might see.
Quite early on we caught a glimpse of Hugh Lawrie, although to be honest we were too far back to be able to identify him and it was only when we looked through the photos that we realised we had actually seen him. I very proudly and exceptionally happily identified Matthew Fox (lead actor in Lost for those of you who have been sleeping the last six years) and was very giddy for the rest of the month at this! No sign of any other Lost stars much to Dan's dismay although we did learn that "Ben", "Locke" and "Hurley" were all there somewhere.
When the road became very quiet and there were no limos to be seen anywhere we decided to move nearer to the building where the actual awards ceremony was taking place. Quite a large section of a courtyard was blocked off with fences, which is where the press were waiting to photograph and interview anyone passing through. We walked past this area (sadly on the wrong side of the barrier) and came to a dead end. We decided to give up star spotting and as it was thirsty work we would have a beer, so we went into the building alongside the fence and made our way upstairs to the bar. Imagine our surprise when we discovered there was a balcony! It was very busy so we couldn't actually get out onto it but we managed to peer through the windows and find the crowd had an excellent view right over the fence to where the starts stopped for photographs.
Instantly we saw Seal and Heidi Klum, and after a little while Paula Abdul walked by and posed for the cameras. The carpet became quite quiet after Paula had walked indoors and we thought that that was the end of our celebrity spotting session but we noticed the press were still milling around as if they were waiting for someone else to walk by. There was a stand directly opposite where we were facing the red carpet with a few lucky spectators and they too were all looking to the entrance as if they could see someone coming through so we decided to wait. Our detective and patience skills paid off because after a short while Al Pacino walked down the red carpet and stopped briefly before finally entering the auditorium. Now Dan was a bit happier having not seen "Freckles" but he had seen "The Godfather".
We realised it was gone 5pm and we hadn't eaten a single thing all day so we found a quiet spot nearby in the pub (naturally) where the TVs' were showing the Emmy ceremony live (again, what more could you expect?!)
After we had eaten our fill and, to our dismay, watched as Lost collected zero awards (booooooo!!) we left the pub and tried to decide where would be best to try and spot people leaving after the ceremony had finished. There was nobody on the road and the bar had closed, everyone else had gone home. We hung around for a while but the celebrities exited the building a different way and came back to the main road lower down so we couldn't see much at all. We called it a day and caught the metro back to the airport.
Monday arrived and it was time to go to Hawaii!! Woohoo! Our flight was at tea time which meant we had to be at the airport by 2pm. In the morning we walked a little way down the road to a shopping centre to top up our suntan lotion and speak to our parents, courtesy of Starsucks. Before too long it was time to collect our bags and go and check in! We were so excited about seeing the gang again. It was going to be a blast spending time with people we knew and loved and we were really looking forward to it!