Right, so Tuesday was our last proper day in LA. We went into Hollywood quite early to get our last few pictures of stars on the walk of fame, and we also saw the celebrity handprints and footprints. In the afternoon, we got an hour-long bus into Santa Monica to have a look at the beach and walk on the pier, and ended up doing far too much shopping in its very nice shopping precinct! We have stopped shopping now, thank goodness! I ended up buying another dress... oops... and a necklace, so that's the spending done for a long time, i.e. until New York! On bus on the way back, after missing about 4, we got talking to a rather odd/interesting guy who admitted his feelings for the Harry Potter girls, as you do to strangers on a bus I'm sure!
Wednesday was our Greyhound day, which we finally got to after a bus, underground and another bus. The station was in a bit of a dodgy part of town, so we were pretty pleased it was mid-morning and we hadn't opted for the night bus! The journey was about 8 1/2 hours long in total. Quite missed the New Zealand countryside- a lot of California out of bus windows, especially on the highway, is quite dull! After another bus, we finally made it to our hostel, glad to finally have somewhere to put our bags, and ourselves, down. The hostel is pretty nice, much nicer than LA, and the city feels a lot smaller. We can walk around most of it, yay!
Yesterday we started off the day with an awesome free breakfast of cream cheese bagels, coffee and OJ :D Then we went into the city and took ourselves on a little walking tour that we found in the Lonely Planet. We started off at the Dragon Gate bridge in Chinatown, then wandered through Chinatown for a while. It was quite reminiscent of south-east Asia, with all the shops full of everything you could think of, stalls outside and strings of lanterns hanging between the buildings. We also managed to walk down a lot of alleys where apparently there used to be brothels, but fortunately today the walls were covered with brightly coloured murals!
After leaving Chinatown, we ended up in the Italian part of the city. We stopped for lunch at a table on the street outside an Italian restaurant and had some very tasty salads. We were imagining we were very trendy and cosmopolitan, eating our al-fresco lunch, until a homeless woman came and tried to take our half-finished coke cans to put in her bag! After lunch, we headed up a hideously steep hill with some excellent views of the city to Coit Tower, which was built to honour firefighters and apparently looks like a giant hose though I couldn't see it! We got the famous San Francisco trams/cable cars back to the city centre which were pretty cool. When they got to the end of the track 2 men had to turn it around by hand on a massive turn-table so it was facing the right direction again.
Today we had a bit of a lazy one, heading out for a Subway then visiting the SF MoMA. They had some good drawings and photos of old San-Fran, including some crazy sculptures. There was a wall full of photos of the sun that the artist had found on Flickr, a white and gold sculpture of Michael Jackson and a monkey and another consisting of brooms arranged in a circle from most to least worn. But the craziest one had to be a piece consisting of tiny pictures of pin-ups, a doll with the head of a blowfish and various thrift-store stockings and hats! Art is weird, it was a good way to kill a few hours though! There were also some pictures of Yosemite national park, which is where we'll be in a few days!
Tomorrow afternoon we are heading to the airport hostel where our tour starts from the next day. It'll be nice to have someone else organising us again, I for one am beginning to flag! Not sure how often I'll be able to update this since we're doing a lot of camping, but I shall keep you posted when I have the chance :)