Today is a sad day because it's our last night in L.A! But it's okay, we definitely have covered the majority of large tourist attractions here and had a great time doing so. We have made lots of new friends and will be taking away a lot of great memories!
So today we decided to do a Hollywood sightseeing tour. For those coming to L.A., we would REALLY recommend this. You can book it when walking along Hollywood Blvd as there are lots of stands advertising it - It is only US$20 plus a tip (about $10), and definitely worth every dollar! www.starlinetours.com
The tour started off by driving alongside the Walk of Fame. For those who don't know what this is, it' consists of over 2500 pink terrazzo stars inlaid with the names of famous celebrities on Hollywood Blvd! There are so many that it goes on for at least thirteen blocks. Apparently to get on the Walk of Fame there is an insaneee criteria, i.e. paying $30,000, specific nominations from well known people, and so on.
We also drove past the Chinese theatre, which was built in 1927 by Sid Grauman and it's famous because at the foot of it are heaps of concrete slabs with hand prints, foot prints and signatures of many stars, such as the Twilight actors, Michael Jackson, Will Smith, Matt Damon, and so on! It's usually very busy in the day so I would recommend checking it out at night first. Even though it's difficult to take pictures it gives you a chance to have a look. Same goes with the Walk of Fame.
We drove along Sunset strip, which has a lot of famous places where Rock Stars go, or used to go, such as the Viper Room, Whisky a Go Go, the House of Blues.
Next was Rodeo drive. This street is full of absolutely amazing shops such as Chanel, Gucci, Rodex, etc. All the super, super expensive places! We also saw the hotel which Pretty Woman was set in, as well as (for those who have seen it), the shop which Julia Robert's character gets snubbed at because she doesn't look rich enough to the staff! (Oh yeah and we saw places where Lindsay Lohan has crashed her car hahahaha).
We then drove through Beverly Hills and were shown around all the fancy, fancy houses and pointed out where certain stars lived or used to live. We saw the houses, or gates, of the following stars:
- Tom Cruise
- Ellen Degeneres (SHE WAS PULLING IN TO HER DRIVE WHEN WE WERE OUTSIDE!!!)
- Bruce Willis
- Simon Cowell
- Katy Perry (apparently she also bought the house next door to use as a party house)
- Madonna (although apparently she is only there four weeks of the year)
- BRUNO MARS!!!
- And a few others that aren't really as interesting.
- OH ANDD!! We saw the house which Michael Jackson died in :(
The tour ended with a drive up the mountains to get amazing panaramic views of the Hollywood sign and downtown L.A. We took heaaaaps of beautiful photos which made me super happy because I didn't think we would get a chance to see those kind of sights on such a strict schedule! So YAY I really do recommend doing the Starline Tour as it's really good value for money, and the tour guide gives you so much info as you're driving around!
After this tour Matt and I got the yummiesssssssst shakes. My one was made from peanut butter, low fat yoghurt, malt and banana. Sounds weird but it was the tastiest shake I have ever had. We also went to Johnny Rockets which was cool. It was kind of old styled and played old music - but the fries were really tasty :-3 I should also mention that I have noticed in the U.S. they write their calories EVERYWHERE. Every food outlet has the calories of each meal written on the menu - even Subway.
I also can't remember mentioning (even though this is old news) that my main luggage bag broke when we arrived in L.A.! It has a massive rip down the side that I have attempted to stick back together with duck tape hahaha. I think the Fiji Airways staff must have grabbed it by one handle (it's like a giant sports bag) and not grabbed the other, so when they threw it that handle ripped :( I'm trying to avoid buying one until we arrive in Oregon as there's no added tax on stuff there - whereas in California it's like 10%.
Tonight Matthew and I were thinking about doing a club crawl - the clubs look pretty mental here! But we're both pretty exhausted and need to be up at 5.30am tomorrow to catch our bus to Vegas! I'm sure Vegas is going to be mental and I will have lots to write about!
Few points to note for those coming to L.A.:
- I have stayed in three hostels. Two were called Venice Beach Hostel - be aware that there are three of those hostels that all have the same name but are in totally different locations! The first one we stayed in was on Yale Avenue outside of Venice. It was nice as it had a really nice homey feel to it, but it was quite a walk from Venice Beach. The second we stayed at was on Pacific Avenue. This one is great if you want to party and go to the beach heaps! But be aware that it's very noisy, esp. as the road outside has lots of drama going on all the time. The third we have stayed in is called USA Hostels in Hollywood (thanks Mickey for the recommendation!). This one is cool as it's literally 30 secs from Hollywood Blvd and offers heaps of activities! Such as buses to the beach, limo rides, club crawls, guided walks, and so on. All of the hostels have provided breakfast and wi-fi. The second also provided a very basic dinner!
- LOTS of homeless people alllll the time. It is heartbreaking but if you gave every one of them money your life would suck too because you wouldn't have money to come home :/ There are also people trying to sell you things on the street A LOT. They tend to claim that they are raising money for some sort of charity but too be honest I don't think many of them are legit. The key thing is to just say no thank you and keep walking. Matt and I have tended to be very polite and ended up losing some money because of it :/ But now we are quite firm, even if it seems rude :( They always catch you out when they ask where you are from, because once you reply you are engaging in conversation and it takes AGES to escape
- Los Angeles is more of a cluster of suburbs than a city. So you have to be prepared to spend nights in different areas since getting around can be difficult. Most people here seem to drive but if you're from NZ I wouldn't recommend renting a car as driving here seems very different. Of course they drive on the other side of the road here, but also things like it's a huge city with heaps more traffic, plus giving way to pedestrians is weird here. As soon as you step off the curb they like have to stop? Very strange.
Anyway this is long enough so I will update you all tomorrow about the madness of Vegas :)