Los Angeles and Hollywood - 21st May to 23rd May
After a long but spacious flight we disembarked into Los Angeles airport. The time was 1.30pm and we had left Fiji at 10pm and flown for 10 hours so the time differences really did strange things with the body clock. Thankfully, for a change, the journey through immigration was less painful than our visit to Miami so we spent little time in collecting our belongings and heading in to the city. Outside the airport we were directed to the super shuttle bus where we managed to grab a ride all the way to our hotel, even if the cost was a little bit more than we were used to. After listening to a group of business workers talk crap for about 35 minutes in the taxi we arrived at the Holiday Inn. The positioning was perfect, we were right in the heart of downtown LA; our minds ran away with imagination as we tried to comprehend all the films and TV shows that had been filmed around the area, especially our favorite 24. After checking in we headed up to the top floor of the hotel where we were greeted with a luxury room, a hot shower, two double beds, and get this as an added bonus we even had cotton soft toilet paper which would be perfect for me as I was still in the final stages of Fiji belly.
Our body clocks were all over the place because basically we were re doing the 21st May, although this was a little bonus I guess as it was mine and Rachel's anniversary so that was pleasing for her I suppose, it cost me double! So without too much stress we spent most of the afternoon in the room, watching TV, using the net and generally chilling out, although we did head down the local supermarket to pick up a few snacks which included the informs 'Lucky Charms'. For those of you who are uneducated in this cereal delight they are a kids heaven, marshmallows in a sweet cereal that just get you buzzing for the day with sugar and preservatives, dream land. After about 6 cup full's of them we decided that we had had enough and ordered room service while listening to the beating of music which was downstairs as the Lakers took on their playoff opponent, lucky for us our hotel sat opposite the LA Lakers stadium. As the evening wore on we made a call home before hitting the sack, both of us were completely out of sink and we knew that sleeping was always going to be a struggle.
As expected we did struggle to sleep, Rachel especially. However at a little past 6.00am the phone rang, Rachel answered hesitantly only to discover it was my Mum. I mean it scared the crap out of me, for obvious reasons, mother! Anyway the confusion was actually over whether Andrea was collecting me from Toronto or Ottawa, but the Canadian way is the chilled way and we soon realised that everything was cool and that Andrea was just visiting Totonto with the girls before returning to Ottawa to pick me up - as previously planned! After dozing back off to sleep we awoke at a little after 10.00am to head straight out to explore the city of LA. We knew time was not on our side so we did the true tourist thing and headed straight to Hollywood, the home of the stars, the top dogs. We caught the subway through to Hollywood Central and as we left the station it was clear the place was a tourist trap, guys tried to sell their music to us and others just tried to get us to pay for photos with them. Our first impression was how run down the place was, clearly it was an area of a generation of stars that was no more, I mean how could they live their lives there these days with all us tourists flocking into the place. Anyhow we came out of the station and our heads immediately hit the floor, we stared down to the floor, gazing at the stars that have had their name set in stone. We hunted for ones we knew, the people we love today but with so many it became a bit of a challenge. After we turned back and crossed the road we wandered back up the other side marveling at all that was around us, across the road people were dressed up as movie stars posing for pictures, up the road the hills of LA stood out on a crisp clear day and every other shop we passed sold souvenirs of the area. After calling in at a pharmacy, to try and ease my health problems, we had lunch at a Mexican café where we enjoyed quesadillas with bottomless pop.
After eating we had one main challenge left to conquer, we had gazed at the stars but we wanted to see the Hollywood sign, the famous name that embroiled the hill face of Los Angles. We walked through the main square, through the mall and as we came out we spotted a pile of tourists standing taking pictures, we knew we were there. After a few snaps we headed back downstairs where Rachel took advantage of the Mac Makeup Store while I twiddled my thumbs waiting for the gay store guide to put her down. With Hollywood taking its toll we soon headed back to the downtown area, though not before heading into a huge souvenir shop to play with some of the items for sale.
After arriving back downtown we looked out for film sets of 24 as we were actually staying around the area that it was filmed. After a short walk from 7th Street we arrived back at the LA Lakers stadium where we stopped for a while to check out the area. This place is famous in so many ways yet my passion for basketball sits pretty much at zero but I have to say it was still interesting to see. After we attempted to cross the road, a hard thing to do in the states because the size of cars being one problem and the other being that every other car that passes you is probably valued at over $100000 so you kind of become side tracked from crossing the road.
After a quick freshen up in the hotel we headed out for dinner just across the street. Rachel enjoyed steak whilst I got stuck into a fillet of Salmon. The day had been productive, and the meal finished it off perfectly, the sad thing was though that it was our last together. Now the travels really had come to an end, no more would we laugh at each other's jokes or cringe at each other's hygiene. Our trip, the trip of a lifetime that we had planned for so many months was over, although I was off to Canada, leaving Rachel behind would turn out to be the hardest part of the trip. If I'm honest I had actually started to quite like her, she had grown on me considerably as the trip had gone on, well that's a lie the girl has been a part of my life for so long this trip has only made that stronger. But hey I guess in a month's time I will be back home and we can then share the memories together again, although I am sure she won't take offence if I say that I hope it does not come round too quickly. As we tucked ourselves in for one last time we drifted off late in to the night, dam jet lag.
The next day I departed early, leaving Rachel curled in bed, as the door closed I took a deep breath held back the emotions and set off on the next part of my journey. Soon I would be in Canada, the more respected part of this side of the Atlantic. Hopefully my cousins will be at Ottawa airport to pick me up although the thought has crossed my mind they might be in Toronto, don't know what put that in my mind?