We got up reasonably early this morning to head off on our Los Angeles tour. We're staying in an 8 bed hostel room though and 2 of the girls we are sharing with got in at about 4am crashing and banging about and making heaps of noise, so we were annoyingly woken by that and didn't have the best sleep! So we got up and headed out for breakfast. We could make it at the hostel but neither of us were keen on that, so we headed out. After that we went and waited at our meeting point for the tour pick up, but the road was closed due to the new Dolby Theatre opening and we were a bit concerned that we'd get missed. Soon enough however our tour guide Summer came to collect us. We were the only ones on the tour, so it was a very intimate one with just 3 people in total. It was really good though and we learnt lots about Hollywood and Los Angeles.
We began by doing a walking tour up to the new Dolby Theatre, which was the Kodak Theatre. This is where the Oscars are held each year, and they were laying out the red carpet for the opening. It's actually in a shopping centre which they dress up and disguise for the Oscars. We then went to the Chinese Theatre which outside has a whole lot of celebrities hand and foot prints with their names signed. The celebrities need to be invited to do this, as opposed to the Hollywood stars. We found out today that to get your name on a star these days you need to write an essay to explain why you should get one, and pay $30,000. So it's not really such an honour these days to get your name on a star.
From here we headed down to The Roosevelt Hotel which is where Marilyn Monroe used to live. Apparently lots of celebrities hang out by the pool here, so we headed out to see... And there was no one. Surprise surprise. We still haven't seen one. We also went into a little cafe where Walt Disney used to hang out and do some of his work. There was Disney artwork all over the walls, which different people had done in honour of him and his work.
We finished the walking tour after that and headed to a shop called 'It's a Wrap' which is basically a second hand shop, but it's clothes which have been worn on TV and movie sets, maybe only once or twice, and then given to the shop to sell. Each item had a code on it so that you could look up which movie/programme it was in. We didn't recognise a lot of the names but there was Desperate Housewives stuff. That's probably what I was most excited about.
From here we went to the Farmers Market which had food galore. Food from lots of different countries and all over the place. But because we know we're soon going to be eating lovely authentic European food, we just decided to have a slice or good old American pizza. We had a wander around the market but didn't get too far before we needed to move on. I bought a few scrapbooking items at the market, but other than lunch, that was it. Oh, I did also have to visit the bathroom here, and I noticed that in every toilet cubicle they have about a 2cm gap on either side of the door! So I could see out and other people could also see in. It was so weird and incredibly awkward when you're sitting on the toilet! Apparently this is normal for public toilets in L.A. It's creepy.
We drove up through Beverly Hills past the multimillion dollar mansions, and up to an old mansion which is about a hundred years old. It has 55 rooms and is now owned by the State as a public park. The man who initially owned it, built for his son who was murdered shortly after by one of his workers. His wife then sold it as she didn't want to live there anymore and eventually the State ended up buying it. It was a beautiful place with lovely gardens and it has been kept really well.
After this, Summer took us to a famous cupcake store called Sprinkles. It's so popular that we had to queue outside the store for about 10 minutes first. What's cool is that you can even order your cupcake through the Sprinkles ATM. You order your cupcake via a touch screen, pay your money, and then it comes out of the ATM all boxed up for you! It was so cute. Only in Hollywood!
From here we headed to the famous Rodeo Drive where all of the massive designer shops are. We went and got our picture taken under the Rodeo Drive sign and then just headed back to the car. There was no point looking in any shops because we knew we weren't going to buy anything. It was all too expensive.
Venice Beach was out next stop. We drove down past Santa Monica Beach and once we got to Venice Beach we hired some bikes and biked right down the beach before turning around and biking back. Stacey had a blue bike and I had a lovely pink one, so that I wouldn't get lost. Lucky Stacey was on to it because I completely lost our guide and carried on biking straight once she had turned off. It wasn't until Stacey started yelling out to me that I realised. I didn't realise this, but Venice Beach is actually called Venice because it was once made up of lots of little canals (like Venice, Italy), until other forms of transportation were invented and they didn't really have a use for canals anymore. So they filled them all in and began driving on them instead.
On our way back from the beach, I couldn't keep my eyes open in the back seat, so I had a wee nap before we went half way up the Hollywood hill to get a photo under the sign. This proved to be a little hard as we had to stand in the middle of the road to get a decent picture. We got there in the end though. From here we headed back to Hollywood Boulevard for some dinner at a famous L.A. restaurant called 'In & Out burger', and to check out what was happening with the Dolby Theatre opening. I think we missed it though.
It's been a full on, packed day, and again we're exhausted, however I'm pretty sure we're going to have this feeling most of the time we're away! We've seen some pretty interesting things so far, some very cute little dressed up dogs, as well as some pretty interesting people! We've seen a girl walking down the street with some snakes in her hands, a man in speedo's standing on a podium holding snakes, a lady talking to a pole, a man wearing a rainbow bikini walking down the street singing, a man dressed as a clown walking down the street singing, as well as a whole lot of other people who seem to think it's normal to walk down the street singing, a man having a huge rage at the police, another man having a huge rage at some strangers, and just a whole lot of other crazy's!
The money here is so confusing, with still having to pay 1 cent for some items. Me and Stacey can't add the money up fast enough, so we both just have a whole lot of coins which we haven't used. They add tax to everything (rather than include it in the price beforehand like we do), so when we thought we were being all organised and had the correct change, they decide to add another 30 cents or something dumb to it and then it screws things up. Also tipping is another annoying American thing. We still don't know what we're meant to tip, so we don't know whether we're being stingy or generous so far!
Tomorrow we're up early again, to check out of the hostel before heading to Universal Studios for the day, and then heading back to the airport for our 10 hour flight to London. Another full on day to be had!