Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The LA reprise: Hollywood, Take Two

And so, I made it to Los Angeles, once again, two years on - strange in some ways, that I was back there the same day I left there, two years later. But anyway - I had decided, like always, as much as I wasn't ready to head home, that I should make the best of the situation, so had 3 days booked for LA.

My plane got in at about 6pm local time, and I got a shuttle to my hostel (Banana Bungalow) on Hollywood Boulevard. Once I got there, I was absolutely stuffed, after a long flight, with a little bit of sleep, but not a great amount. After acquiring and making my bed for the night, the next thing to do was to secure some dinner before retiring. I took the opportunity to have a walk around the locality and survey the options, in the end settling on a Philly Cheese steak roll - something I'd discovered the last time I was there.After a good sleep, I found myself awake at about 6am, so I had a shower etc, and went and had a talk to one of the staff for ideas on things to see, and locations of the various things I wanted to do. On the flight trip I had made a bit of a list of must-dos, based on things I had enjoyed last time, things I missed last time, and things I hadn't really thought about last time.Number one on the list was cheese in an aerosol can (pictured above) which I found at a supermarket. I have to say it wasn't an experience worth repeating, its pretty much the same as spreadable cheese. Also at the supermarket I spotted cookie dough in wrapping similar to luncheon sausage, and picked up some small tubs of ice cream - one cookie dough flavoured, the other peanut butter.

After returning to the hostel, chilling a little bit, and doing some planning and investigating, I went for a walk to a nearby Taco Bell - which was another definite thing I had wanted to do. Following this I then walked to the Planetarium/Observatory (pictured below) you may recognise it from such films as "Yes Man" and "Rebel Without a Cause". It was a bit of a hike, but worth it - I got there just on sunset, so got to enjoy the view in both light and dark. On the walk up, I think I may have seen the actress who played 'Darlene' on Roseanne - Sara Gilbert. The observatory didn't shut until 10pm, so I spent a decent while there, although a good portion of that time was waiting in line for a telescope. The show at the planetarium was good - I think the only other time I'd been to such a show was in Yokkaichi in Japan, which of course was not in English.Once that was all done however, I had the mission of walking back to my hostel, which couldn't be done the way I came along the track in in the park, so I had to walk along the side of the road down the Hollywood hills - in some parts there was no lighting, and/or footpath. Eventually I made it back, and had a well deserved dinner of the below - basically a burger and chips, with chili con carne on both.The following day (Sunday) I headed to Universal Studios - as it was only a short walk and two Metro stops from my hostel. (In case you are wondering why not Disneyland, it's because that's in Anaheim, which isn't particularly close to anywhere) The previous day I had looked at the website and discovered for the price of a day pass, I actually got the second day free - so I decided that was worth taking advantage of.The above photo is of the roof of the Hollywood & Vine Metro Station. I made it to Universal Studios, the first thing I did was get some breakfast, I think this time it was Subway - a Pesto Chicken sub, which I don't think I've seen elsewhere. Following this I had a brief look at the shops, but wasn't particularly interested. I went on a lot of the rides, in the end (after the second day) I think there was only two I hadn't been on, but wasn't fussed as they involved big drops and I'm getting a bit old for that... I found it interesting, especially as I was comparing it to my experience of Universal Studios Japan. I think the biggest difference was less characters - i.e. it wasn't all cute-sy and trying to be like Disneyland - which if you wanted that experience, you could go to the real thing. This meant also there was no Hello Kitty and friends. The other thing was also it did show how movies were made, which was good. For the next few photos I'll just captionise. Marilyn Munroe, made out of lollies, at the lolly shop. The Pit Bull Hoverboard - from Back to the Future II Apollo 13Shrek Thought this was rather humorous.The Nissan Skyline from 2Fast 2Furious.

At closing time, I went grabbed dinner at the Taco Bell on the Universal Studios campus.

The next day I organised my gear, checked out, and went to the La Brea Tarpits. I'd had a look on Google maps, and decided the best way was to catch the Metro south, and then walk West, but it turns out I misjudged the distance I had to walk, so it took about two hours - however, on the bright side, I got to enjoy a breakfast of McGriddles (see other entries).Basically the La Brea Tarpits are pits of tar, that managed to trap numerous animals over 1000's of years, and preserved their skeletons well - so in the museum you can see skeletons from Woolly Mammoths and Sabre-Toothed Tigers etc. Cool stuff. Next door was the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) - I didn't go in, however took a photo of this outside as it looks pretty cool.So from there I went to a local IHOP (International House of Pancakes) - basically all you can eat pancakes for US$4, and then bused it to Hollywood Boulevard again, and caught the Metro back to Universal Studios to finish off seeing stuff there. Once I finished there, I headed to the airport. No dramas, although they got me to check in my hand luggage (i.e. have it put in the hold) as it was obviously heavier than usual, which worked OK for me, as it didn't cost me anything. Eventually we were let onto the plane, and I had about a 5 hour sleep.

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