Our final day in the US took us back to Hollywood (to pick up some keys).
We went to:
“Ripley’s Believe it or Not” museum…..Ho hum..not worth it.
“Guinness World Records” museum…..Ho hum..not worth it.
“Hollywood Museum”…fantastic collection of memorabilia. Even after the other two disasters we still enjoyed it.
And then it was 4:30pm and the plane home left at 11:30pm so how to kill some time… We headed off to the LeBrea tar pits which were close by. The museum was closed…but we were able to go and have a look at the pit. And well, it was a bubbling black pit that smelled of fresh ashphalt. It also had a few replicas of Mastadons around the rim..not very exciting but it did kill some time.
After 10 minutes at the pit we were again stuck for something to do. So the building next door looked busy and we headed over. It ended up being the LA County Art Gallery. So we were able to spend an hour looking at a range of modern art and actually quite enjoyed ourselves.
We had a horrific meal at the restaurant next door to the tar pits (worst meal we ate in America) …not recommended. And we headed off to the airport and the long flight home.
The flight was pretty long. The baby in front cried pretty much non stop for 10 hours. I didn’t know that babies could sustain it for that long. At the end of the trip there was a wide ring of passengers just waiting for it to end. I really am just a bit grumpy about these things.
Anyway…the end of our holiday…..we will miss America.
We ate a number of excellent meals. Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas), the restaurant at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), the WaterMarc Grill (Laguna Beach) and the Hyde Street Bistro (Nob Hill, San Francisco) all stand out. I also drank a range of very drinkable Californian wine.
* We were wondered at the number of tattoo’s and tattoo parlours.
* We were impressed by the quality of the fruit and vegetables in the supermarkets
* We were amazed by the size of the shopping centres and the number of lanes on the Californian freeways.
Also many people were friendly and kind to us. Mary at the Yosemite Rose B&B made us feel most welcome. Couples we met at the baseball and in Yosemite were kind, helpful and welcoming.
Finally we had a range of unforgettable experiences:
* Got Married in Vegas with our family there
* Saw the spectacular coastline around Big Sur, the enormous Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park
* Went to the baseball and saw the ball hit out of the park
* Wore ‘Just Married’ badges around Disneyland
* Hand fed a Rhino at San Diego Zoo and had to wipe the slime off our hands
* Wandered through a live TV set and prop department at Universal Studios
So the honeymoon holiday was something we will long remember.
Old Town San Diego in the morning (a bit like Sovereign Hill, but free (and not as good)).
Hotel del Coronado for lunch. This is where the movie ‘Some Like it Hot’ was filmed and it is a spectacular hotel and beach destination. It was full of tourists like us.
In the afternoon we headed down to the Mexican border and the ‘Las Americas’ Outlet mall. We were a bit hot and tired and mainly just browsed.
Finally for dinner we had Peruvian at a restaurant in the bohemian area called La Jolla. Food was ok, I ate too much.
Tomorrow is our last day in America.
At the end of the holiday now and we are theme park Veterans. We paid extra for parking so that we could park closer to the entrance. We upgraded our tickets to the no queue options, all expensive, but we know by now that these really make the difference.
We walked in and headed straight to the Shamu (Killer Whale) show. We walked passed people looking for seats in the boondock sections and found a seat in the ‘premier’ area. (Thank you upgrade ticket). The show was great. The killer whales were impressive. The handlers had to do some pretty silly dancing and the music about love and everyone being part of one world was very cheezy. The oddest experience though was that before the show, the trainer came out and asked all ex and serving military personnel (and US Allies) to stand and then everyone clapped for the heroes.
We saw the other shows and had fun getting very very wet on the water rides. Our clothes are still soaked the next morning. We are both a bit sunburned. None of the shows had shade and in fact there was very few shaded areas in the entire park.
One of the little bits that did add to the day was the water ride. There are hoses attached to the wall and for 25 cents people watching can fire extra water at the riders on the attraction. Someone did this to us and we both had great pleasure after the ride in firing our hoses at others.
Our first day in San Diego and we explored the expanse of the San Diego zoo. It is big, there were large crowds, but there were lots of staff and even outdoor escalators. We had fun and as usual it was me (Michael) who was out of energy first and had to be dragged through the last part of the day.
We added an extra bit to the Zoo so that we could get close to a few animals. We had a lot of fun. The Rhino felt like a thick soft leather. The flamingos ate out of our hands and we were so close to a leopard.
We had dinner in the Gas-Light district, named for the gas lights that stand in the streets. We ate at ‘Chianti’ and had a fresh and authentic Italian meal. The service was yet again good and the area had a crowded happy city buzz to it.
We bought a stars homes map, but gave up on trying to read it and we took a Stars Homes Tour instead. A small open top vehicle. We were crushed in and zoomed around to various properties and hedges as the guide told us who had lived, or who currently lived behind the walls and hedges that we could see. It was actually a bit more fun than it sounds. We passed properties owned by George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, Nicolas Cage, John MacEnroe, Madonna, and properties where Orlando Bloom, Judy Garland, James Dean and Michael Jackson had lived in or died in. We got a bit of gossip and actually had quite a bit of fun.
When the tour ended, we watched the preparations for the Green Lantern Premiere at Graumans Chinese Theatre. We were ‘spewing’ that it did not coincide with our visit, but it was fun to watch them setting up the props, doing photo tests and putting out the ‘green’ carpet.
In the afternoon we drove a few hours down to San Diego. We passed another traffic jam caused by a traffic accident. We have passed quite a number of accidents on this trip.
We headed up into the Hollywood Hills for a good view of the Hollywood sign.
A bit of traffic on the roads as we drove to Venice Beach. By the time we arrived at the beaches, the weather had cooled. There was quite a cold breeze coming in off the ocean and most people were pretty rugged up.
Venice was interesting. A bit dirty, the smell of pot, and a number of strange people walking the streets. Nice place to visit, but wouldn’t want to be there at night.
Santa Monica was not at its best. It was just cold and hard to believe that anyone would be on the beach…but they were. It looked a nice area. Cleaner and nicer than Venice but the cold wind got its way and we retreated to the car.
Malibu was covered in fog. I could nearly reach up and touch it. We drove past Brad and Angelina’s house but could not see anything. Not even a security guard. Again, big wide beaches and huge car parks, but very few people on the beach.
We drove through peak hour traffic on the way back…and we wont do that again. People leave bigger gaps between the cars than they do in Melbourne, but the traffic jams go on for miles and miles.
Peruvian for dinner…pretty average and disappointing after I was looking forward to it so much. Ah well, we were pretty tired and very happy to get back to the B&B.
In the morning we headed off to Rodeo Drive - the small exclusive shopping district. It was full of tourists and someone bought a bag…. The area did make us feel underdressed and we finished the morning having a drive around the mansions in Beverly Hills.
In the afternoon we headed off to Hollywood. It was full of sex shops and tattoo parlours at one end of the street, but nice up the other end. We saw the walk of stars (at least half the people I didn’t know). We saw the famous handprints (all who I knew), we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and went to see a movie ‘X-Men’, in Graumans Chinese theatre. The movie was great and the theatre was gorgeous. We were lucky. When we booked, the girl behind the counter asked if we were tourists and then recommended a different session than we asked for, so that we could be in the main theatre.
Universal Studios was full of rides and a famous studio tour.
We upgraded to a VIP tour for the day. This gave us accesss to all rides without queuing and we were part of a small 10 person tour group all day. After the length of the queues at Disneyland we wanted to skip that experience is we could.
We took the famous Studio Tour which is famous for the special effects on the tour. We experiences the famous Jaws attack, were flooded and watched a 3D movie. All of which were gimmiky and a bit of fun.
Because of our pass we had some added extras to the usual tour. We walked around the set of the TV Show Parenthood, walked through the amazing junkyard that is the props department. We also walked through the backlot streets which was lots of fun, as our guide told us what was filmed where.
The tour finale was of course a drive down Wisteria Lane from the TV show Desperate Housewives. Most of the houses had been used before for other tv shows such as the munsters, but they were all now done up for erate Housewives.
A quick post.
We travelled from Sean and Diane’s to our B&B in Hollywood.
We drove past LAX and an amazing array of converging freeways.
We stopped at the Getty Centre. The art collection was ok, but the architecture was good, the view amazing and the lunch was delicious. Definately one we would recommend.
The B&B is spacious and pretty and we did a quick drive through Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
We just received a phonecall to tell us that our wonderful Cat and family member Oscar was hit by a car and we will not be seeing him when we return to Australia.
Jo and I drove to Warrnambool to get Oscar as a kitten. It was one of the first things we did together. Oscar cried and scratched me as we drove home. So for two years Oscar has signified the start of our relationship together. He scratched my furniture, he meowed the loudest i have ever heard a cat. He made many friends with neighbours and with guests. He loved Amy (who stayed with us) a lot and was her constant companion.
Oscar, we will miss you dearly. We will miss you kicking the dogs out of their beds and playing with your food. We will miss you but not forget you.