After a slight delay in leaving Melbourne my flight to LAX went smoothly, with the pilot able to make up time on the jet-stream, landing on schedule at 8:30am in sunny LA. After breezing through customs in about 10 minutes (so much for all of those horror stories about US Customs and Border Protection) I caught the Fly-Away Bus to Union Station then a Metro train to the corner of Hollywood & Vine. Despite feeling very ‘white’ on the Metro I have always felt quite safe and driving along the LA freeways with up to 8-lanes across all travelling in the same direction was pretty amazing to watch.
I arrived too early for check-in but was just in time to join a walking tour to the Hollywood sign. After wandering through the pricey Beachwood Canyon area we arrived at the closest point to the front of the 12m (or 40 foot as they would say over here) sign as you can legally get.
After learning a bit more about the history of the sign, I returned to USA Hostels in Hollywood and checked in before wandering along Hollywood Blvd, with it’s Hollywood Walk of Fame to the famous Grauman’s Chinese (now TCL) Theatre and met some of its stars.
The area is definitely past it’s prime, with some the of the facades and signs showing signs of a hard life. However, it is still nice to be able recognise some of them from countless Movies and TV Shows.
There are a couple of large shopping-centres in the area and I checked out some American specialty stores including Trader Joes and a CVS Pharmacy (think cross between Woolworths and Chemist Warehouse with double-stuffed Oreos hanging on the end of a gondola holding giant bottles of Aspirin or Acetominophen) before coming across Sweet! (thanks for the recommendation Sarah).
After taking a bit more of a wander along Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd (Route 66) I came across a West Coast Institution – In & Out Burger complete with the trademark crossed palm trees – and decided to cross an item off my burger bucket-list. After a 30-hour and counting day my Double-Double (Animal Style) went down a treat, though the chips were as disappointing as all of the reviews said. I then washed dinner down with a Ben & Jerry’s before calling it a day.
Tomorrow I plan on heading to Universal Studios, hopefully I can get some sleep tonight and wake up feeling a bit more human in the morning.