Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hollywood, Los Angeles - Part 1

Well, we are finally here. The airport side of things went very smoothly, even if I was carrying a kilo of premium manuka New Zealand honey and 4 packets of Tim Tams (for Barry in SF) - Obama really needs to move on the free trade Tim Tam agreement and quickly.

First thoughts - this place is frickin huge! LA loves the car - one third of the city is road/freeway. And they all drive on the right side of the road which takes the brain a few days to adjust to (especially when crossing).

The journey from the airport to our hotel in Hollywood took 45 minutes via shuttle van and was one of many contrasts. As we travelled through the Hispanic area, the first thing I really noticed was how dirty it all seemed, with rubbish strewn about. There were people everywhere and hawkers trying to sell water and ice blocks to people waiting at traffic lights.

Once we got closer to Hollywood, you immediately notice how the rubbish seems to magically disappear and everything looks that much tidier.

We made it to our hotel, checked in the luggage and headed off to the mall for a looksie. We are staying a five minute walk from the Kodak theatre (where the Academy Awards are held) and the mall is all glitz, little class.

What we saw:

  • Plenty of people dressed up like the Incredibles, The Hulk, Elmo, Big Bird, Captain Jack Sparrow, Kung Fu Panda etc - all great for photo opportunities if you give them a dollar
  • A buy two cigars get one free voucher in a subway type sandwich bar
  • Amazing shoes and clothes in the shop windows (Lizzy, you'd be in heaven)
  • Not everyone here is supersized...
  • Some really good jalapeno poppers - these are jalapeno peppers, stuffed with cheese and deep fried...mmm, very yummy although I can feel my arteries stiffening already
  • The Hollywood walk of fame with all the stars - I nearly slipped on Britney
  • Hollywood sign up on the hill
  • A store with a Madonna merchandise shrine (Jamas, your turn to be in heaven!)
We're about to head out the door to check out the farmers market and do the hop on/hop off tour around Hollywood - photos to follow later today.

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