After the first leg of our Honeymoon in New York, we flew to Los Angeles. The security officials in USA seem a lot less patient than anywhere else in the world, which, I guess, is their job. I was a bit wary of flying in America because I was carrying sharps (needles and syringes) and hadn’t flown since I’d been prescribed them. I had a Consultant letter with me explaining about Adrenal Insufficiency specifically for security at airports, but I was still worried. Turned out I needn’t have been since the officer was far more bothered by the poppers on my trouser pockets than she was by the needles. We had a long wait at the airport as our flight was delayed, but it actually didn’t set us back too much time in the end.
Once we landed in LA, we headed towards the car rental place. From this point on, we would be driving around California following an itinerary we’d chosen but our travel agent had booked. It was a pretty ridiculous system involving long queues and a disinterested sales advisor. Our travel company had messed up, inventing their own class of car, but still having charged us for it, so my husband was pretty annoyed. The sales advisor kept telling us to pay for the upgrade, which we’d already paid for in the UK, so we didn’t want to pay twice. It was only about 5pm in LA, but it was the middle of the night in the UK, so we couldn’t ring and ask them to fix it. We gave up arguing and decided we’d come back the next day to fix it and just take whichever car flashed when we pushed the remote button in the parking lot outside. But, with a bit of discussion with the guys allocating the cars and playing the ‘it’s our honeymoon’ card, they gave us a Mustang- my husband perked up at this point, I didn’t care as long as it had aircon! They actually didn’t seem to mind, lots of people couldn’t find the car they needed so they’d just give them another one.
Photo: our hire car in Calico. I was made to get out of the car for this photo because I ‘ruined the lines in the shot’ (apparently)…
LA traffic is about as good as Birmingham traffic- terrible. Plus, the sat nav (GPS to use the American term) decided to take us somewhere bizarre, so we had a backwards tour of LA. Eventually we found our hotel, not helped by the fact that our travel documents said ‘Crowne Plaza’ but the address kept taking us to a ‘Marriott’ hotel. It turned out that they’d been bought out a couple of months before, but we were feeling a bit annoyed at our travel company by now! I liked the fact that there were lots of palm trees everywhere, it definitely felt like we were somewhere exotic! We had a quick tea and went to sleep.
Photo: Hollywood Boulevard
The next morning, we got up and drove one block (LA people drive everywhere our hotel told us) and had breakfast in a cafe out in the sun, which was lovely. Then we drove a bit further to Hollywood Boulevard and looked at the Walk of Fame, where we also got a glimpse of the Hollywood sign. Already it was hotter than New York, about 33-35 degrees. The Walk of Fame is actually pretty dirty, probably due to sheer volume of foot traffic, but in fact, most of the LA we saw was pretty dirty and not particularly well kept- not quite as glamorous as film and TV make out. A few businesses have multi purposes to them e.g we saw a car rental/ psychic/ Thai massage shop, which just seemed a bit strange! We saw some of the Hollywood stars (the ones on the floor, not actual celebrities), but didn’t walk all the way along it because we’d have been there all day and it’s actually quite hard looking at the floor and walking all the time. Off the Boulevard is the Chinese Theatre, which we had a quick look at. There’s a lot of history here and handprints and signatures of previous performers are embedded in the concrete. We also found this shop, which I loved, and my husband hated:
And a shop full of awards!
We decided it was too hot for the beach, we were both struggling to adjust to the temperature, so headed straight for Glendale Galleria mall. Plus I wanted to go to a ‘real American’ mall and do some shopping! After some noodles for lunch, we went to Macy’s and Bloomingdales and had a look at the Apple flagship store. The sales assistants are really friendly and don’t look scathingly down at you for wearing shorts and t-shirts like they would in the UK. In fact, they actually wanted to help us, which you don’t find very often in the UK, so it was a nice change! I wasn’t remotely trendy enough for LA, but lots seemed to wear all black and trainers, so I fitted in in that respect.
We saw a Cheesecake Factory and decided that it would be a good choice for dinner, since we were ‘close’ to Pasadena and it being associated with the Big Bang Theory. Our server finished shift part way through our meal but made a point of introducing our new server to us- they deserve all the tips they get. The meal was huge so we shared a mango key like cheesecake, which was amazing.
For the evening, we decided to go to the Griffith Observatory for views over the city and the Hollywood sign. There was some major event at the Greek Theatre, which was nearby, so the traffic was crazy driving up to it. The views were good, and the sunset was one of the best they’d had for a while. The observatory holds the Zeiss telescope, which they’d managed to train on Saturn, and we were able to see. My husband finds astronomy interesting, which suited him well, and I was quite content sitting and watching the sunset and the views while queueing for the telescope, listening to the guide explain about the stars above us. They did a great job of keeping everyone interested, and we learnt a lot about the city- did you know the Hollywood Sign wasn’t put there for glamorous, film purposes originally, but more for real estate?
Photos above and below: Sunset over the Hollywood Sign
Photo: Night sky over LA from the Griffith Observatory
On the last morning, we got up and drove a block to a different cafe to have breakfast. I had granola and yoghurt and fruit, which was amazing- breakfasts in the States are so much better and healthier than at home. Back in LA traffic, we hoped the sat nav would actually get us to Las Vegas and set the route. Being able to drive in any lane was taking some getting used to, and the road surfaces are terrible, but we were excited to be moving on to the next part.
Photos were all taken by my husband.