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Sunday 22 Sep 2013
Los Angeles, USA

"Welcome to Hollywood. You got a dream? Everyone come to Hollywood's gotta dream!"

We made the most of our Hollywood location by doing the full tourist thing.  We had brunch in a great traditional diner called Mel’s Drive-in, which came complete with 1950’s décor and jukeboxes on each table. Their milkshakes were delicious but they were so thick you needed an industrial suction pump to get them up the straw! Then we took lots of photos on the Walk of Fame, had a photo with Superman, went to the Hard Rock Café, bought a plastic clapperboard and went celebrity-home-spotting in Beverly Hills and Bel Air. 

 

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The bus tour was a fun way to see the sights but we weren’t quite sure what we’d let ourselves in for when one of the ticket sellers got on and started an improvised comedy show, picking on each person on the bus.  He was loud and crude and proceeded to hijack the bus when he discovered two Canadians on the bus were basketball players in LA to film a basketball video.  He couldn’t believe that ‘white dudes’ could dunk, so insisted the bus drove up the block to a basketball court to prove it.  The park was locked and nobody had a ball, so he had to let us go back to the tour instead.  Thankfully, he wasn’t our actual guide and he left us to it. 

 

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The tour took us around the Hollywood film location sights – including the high school where Glee is filmed and the East Coast version of the White House – and then up into the hills.  We stopped at a lookout on Mulholland Drive to get our photos across the valley to the Hollywood sign.  

From there, it became a celebrity architecture tour as our guide pointed out some beautiful homes in Beverly Hills and Bel Air that may or may not have belonged to the likes of Bruno Mars, Jennifer Lopez, Quentin Tarantino, Katy Perry, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Bieber, Channing Tatum, Pricilla Presley, David and Victoria Beckham and even the house that Michael Jackson died in (complete with Chinese tourist posing with peace fingers outside).  He also showed us some of the huge old estates belonging to the ‘old money’ families.  Most of the houses had huge gates and trees to offer some privacy, which is understandable given the number of tour buses like ours that do the rounds.  Neither of us had realized quite how much of the tour was going to be spent celebrity-home-spotting and I felt a bit guilty for encouraging this invasion of privacy. But then again, had Channing Tatum decided to walk out of his front door at that moment, I don’t think I would have minded too much…

 

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We headed back down into the city along Rodeo Drive. Apparently none of the shops there actually turn a profit because nobody goes there to shop, just to gawk through the windows and wish for an Edward Lewis to wave his credit cards for them (“You work on commission, right? Big mistake… huge!”)

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We carried on through West Hollywood and its celebrity nightclubs, including Johnny Depp’s Viper Room and the convenience store next door where Joaquin Phoenix called the ambulance, as his brother, River, lay collapsed on the pavement outside.  My 14-year-old self laid a mental rose on the spot as we passed. Hard to believe that was 20 years ago next month.  He was my generation's Heath Ledger or Cory Monteith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We picked up our car and headed out of Hollywood around 5pm and drove across town towards San Bernardino and our motel just on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park.  We stopped for dinner at Denny’s, ticking off another American classic.  I ordered nachos and received a monumental portion.  I ate until I was full but the plate barely looked touched.  Mental note: do not try and keep up with American portions or I’ll be the size of a house by the time I finish this road trip.  The sun had set and I did the last hour of the drive in the dark.  As we came over the crest of a hill, we were greeted with the biggest harvest moon I’ve ever seen.  It hung like a giant copper penny just above the horizon and seemed to dwarf everything below it.  It was a few days after the full moon, but it was just beautiful. A perfect ending to a great first day.

 

Mileage: 149

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Zoe's Big World Adventure Part II - #1 America

Travel blog by zobeedoo

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Here I go again! After the incredible experiences of my first Big World Adventure, I'm off again for part two, starting with a classic American Road Trip through California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona...

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    Los Angeles

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    Los Angeles

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    Los Angeles

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    Los Angeles

    USA

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