Blog2005 ≫ Los Angeles

So, we sadly had to leave Santa Barbara, and we drove on down to LA... Was a bit intimidated at the thought of driving in LA, I've only driven London once or twice before and that was a long time ago, mostly I've only done gentle village roads. The journey there was no problem, only had to swerve across lanes once, when we pulled into Santa Monica. Dumped the car at a hotel there ($5 a day for parking) and walked along 3rd, as our Lonely Planet Guide to California1 told us it was good. It's rubbish! Don't bother. One really bad thing about it that is haunting Clare to this day is a man in the street dressed as a clown. He wasn't entertaining anyone, no-one was even paying attention to him, he was just stood there looking really sad. Man, I'm welling up again just thinking about this poor guy! Anyway, Santa Monica, don't bother... We ate some rubbish food, got some pictures developed, and skedaddled.

The drive from Santa Monica to Hollywood was alright too, it's nice and easy driving around the cities, much easier than I expected. The only tricky bit I found (and it caught me out a few times) was the turn from Highland Avenue into our hotel, the Holiday Inn. That road is 8 lanes across, and unless you're coming straight off the freeway you have to pull right across some pretty fierce traffic. I messed this up a few times, queues of beeping Hummers behind me, and also messed up by NOT trying pull across it, ended up back on the freeway and had to drive up a junction and back again.

Next thing to piss me off, even though I knew about it in advance, was the $17 a day charge to leave the car at our hotel - is there cheap parking in Hollywood?

Stay tuned for not much, more pubs and darts, and near misses with Oasis, Sons and Daughters and Johnny Depp. No otters.

Hmm, didn't enjoy LA so much and can't be bothered to update this with much more. We went to Universal Studios, which felt very 80s... the Back to the Future2 ride is still their top attraction, along with the Terminator stage show. Opening soon, rides based on Ferris Bueller's Day Off1, The Breakfast Club1, and Dirty Dancing1! Probably! One tip about going to Universal (other than don't, unless you are a child), ignore crooked hotel receptionists who tell you that the best way to do it is to book a coach trip through them. I think they were going to charge us something like $30 on top of the entry ticket price for the return coach ride - we looked into it and got a tube there and back for about $2 instead.

We drove up to Griffith Observatory but missed Johnny Depp doing his handprints? We went to a huge mall in the posh bit too, that was also rubbish, and we went down the street that's in Pretty Woman, also not very interesting. We nearly went to see Sons and Daughters, but couldn't quite be bothered. We did try to see Oasis, as our hotel was next door to the Hollywood Bowl3, but the Ticketmaster telephone thing couldn't understand my accent, and when I got through to a real operater he said there was no such venue as the Hollywood Bowl4. Mostly we went to The Cat and Fiddle5, an English style pub, and played darts. It was good there, it was like a pub at home, but with everyone lounging around holiday style, and looking like tanned roadies. Apparently it's Morrissey's favourite pub in LA, but we didn't see him, or even find this out until we got back.

Probably just started to get the hang of LA when it was time to come home.

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Paul Clarke's weblog - I live in A small town. Wed to Clare and father to two, I am a full-stack web engineer, and I do js / Node, some ruby, python, php ect ect. I like pubs, running, eating, home-automation + other diy jiggery-pokery, history, tree stuff, TV, squirrels, pirates, lego, + TIME TRAVEL.