My hotel wasn’t the best in LA so I was glad to get up and go explore. My only plan for central LA was to head to Griffths park. My route involved getting the metro to Hollyood so I did the touristy thing and walked down Hollywood boulevard. I didn’t expect much as the bestie had said it was crap and as per usual he was correct. It reminded me very much of the Tottenham Court Road end of Oxford street with all of those tatty London souvenir shops. I took a few photos of the stars, Lassie, Colin Firth (ideal man) and Glenn Miller for mum. From there I walked to Griffths Park, it was only a 30 minute hike to the Observatory but by god it was hard in the sun with no shade. I was overtaken by several men running up topless, so with that and the scenery there was plenty to look at.
Once at the top I browsed around the observatory to cool down, I was too exhausted though to read and take anything in. I did spot the Tesla Coil and what looked like a sun lounger that was used to train astronauts in the space race days. The main attraction up there is the Hollywood sign so I did a lot of posing with that. In one fail of a shot I managed to block out with my head.
Later on I headed on the rapid 10 blue bus to Santa Monica. It was an experience in itself, a woman was mouthing off to no one for a full 20 minute because the day before the bus driver hadn’t stopped for her as his bus was full. I was stood right at the front, and was impressed with the technology on board, the driver received messages of traffic jams and diversions, something the UK could do with. As a lover of all things cycling, I was most impressed that bicycles are allowed on the metro system and on buses. They have these cool racks on the front of the bus that you just load it on to. London needs to get involved!
My accommodation in Santa Monica was an air bnb with a South African lady called Zizi. It was the first time I’ve ever used air bnb and I loved it. The best thing was the local knowledge and recommendations of places to eat and visit. My room was like a basement flat as I had my own entrance, door and bathroom. There were patio doors onto the garden where breakfast was served every morning. My breakfasts were wonderful, each day I had fruit and blueberry yoghurt plus a hot course which over 3 days consisted of French toast with strawberries, croissants with brie and pancakes with syrup and bacon. Amazingly I still ate lunch ever day.
My first day in Santa Monica was spent walking along the beach to the pier, posing at the Bubba Gump restaurant and exploring the centre. I finished my day by hiring a single speed beach cruiser bike and cycled along the Marvin-Braude bicycle beachside route, as far as Will Rogers beach to Venice beach. To brake I had to pedal backwards the hire man was dubious I could manage it having never ridden it before, but it was fine and I wasn’t exactly pedalling hard.
Everyone seems to rave about Venice beach so this was my destination on day 2. I wasn’t very impressed, it felt like Camden Town with all the street craft stalls. It also was a popular beach with homeless people. I did however sport James Corden filming. Stephen Gerrard randomly was there so they were exchanging numbers. The best street was Abbot Kinney which was more upmarket and from there I found the canals, which were beautiful but completely random after seeing a lot of dross. From here I jumped on to two buses to visit LACMA ( recommendation of ZIzi’s). It’s famous for the giant levitating mass when you first walk in and urban light, a collection of street lamps. However, my best piece was a huge model town that had 80 circulating hot wheels cars and trains. I’d love such a thing at my house.
After two days of a fair bit of exploring my final day was spent at the beach sun bathing and swimming in the sea, I even had a nap on the sand.
Food wise, the first night I ate on Rose avenue at Creveteca and had beef tacos, fried ice cream and several mojitos. It was full and plenty to look at, so I wasn’t fazed that I was sat on my own. The second evening I went into town to Hillstone and had a massive rib steak, my waiter recommended the Bungalow at The Fairmont for drinks, so thats where I headed and had several cocktails and gin and tonics. It was like a massive beach hut with lots of different rooms. My the third night after all my massive breakfasts and dinners all I fancied was chicken wings, so I went to kyochon in Korea town, as it’s all they sell. I had 4 honey and 4 soy and garlic, the latter were amazing, I don’t think I’ve had such a good chicken wing. On my final day I just had a massive lunch, as I was at the beach seafood seemed appropriate so I headed to the entrepreneurs fish company and had grilled prawns, which were beautiful. As you might be able to tell Harada likes her food, though I’m sure my dad remembers a time when I was a picky eater.