ALYSSA IN THE U.S.A. (part 6): LOS ANGELES

This seven-part series is getting ridiculously drawn out. HOWEVER, if you’re you, and you’re interested in reading about the ups and downs of doing Los Angeles in a day and a half, read on my friend:

The first day:

First drive through the desert, Vegas to L.A. style. The trip was almost four hours long, but the unfamiliar views out the car window of strange cacti, red sand, one-store towns and rocky mountains for miles made it all the more an adventure. In the last hour of the drive, the mountains began to look greener, and our whole surroundings started to transform.

We stayed in a boutique hotel in West Hollywood. From the moment you stepped in, you got the sense that it was young, hipster, and “very L.A.” Colin, the concierge, remembered us every time we came down to the lobby, told us we could check-in wherever we liked (standing, over on the couch, over there on the chairs-that-double-as-art-pieces). He gave us plenty of tips on getting around (everyone in Los Angeles uses Uber, of course) and, if I’m remembering right, everything in the mini bar was free. WHEN DOES THAT EVER HAPPEN?

We didn’t want to waste the evening, so we went to Madame Tussaud’s (this is where I ‘discovered’ that I look extremely out of place standing with no makeup next to a flawless wax replica of Rihanna or Beyonce), and in the process saw the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Chinese Theatre.

The second day:

Our one and only full day in Los Angeles we spent exploring as far and wide as we could get. That morning, we took an L.A. City Tour open-air bus to see Hollywood Boulevard, Beverly Hills, snatch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign (from afar, way afar), celebrity homes, Bel Air and Rodeo Drive. The Hollywood hills were good to see, but the area wasn’t as impressive or immaculate as we’d expected it to be. I guess it’s a different story past the gates of those “exclusive communities” that are for A-list residents only. Plus, the day was grey and windy, so not the best.

Later, we got an Uber driver named Mehdi (from France, he loves L.A.) to take us down to Santa Monica. So much nicer for tourists — we wish we’d spent all our time here. The sun was finally out and the open mall and beach gave the area a more friendly and relaxed atmosphere. We had lunch outside at George’s Bistro in 3rd Street Promenade. Everything was perfect, people were strolling by and shopping. A busker played the trumpet in the street. After lunch, did some shopping in the promenade. Walked along Santa Monica Pier, and then up the footpath to Venice Beach. It was like walking from Family Friendly Zone with a beachside carnival towards Alternative Adult Zone, where everything was a bit more – for lack of a better word – grungy? I don’t know how I’d describe it.

We passed Muscle Beach on the walk there and back! Then it was back to the hotel to find some dinner and pack for our final destination: Hawaii!

 

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