My first morning in LA started with me waking up at 5am wondering what time zone I was in and in need of food. We didn’t really have a plan for the day other than to explore, eat and get a feel of all things L.A. With morning views like this:
…I knew leaving this place was going to be hard. I think it’s one of the reasons I’m so attuned to waking up early, the quiet of the morning, the sun awakening us to let us live another day and the solace that comes from a morning reflection. No matter where I am, I always find myself appreciating this time of day so much.
I laid in bed thinking for an hour or so until my friend woke up and decided we should get ready for our first full day in L.A. Opting against getting an Uber first thing, we decided to walk from The Beverly Hilton to Rodeo Drive, as according to City Mapper it was only a 15 minute walk away.
We left our hotel at around 9am the weather was absolutely perfect (around 24C) with nothing but blue skies and palm trees in the distance. Having been to NYC back in February, I couldn’t help but compare the two cities from the get go (as well as how different everything was to London). It was so strange to see that L.A really wasn’t really pedestrian friendly, but I then remembered being told ‘No one walks in L.A’. Fine by me but with only a short time in the city, my favourite way to get to know it is by walking around and observing. Being hungry and jet-lagged is probably not a good combination on your first proper day of being on holiday but sometimes you just gotta suck it up and go with the flow (A first world problem I know).
We knew we were getting closer to Rodeo Drive as the stores were getting a little more luxurious. One day I’ll walk in and try something on, but for now I’ll be saying:
Rodeo Drive looked exactly how it looks in movies and TV shows… pristine, perfect and the epitome of the American dream. The only place I could compare it to would be the Mayfair area of London, notorious for its high end stores. One thing I did notice was how quiet it was for a Monday, as there were only a handful of tourists about and a few people on their way to work.
As we didn’t have a place in mind to go for breakfast, I ordered an Uber to Hollywood Boulevard. All I kept thinking was that I’d passed the audition phases of American Idol and ‘I’d made it to Hollywood’. If you’re not familiar with this show, take a look here.
Is L.A spread out or what? I couldn’t believe how far away everything was and I think it was the right decision to Uber it everywhere this trip for ease. We’d originally planned on hiring a car but I haven’t really driven much, let alone on the other side of the road. Considering the jet-lag, it made sense, plus, we wanted to indulge in a cocktail or five…
I noticed we’d arrived on Hollywood Boulevard when the pavement suddenly became filled with stars and there were lots of tourists around. Call me stupid, but I thought all the stars were in one tiny place, but after a quick Google, I soon realised how could they hold 2,500 in a small place? I also learnt it’s 1.3 miles long (yay legs) and all stars line the pavements and the blocks around it.
We took a quick pitstop to McDs where I ordered a latte and Double Sausage and Egg McMuffin to fuel myself for the morning. Whilst we were eating we then sort of decided a rough plan for the day. We’d wanted to go on the TMZ tour as it was the one that appealed to us most out of all the bus tours (Apparently you might spot a few celebs, but it isn’t guaranteed).
In typical Char fashion, I spilt my coffee down my top, so afterwards I made a detour to Forever 21 where I picked up a few t-shirts that were only $6 or $7 each. One thing I noticed about Hollywood was the amount of people around trying to sell you something or scam you. Sometimes a polite ‘No thank you’ doesn’t help, funny enough my friend I was with kept getting bothered by the guy with the mix tape. I couldn’t stop laughing as he almost ran off into the distance to get away from the guy. I still wonder how good the mix tape must have been…
The tour started at 12.15, so we had a little time to kill before getting on the bus. We grabbed a drink (well I did as my friend forgot his I.D) in the Hard Rock cafe and cooled down for a bit as the weather was starting to heat up. Not wanting to spoil the tour for you, here are a few snippets from it:
Overall, the TMZ tour was good BUT I kinda wish we got to stop off and go into some of the places they were speaking about. But I guess that would take a little longer and we were already short on time in L.A!
After we’d finished with the TMZ tour, hunger striked again and we decided to visit a popular American establishment… HOOTERS. I knew they were famous for booty shorts and buffalo wings and this is exactly what I saw when I walked in… My only regret was not buying getting a pair of shorts to take home (Not that they’d ever see the light of day). The food in Hooters was surprisingly good and I was so impressed with the amount of wing variations and sauces they had.
If I had to name one of my guilty pleasures it’d definitely be chicken wings (especially in bed).
After eating, we walked around a little more as I was sure I could see the Hollywood sign from the street… Even though I’m short-sighted, I was right:
My only regret was not bringing my digital camera to get a proper photo – the iPhone camera doesn’t do it justice. But as cheesy as it sounds – I have my memories. After this, we decided to head back to the our hotel to get ready for an L.A night out.
Not before seeing a man completely naked on Hollywood Boulevard wearing nothing but a strange expression on his face. Was it some kind of protest? I don’t know but there were plenty of people around (including us) just gawking. I’d truly seen it all. The police arrived shortly after and moved the naked guy along… Isn’t indecent exposure a crime?
This confirmed this city was wacky, weird and wonderful… all at the same time.
ANYWAY – this called for trip to the liquor store to grab a 6-pack (I sound like such a lad) so we could have a few drinks before heading out that night…