Malibu, Hollywood, 34 hour train & Vancouver
08.03.2010 - 25.03.2010 25 °C
They took away my tiger balm Grrrrr
so hello there, how's it going? Almost at an end now boooo and hissss
I arrived at LAX in Los Angeles after a mega 3 flight, 4 countries and 2 days twice from Auckland to Tonga where I met 2 ladies who were off to meet Princess Anne then to Samoa where customs took away my lighter, tiger balm, face moisturiser, deoderant and perfume all because the next stop was america. No other country that I've been to have cared if my under 100ml liquids were in a plastic bag or not, just the USA. I still managed to get my lip gloss and lip balm and other lighter through and would you believe, nothing untoward happened, imagine that... anyway, rant over.
I sat next to a guy that looked like Johnny Depp's younger brother which was nice, he even had a sense of humour which is just as well as I was laughing out load at a Bill Bailey programme about the orchestra for an hour, very funny. I had ordered a GF meal for all the flights which was going well till dinner time. Everyone was getting a big tray with lots of dishes on it and I began to wonder where mine was so I asked the air hostess, trolly dolly, steward or whatever the PC is these days and she went to have a look... came back with a kiwi fruit and a banana. That was it, 10 hours on a flight and nothing to eat but a banana and a kiwi fruit, not even a knife or spoon to open the kiwi. I got breakfast later which was ok except the GF sausage tasted like it was made of sawdust held together with camel spit and polyfiller.
Marie, my friend Sally's mum, picked me up from the airport in LA holding an emailed photo of me on her phone and took me to her house in Malibu. I was totally spoiled for the 5 days I was there, they're such a wonderful family. On the way to her house were signs at the side of the road that said 'Drunk Driver, call 911' I'm not sure if that for the passanger, for the driver, or for others on the road. 'excuse me driver, are you drunk?' 'yesh' 'right, I'm calling 911'.
The beaches in Malibu are beautiful. Where Marie and Jim live is about a 2 min walk down a hill, across the road and you're on the beach. Marie let me use her car and I drove to Hollywood up Sunset Boulavard, passed Rodeo Drive (baby) through Beverley Hills, Bel Air and into Hollywood. It was wicked, the car is automatic so you just sit there. I got a bit lost a couple of times (on a straight road I hasten to add) but got there and parked up. Hollywood is so removed from reality it's brilliant. I got my photo taken with Elvis, Elmo, Zorro, a dirty looking Shrek and Catwoman. They all stand outside the Chinese Theatre where all the hand prints are and you give them a dollar for a photo. I also saw michael jackson who had obviously had work done to complete his look, darth vadar who was seriously tall and just kind of wafted down the street with a stormtrooper by his side. I didn't manage to get a photo with him tho unfortunately. I took pictures of the Hollywood sign, was asked out on three dates by three random men in the street, a wannabe hip hop star who failed to sell me his CD so offered me a night out cos he'd never had a scottish gilr before, a guy called Henry who wanted me to go on his tour then suggested dinner and a movie and finally Elvis bless him, I don't actually think they were interested in me, just my wallet. I also had a song sung about me by a guy on the guitar for a dollar, it was really funny. Ordered a soya macchiato in starbucks and got given real milk so they made me another one and I gave the first one to a surprised looking homeless person. I'm sure he would have preferred the money really.
They have many museums in Hollywood, I went into the max factor one which was class, so much stuff and lots of it really up to date. Clothes and props from films in the cinema now like the Twilight saga although thier clothes are a bit boring really... When I got to the top floor there was a young couple sharing a seat infront of a glass cabinet watching the new Star Trek film which I thought was a bit bizarre but why not..?
On the way back out of Hollywood I passed a place called In and Out Burger. I'd been told to rty it but due to my stomach I'm guessing it really would have been In and Out.. I also passed Fat Burger who were doing a 2 for 1 deal for $2.99, no wonder there's an obesity problem in the states, it's cheaper to buy fast food than go to the supermarket.
Marie took me to the Getty Museum on top of a hill. It was fabulous. I really enjoyed the paintings and the photography section but the building, gardens and the location make it quite spectacular. You can see for miles, all the way from Malibu, across orange county and into down town LA. We got there on the famous highway 110 or was it the 104? I can't remember now, thought I'd written it down but I didn't, why doesn't that surprise me. Anyhoo, the museum is free but you have to pay for parking then get on a wee train up to the top. I really loved it and would definately go back. You can take pics of the paintings but not the photos, something to do with copyright. It's obviously easier to pass off a photo as your own than a painting from the 18th century... I went a bit mad in the gift shop and could have gone supermarket sweep crazy, in the aisles if I hadn't have been short on cash at that point in the game, so many things in there, really interesting and different kinds of gifts and books and prints and odities. I said cheerio to Jim and Marie at the train station and went off to Vancouver. Marie had very kindly packed 2 shopping bags with everything I would need for my 34 hour trip from dark chocolate to sandwiches, crisps water and bottle of beaujolais - very nice indeed. They also sorted me out with a mobile in case I needed any kindof help I could call them, how nice is that?? Shame it didnt work, AT&T were useless, they guy Jim spoke to didn't even know where LA was, hadn't even heard of it. It's not like he was in some call centre in outer mongolia either, he was in Texas!! madness.
The train ride was fabulous. The seat was massive, I got a pillow, a wee bottle of water and a snack pack which I donated to a wee girl sat in front of me and settled in. The views were amazing, from beaches and coastline to snow and trees and mountains, I would recommend it to anyone. Much better than flying even if it was 30 hours extra... I also saw a man smoking crack under a bridge in a place called Riverside and wonder if thats the place that song is from... "Riverside Motherbeeeeeper" There was a guy on the train sat opposite me who waffled absolute tosh on his mobile most of the way to Seattle, I've never heard such flirtatious drivvel in all my life. By the looks of him the girls he was talking to had never clapped eyes on him before unless they like a bit of homeless chic... Anyway, I had 2 seats to myself most of the way then was joined by a gothic girl who lay down and didnt move for 4 hours, she was very pale indeed. I tried to talk to her but she just looked at me as if I was mental and shut her eyes.
We got to Seattle on time after making up the 2 hours we'd lost due to some fault with the train and I got on a bus to Vancouver. We got to the border about an hour later and through passport control. The woman who stamped my passport was very excited about all my stamps and I decided there and then that I would like Canada and I did.
My friend from school who I hadn't seen for about 14 years came to pick me up from the station which was bizarre, much like when I met up with Jeni in Melbourne. Back to his and a cup of tea and off to sleep, it was about 1am after all... The next day he took me to see some totem poles and the beach, it was a damp day so very atmospheric. I then met my friends girlfriend who is a calanetics master, they're well into it in Vancouver, I didn't join any classes tho... The olympics had just finished by the time I got there but the para olympics was still on, how amazing are those people?? Blind cross country skiing for one, thats just fantastic!! I went shopping with Linda and to the Olympic torch which was amazing, loved it, you can feel the heat coming off the flames, it was ace. She also took me this shop which was selling olympic souvineers in a sale, the main thing everyone was after were red mittens. You were only allowed to buy 12 pairs at a time!! 12 pairs?? madness, only kids ones left when we went. The news were showing the madness of people fighting over them when they were taken out of the box, crazy people. In town they have an outdoor ice rink going on and a death slide from the centre to the museum over the crowds, I thought it was pretty cool, didn't go on it tho, massive queue..
Vancouver is also well into ice hockey, the whole city goes mad for the canucks. I'd love to have gone to see a game but the tickets are seriously expensive. I just wanted to see a fight really hehe
Vancouver has an amazing food market down by the water, the fruit and veg is gorgeous and the cheese counter was unbelievable. I'd move there just for the market and the blossom on the trees in Spring, very beautiful indeed. We walked upto Elizabeth park on top of a hill. We could see America from there, this huge big mountain covered in snow looked like it was floating.
I loved Vancouver and was so nice to see my friend again after so many years, had a right laugh!! We got the train to the airport for my Air Alaska flight and found myself back in the USA before I'd even left Canada which was odd. The flight was good tho. Spent the next 5 hours I think it was mooching about LAX waiting for my flight to London Booooooooo Once I'd checked in my bags were scanned about a trillion times before I said cheerio to them and headed for the gate.
Next stop London.... sob sob