Arriving in America
24.04.2011 - 27.05.2011 26 °C
The flight over was about 12 hours. It wasn't too bad, slept for part of it and for the rest I watched the films and TV shows they had available. Arriving in America on time at about 2.30pm, it took a long time to get through security checks. It wasn't that there was a lot of security, none more then New Zealand, they just weren't very fast in getting people through. Once I was through I just had to find the shuttle bus to take me to the hostel.
The journey to the hostel was a relatively long one, LA is a huge city, due to it being so spread out separated into a number of different regions. I'm staying in the Hollywood area, and driving through LA to get there it seemed to mainly be a town of concrete and palm trees. Eventually got to the hostel and got checked in. The hostel itself seems a nice place, quite expensive but in a fairly good area.
Went out looking for food as I had none, despite probably being slightly jet lagged. Got a map from the hostel and was directed to a place round the corner. A few seconds round the corner from the hostel and I’m on Hollywood boulevard, directly on the walk of fame which runs down both sides of the entire boulevard and even down some side streets. Rows of stars line the street, naming people nominated in 5 categories, film, TV, radio, theatre and music. I didn't recognise most of them, but now and again I did.
Got to the food shop (or grocery store as I should call it) and found it was closed early due to it being Easter. For the same reason no where else was open so I had no food. Luckily I found a subway and got a sandwich. Didn't walk much more after that, just went back and settled into the hostel.
Woke to the hostels free breakfast, which is basically all you can eat pancakes (if you make them yourself). The problem was in making them myself, but I managed, not that I can really stomach pancakes in the morning. Spent the day walking around. Walked down Hollywood blvd and took in all the touristy sites. There's the Chinese and Kodak theatres, the former has the hand and foot prints of various famous people engraved into concrete out the front. There's also the previously mentioned walk of fame stars, which causes everyone to look at the floor/take photos and get in each others way, myself included. Eventually found a food shop and stocked up.
It turns out LA is very sunny and hot, not a cloud to be seen. Walked back via sunset blvd. The whole area is full of tourists and is generally a very busy place.
Managed to get some money back from the hostel which helped, though I did nothing to warrant this. The dorm room had its own bathroom, the lock of which broke and a guy got stuck in there. They eventually got him out the window and offered money back off that night as the bathrrom couldn't be used, and even a free barbecue, unfortunately I wont be here for that.
Took a tour with the hostel where a few of us went up to the Hollywood sign. We got a bus out of the busy city area and then had to walk for a while up hill, which was easier said then done in this heat. Eventually made it and got some good photos. There's an extra long trail you can take to get right to the top, but I didn't do that. You can't get right up next to it as its not allowed after people have vandalised it over the years or tried to change what it says by blocking out letters. Also got a good view of down town LA. Later in the day I just walked around again getting a few more photos. Luckily I had a map and knew where I was going, but if you walk for too long in the wrong direction you can easily end up in the dodgy area of town. Not safe to be alone there. But there's generally plenty of homeless people asking for money, or just some strange looking people who you'd cross the street to avoid, addicts of one thing or another. Not that its that dangerous, I was fine by myself. However to see the whole of LA you need a car.
Filled up on ok-ish pancakes and checked out the hostel. Waited around for a while before going to get my first Greyhound bus up to San Francisco. I was slightly apprehensive given a less then glowing reputation of their buses. As it turned out the bus wasn't great. To begin with the air conditioning on the bus wasn't working and this is a problem coming out of a very hot LA. The driver opened the roof hatches which atleast created a breeze. It was a long 8 hours. The bus was practically full of Mexicans, which was different given their low population in England.