Paula and I are here in Los Angeles, on our way to an Affiliate Conference in Las Vegas. Landing in LA this time (2008) is so much different from the last time, when we were on our way to New York. The flight from Hawaii is, of course, a domestic flight within the US so as we had already been through customs we didn’t have to repeat the process.
I don’t find the LA airport to be very user friendly. We collected our bags and made our way outside to find a shuttle bus. This proved to be somewhat challenging as the signage is almost non-existant. We finally found where the shuttle buses leave from and had a short wait for the shuttle to arrive. The charge to Hollywood was $15.00 per person plus the customary $1.00 per bag tip.
The drive from the airport to Hollywood took over 1 1/2 hours. The driver and one of the other passengers had a heated discussion as to whether or not she was on the right bus, and then we went to the wrong address. This only aggravated the situation between them even more. So bus ride and a show for $15 was cheap entertainment.
- Paula told me not to expect too much of the hotel as it is only a 2 star, but when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised. The hotel is the “Hollywood Celebrity Hotel” in Orchid Ave just behind Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. So it’s nice and handy to the things we want to see.
- Check in was quick and easy and the room has 2 queen sized beds in a large room with a walk in robe and a kitchen. So we have everything we need, on hand, including tea and coffee provided just outside the door. Breakfast is also included in the price of the room.
- We do the customary and drop off our bags and then head out to survey the surroundings.
- Then we wander off down the road and around the corner not knowing where we are actually going as we haven’t picked up a map yet.
- Not far from the hotel, we come across the Hollywood and Highland Centre. There are lots of people taking photographs so we head off up the stairs to see what the big attraction is – and there high on the hill in the distance is the HOLLYWOOD sign. Well this is exciting, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be standing here seeing this.
- So naturally, we join all the rest of the tourists and take the opportunity to photograph the sign and surrounding area.
- The next thing is to take a quick look around the Hollywood and Highlands centre, just to get our bearings before heading down to Hollywood Boulevarde. The centre has a large variety of shops, a bowling alley and Madame Tussauds Hollywood.
- But the most striking feature are the Gates of Babylon and the Elephants perched high on columns. These were replicated from the set of the silent movie ‘Intolerance’ which featured four stories set in the city of ancient Babylon. The movie was a flop and there was no money left in the budget to dismantle the set. Just as well as it’s a great tourist attraction now.
- The first place we come to is Graumann’s Chinese Theatre so we stop to check out the stars signatures, footprints and handprints. It’s a lot of fun mingling with everyone else checking out our favourite film stars as well as stars from the past such as Ethel Merman, Shirley Temple, Rock Hudson and Clarke Gable etc.
- This is interesting, most of the main street is blocked off as they are setting up for the 80th Oscars on the 24th Feb.
- The weather has been overcast for most of the day and it started to rain, gently at first but then it started to become quite heavy. Everything is dripping wet, including us as we weren’t prepared for rainy weather.
- Unfortunately, we will be in Las Vegas on the day of the Oscars, but it was great seeing everything being set up for the event. We did get to walk on the red carpet, although it was covered over, and we saw the lighting and sound systems being assembled.
- By now the time was getting on and we were feeling a bit peckish. There are so many places to eat and we settled on “Johnny Rocket’s” hamburger bar. Excellent atmosphere and the food is reasonably priced and just fantastic.
- To start with I had a Hersey’s chocolate shake and Paula had a Strawberry shake, this was followed by a Double Cheese and Bacon burger and Route 66 hamburger with a side serve of fries and deep fried onions. The resulting meal was very tasty and filling.
The rain had well and truly settled in so it was back to the hotel. We have been up since 5am this morning and after a 5 hour flight and a 1 1/2 hour drive around Los Angeles we are ready for an early night.
Note: This post has been updated since it was first published in Feb 2008.