"Is it a dead body?"
12.05.2010 - 16.05.2010
Following a slightly emotional goodbye at Heathrow, we headed through security and off on our exciting adventure! The Flight left on time and take off was very shaky- the plane felt like it was going to fall to pieces! The flight was long and generally sleepless so it was a relief to get landed; landing was as equally dodgy as take off with the plane this time feeling like it was going to topple sideways!
We got off the plane to join a very long queue at immigration and customs surrounded by French people...had a strange moment with a French lady where she was obviously talking to me but goodness knows what she was saying! The man at immigration was severely lacking in a sense of humour or charisma but finally after almost two hours we were reunited with our bags only to join another queue!
We got a shuttle to our motel which was surprisingly nice with a lovely young fellow at reception. We ordered Chinese to the room (the delivery man was distinctly unimpressed with our lack of tip) and sat down to a huge feast of noodles and lemon chicken - it's unsurprising the U.S. has an obesity problem!
After a good night's sleep (and waking at 5am! Bloody jetlag!) we had some toast and set out to try and find a car to hire. A taxi ride to Budget later and we're faced with the dilemma of how much it is going to cost - way out of our budget! We umm and ahh, put our backs into a taxi to find it'll cost $45 alone to get to Hollywood so we decide to hire a car for a day. A nice man called Jesus then reduces out quote by $100 and so we take the car for 3 days. We get to the car to discover it is an automatic with both of us clueless as to how to drive it....finally with the help of a funny little Mexican man who found our situation rather amusing we manage to leave the parking lot and are let loose on LA. Driving is interesting and our maps are rubbish so subsequently we get lost and Kristian's stressed voice makes and appearance. We eventually make it to Hollywood and take a drive alone Mulholland drive - the views of LA from up there are fantastic. After driving round in a circle as we don't realise the drive has ended we take a turn up a dirt track and wind up at the Nike Missile station but accident. Interesting place where we meet a man writing a spy story with his laptop running off his car battery! He tells us about some sport and some ducks at a pond which have been imported from England - was all a little surreal!
We drive back down and book into a Motel 6 for the evening. We walk along Hollywood Boulevard, see the walk of fame and catch a glimpse of the "Hollywood" sign. It is all a bit rubbish so we grab a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge pizza (of which we manage to eat half) and jump back into the car to the beach. While sitting on a wall people watching and taking pictures a guy comes along and introduces himself as "Hamlet" and offers to take our picture. He goes on to tell us of his love for Old English and of his dream to open a bar/BBQ/Petting zoo with imported sunshine on top of a shopping complex in London and because kids are only cute up to a certain height he'd only make the pool yay deep so we could all take good pictures. After being talked at for about 15 mins we leave feeling rather bemused and take a walk along the beach. We have a little sit and relax before returning to our room to be tucked up in bed by 9.30pm!!!!
The next morning we get up and head off remembering to take our cold pizza from the day before. It is 8.45am and we set off on the long journey to Las Vegas. Through some sort of navigational dysfunction we manage to drive the wrong way on the Ventura highway and after an hour of heading West we finally realise our mistake!! After investing $6 in a decent map we eventually set off in the right direction having learned all about Monks from the man in the bookstore. The scenery on the drive was impressive and we keep driving at different elevations so have ears popping constantly. Unfortunately the car only seemed to like certain bands from our Ipods so we were pretty sick of Metric and the Maccabees by the time we arrived. We eventually arrive at about 4.30pm and are completely dumbstruck by the sheer size of the place.
We park up and try to get a room at Bally's but they are fully booked...they give us a card to find out where's available and so we head to the "Happi Inn Motel". The lady at the desk offers us two rooms they both have mirrors on the ceiling, walls and headboards!! We take the cleaner looking room which has considerably less dodgy stains on the carpet. Whilst we are checking in a resident who has been staying at the motel for months asks if he can use their trash can round the back. The lady replies "so long as you aren't dumping a dead body in there are you?". She sounds quite serious so we ask if this is a common occurance which she just laughs off!
Once we settle in we head into town and take a walk along the Strip it feels very surreal and is such a ridiculous place. We head to the Outback Steakhouse for some food where Kristian is disappointed to learn it isn't the same one which used to be in Wandsworth. We walk around a few of the casinos in awe before heading over to the Bellagio to watch the fountain display. After a drink outside we go to Caeser's Palace where we wander round for ages wondering what to bet on with both of us completely bewildered about gambling and how everything works. we evntually put $5 in a slot machine and win $1 which of course went back into the machine we we cut our losses.
We sat and did some more people watching before heading back to our room completely exhausted. After falling asleep on top of the bed fully clothed we both awake at 4am with Kristian paranoid the car might have gone or the boot would be open because e had the key in his pocket!
On Saturday we drove back throught the strip one final time then headed back to LA with a stop at Peggy Sue's 50s diner for a bite to eat. We head straight to the airport to catch our flight to Fiji where we completely loose 16th May 2010 :-(.