At 5.20am - we're getting better at this sleeping-in lark, we wake up. Early breakfast and we leave the hotel to find the bus stop. We end up walking for a good 20 mins as its such a nice day and pass a few Salvadorean restaurants (any ideas anyone?), lots of laundries, fast food restaurants, more fast food restaurants (of the burger, fried chicken and mexican genres), cheap electrical shops, did I mention fast food restaurants? Now I'm not reknowned for my heathly diet of fruit and veg, but after 3 days here, I'm having an urge to eat something fresh - like melon, strawberries, maybe some broccoli and carrots with some mashed potatoes - this is completely unheard of! Even the adverts for fastfood on the TV are putting me off - pictures of burgers and fries, fried chicken, pizza - they are EVERYWHERE! Anyway, back to looking for a bus stop - which we find (outside a little window in the wall of what appears to be someone's front room selling tortillas, quesadillas, nachos and other such delicacies). We catch the bus (along Beverley Boulevard which will give you a clue as to our final destination) and watch as
View from top of Beverley Centre
You can hardly see it but the buildings on the left of the picture, on the horizon, belong to the downtown section of LA - that's how big this place is!
the surrounding buildings change from cheap little stores and restaurants in a run down area, to opulent houses in green side streets, to expensive looking shops.
We get off at a shopping mall called the Beverley Centre in which we have a perusal - there's a Macy's, Bloomingdales and then lots of designer stores, along with a BodyShop and America's equivalent to Thorntons called Godiva Chocolatier so of course we have to pop in there. We decide to make an investment in 2 milk chocolate truffles and 2 praline hearts. Yum - they were bloody lovely. The shopping centre wasn't much different to a UK one other than the size of it - there were 8 stories (3 were parking) and the top floor was the food court so we sat outside and took in the view of surrounding LA and, amazingly, we managed to find a meal that didn't include white bread in pizza or burger format - yes, we had jacket potatoes! (although they drenched them in cheese sauce which somewhat negated the healthy choice but even so, better than chips - sorry, fries.).
After lunch, we walked along Beverley Boulevard, trying to find the "Golden
Triangle" (well, that's what it's called in the guidebook). It's basically a triangle of shops selling uber stylish/expensive items and includes the world renowned Rodeo Drive (Pretty Woman everyone??). We eventually find it and "hit" Rodeo Drive with aplomb. Well actually no, we don't - we just gaze in the windows and imagine if we had the money. Some of the shops were giving glasses of champagne to everyone who visited the shop. Others only allowed you in if you had an invitation (damn, I must have left my personal Invite from Louis Vuitton at home). We wondered up and down, took a few pictures and then did the descent thing and find a gelaterie in an adjoining street to watch the expensive world drive buy. (Chocolate and mint - me, double nutella - Paul). We observed, that unless you had a supercar like a Mclaren F1 roadcar, no one really looks twice at you as Mercedes', BMW's, Lexus (Lexi?) are all ten a penny around here. Either that or a 1969 original VW Beetle done up to the nines - set you apart and all that.
On that thought, we caught the bus back (it doesn't sound it
in writing, but we'd been out for hours) and viewed the transition from mega bucks shops, mega bucks houses to slightly upmarket shops then just plain old rubbish. But what;s this I see near our hotel?? Yes! a fruit stall selling bags of freshly prepared fruit! Pineapple, watermelon, cucumber, mango, galia melon - $4 a bag - yep, I'll have one of those please. He chops them up, puts them in a bag and adds a few extras - lime juice? Yes, I can cope with that, salt? errrr, what? Chilli sauce? Noooooooooooo - oh damn, too late. I try a piece of Melon with chilli sauce and it's actually bearable. But I wanted a more thirst quenching, cooling, refreshing mouthful so when we get back to the hotel, I rinse it all out in the sink, put in the fridge and just hope it tastes like fruit when I eat it later..
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