Published: June 21st 2012June 20th 2012
So today started with mixed emotions, Ms Roling finally had a good night's sleep and we were leaving San Francisco. San Francisco had grown on me and to be honest LA was just a necessary evil in my mind. But Ms Roling had us covered on this part of the trip - with far too many guilty pleasures - shopping and food primarily.
We make our way to the airport after two smacks of the snooze button. I reason with Ms Roling and it is decided the best way forward with the most benefits for the greater cause is if she showers first and I get 20 minutes more sleep.
We check out and make our way to the airport with 10 other tourists of San Fran. My mind wanders as I watch people go about their daily business unaware that I have even been here and have sampled their city, their country, a little bit of them if you will. The transfer is easy and timely, part of me wonders what all the fuss is when it comes to travel...thus far it has been efficient with minimal fuss.
WELL famous last relaxed thoughts Brown. We arrive to a queue longer than the great wall of China, the patience of a school boy on prom night and the attention of kiwi bloke watching the All Blacks play a final. In all seriousness I have never seen queues this long and start to become slightly anxious. There is no basic instructions, every person looks lost, pushed for time. It is organised chaos!
We get checked in and make our way to security. The good news is, dressed as any casual kiwi male... I'm in jandals, this speeds up the screening process by 3 seconds as I whip these off. I then move onto the man who literally feels the need to frisk me all over, I then move on to to carry out a perfect pirouette for the lady and yes it is a perfect 10. I can now repack everything and head for some breakfast.
We board the plane, and I make friendly with a New York lady who kindly "swaps out" and allows Ms Roling to sit with the annoying flier (me). Ms Roling had planned ahead and moved her seat to the other side of the plane, she underestimates my social abilities!!
So as we sit there I waiting for what is an eternity my day becomes lightened with the following. To paint the scene an elderly gent has just taken seat behind us, this is his connecting flight. He makes a call on his cell phone after we have all been told to turn off all electrical instruments. Hi I'm on the plane. Plane. Yes the plane. My flight was late. Ten minutes. Ten. One zero. T E N, 0. At this point 2/3 of the plane are enduring this one sided phone call. It carries on...yes it's nice here today, fine, fine. At this stage the pilot makes his final welcome speech. I should hang up now. Silence. For the whole flight I couldn't help but wonder if one side of this phone call carried on.
We land to a beautiful clear day and 20 degrees, the sun is shining. As i peer out the window I quickly realise LA airport resembles Auckland motorway at peak hour, in fact a Westfield car park on the 23rd of December paints a clearer a picture. If there was ever going to be pilot rage it was going to be today (we sat stationary for 10 minutes amongst a sea of parallel parked Jumbos). We finally disembark.
Ms Roling is in need of an urgent pee stop and I suggest less in would equal less out and she continues to skull back some water, my sympathy is short lived and we make our way to the carousel to collect our bag.
Ms Roling heads for the trolleys and is advised there is a $5 charge to borrow one. He's taking the piss surely, nup deadly serious. Poor guy he's dealing with a Scotsman and a Dutchy, so we awkwardly employee the airport push, pull action and we make it out into a cloudless warm day.
We are in the city where the streets are paved with gold, dreams are realised and every waitress is an aspiring actress and every cab driver is a struggling writer... We find a cab and make our way to Hollywood! (West Hollywood, where we are staying).
As we make the cab ride I wonder, will we see the clichés, will we see a star, will we see the wealth...the obnoxious 16 year old Prada wearing Range Rover driving LA persona?
We finally arrive to our hotel - it's a 45minute cab ride from LAX. I unload the cab and Ms Roling fires the cab driver $50.00. You no tip? Said in an abrupt manner, we survive on tips in LA. I bite my tongue as tips are for services mate and I'm the one that loaded and is unloading the suitcases. My tip was go to the gym and be nice to your mother...apparently $5 was much better suited.
We check into our room, pretty standard LA fare, mirrors every where - there's no way you cold not leave the room confident that you hadn't nailed your preselected diamond encrusted designer attire.
We head to a well known cafe Urth and order a beautiful salad and yet another complicated coffee order. One cappuccino please and one Urth juice please. Oh Italian cappuccino, thinking I have covered all bases now I switch to paying but no, large sir? No small thanks, strong or weak sir, strong! I pause and wait for the next question, no we are done. We are thoroughly impressed with the prices - 2 huge gourmet salads with pine nuts, artichokes, a coffee and a 1 litre fresh veggie juice in a celeb-fave gaunt in Melrose Place - all for about $25 NZD!!
We grab a table outside to star watch. It quickly becomes evident that money is no object here, Ferraris, Bentleys, Porsches, Mercedes, BMWs are the bare minimum used for transport. Valet parking is the norm and plastic surgery - well if you haven't had it you are probably only 12 and booked in on your 16th birthday.
We finish up our lunch and Ms Roling is on a mission...we will shop this town dry, I follow as support person and eventually graduate to bag carrier and fashion advice extraordinaire. Ms Roling makes some purchases (seephoto above) and we stroll the streets just looking.
I'm struggling with LA at the minute...it's not me the pretentiousness is abundant, the Jones' mentality is clear. I definitely get the impression that most LA people believe there is nothing beyond the Hills that encompass LA. Yet not all is that rosey...there is plenty of vacant store fronts the I Imagine once housed the next best thing.
We walk past The Ivy (another well known restaurant) and chance our arm at getting a reservation for tomorrow night. Luck would have it we are in...I don't even have to slide the maitre-de a $1 bill to fit us in. Roling informs me The Ivy is one of Beyonce and Jay Z's favourite restaurants and tomorrow, we will pretend to be them.
We walk past Dominick's, a cute looking Italian restaurant, Ms Roling spots that it is her Lonely Planet, and it's recommended! So we decide one drink on the way home is deserved. 5 hours later we have sampled organic red wine from Italy, cocktails, Italian champagne, oysters, calamari and a beautiful antipasto. We hit the bar man up for some local knowledge and tip him. Again Mr Taxi driver he provided great service. We wander home watching valet parkers rushing between clubs and vacant lots used to park up Rolls Royces and the like.
What a day! LA I look forward to what you dish up tomorrow...I just hope I can afford it.