Published: June 22nd 2012June 21st 2012
I wake this morning feeling a little, well let's be honest here hungover...and I didn't even drink that much! So I head to hotel gym for a quick run on the treadmill so I can shake off my tardiness.
We vacate the hotel and we are met with clear blue skies and it's pleasantly warm. I can only liken it to the temperatures we get in March; in fact I have not seen a cloud since we have arrived, maybe clouds cannot afford the rental on the air space they require?
Today we are tackling the big H - Hollywood! But before we do that we need a Hollywood size breakfast. So Ms Roling scans her little black book and sets us on course for The Griddle, world famous in LA for its pancakes.
We arrive to a queue, I'm hungry and waiting was not high on my agenda, we had just trekked approximately 4 Kms and I needed a coffee! Luckily for us it was all big groups waiting and we quickly get ushered inside to a wave of noise...this place is bursting at the seams.
We scan the 387 options...poetic licence. But Americans don't leave anything to chance, if it can have cream on it - it's on the menu. We order our pancakes - Ms Roling a raspberry and lemon buttermilk pancake and I order the scotch oats - coconut and butterscotch.
I casually scan the room to see if we can get an idea on how big they may be as the waiter advised they were large. I look to my left and a pancake about the size of Stewart Island has just been served up to its eager contestants. Our two dishes arrive, there are 3 pancakes each yes 3 and they are without a word of lie over 30cm in diameter. I have approximately 1kg of whipped cream from a can on mine. I whisper a sincere apology to my heart for what I'm about to do and then go about tackling this monster.
Both were very tasty, Ms Roling does well and claims 1/2 of hers was eaten. We finish up and roll out...literally roll out like little piggies. Ms Roling checks our bearings and we head off to find Hollywood Blvd.
I can't help but notice Hollywood is looking tired, I liken it to a middle aged man whom has protruding gut and wears a wife beater that has the quintessential baked bean stains. But I'm sure it will get better the closer to strip we get.
We make a few turns and we are here. 3 miles of stars with their names in the pavement - the cost you wont believe is a ming boggling 30k...yes you heard me 30k to get your name in granite and you the big shot celeb has to pay for it!
We start the walk, this consists of winding around other tourists, evading tour operators, photo bombing and spotting the odd celeb immortalised by their name edged into a tiny bit of granite. After a block we are now over it! People constantly nagging you, in the first 5 minutes we were offered two cds of unreleased material...probably stands to reason it should stay that way, 3 tours and a offer to hook me up with some Charlie (cocaine).
We take refuge in a souvenir store to gain composure - I was staring to get ratty with the constant barrage of people in my face attempting to flog me tacky useless shit.
Earlier on, Ms Roling purchased a giant map of "Star's Homes" out of a vending machine (found on every block). We decide to put this to good use. We are going to become voyeurs of celebrity homes! Yes folks we are doing a tour...
The tour is of the open top van and commentated variety and it takes in all the things one would want to see in the Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills, including the Hollywood sign and not one but 60 celebrity homes. I'll be honest at times it was terribly tacky....BUT it did give us the chance to see parts we wouldn't normally have been able to see and there were some amazing sights to behold.
The tour ends and we are back at the blvd...we make a quick escape stage left and hail a cab. We notice all the celeb stalkers are baracaded behind temporary fencing - it's the opening night of Ted. We ask the cab driver to step on it...we can't wait leave. It has been in a word suffocating but a necessary experience.
We get back to our hotel to find we are starting to resemble a couple of lobsters...I have now reinstated my T shirt tan and Ms Roling has the beginnings of patch work quilt. We shower and get glammed up for our last full night in the ever colourful LA.
We taxi down to The Ivy for dinner.
We start with a cocktail, I order a Cajun Vodka Martini - I'm promised a gold watch if I can finish it...first sip says it all, I now have 3rd degree burns in my insides and for a split second I worry that this could do some damage on the way out! The waiter was right, its hot, but I love a challenge. Ms Roling gets her laughing gear around a Pims Cup...vey refreshing she says, I'm unsure if this is her take on being funny or it is genuinely "refreshing".
In the meantime the waiter has discreetly droped a fire extinguisher at the table...there have been cases of involuntary combustion when tackling a Cajun Vodka Martini.
We order Calamari to share and I follow this up with a chopped salad, it comes with roasted Turkey breast with blue cheese, the presentation is immaculate. Ms Roling orders Ravioli - in a word DEVINE she says between fork fulls!
We attempt conversation but a very loud LA woman feels the need to tell her group of friends "that is definitely a Boxer mix" "that dog is a Boxer mix" I lost count after 17 high screeched boxer mix statements.
We finish the evening off with a couple of desserts...we are on holiday people. I order a very tasty slice of Key Lime pie and Ms Roling coconut and cocoa sorbet with pumpkin cookies. Again both beautifully presented and not so beautifully deconstructed as we devilishy eat every last crumb.
So this brings to a close LA part one...we will be back here on the way home. To summarise LA for me, a poster in a bus stop says it all. "You have worked to control your HIV, now it's time to work on your HIV related belly fat"?
I have been critical of LA and I know Ms Roling sees it slightly different to me but it is what it is - America's epicentre of wealth, plastic, and all things superficial. I felt like a visitor in LA and at times LA made me feel as welcome as a fart in a space suit. I accept that maybe I didn't embrace it enough to enjoy it, so some of the blame lies with me.
LA we will do this again and soon..."it's been emotional".