Published: September 26th 2006September 24th 2006
Hello from sunny LA, where its been in the high 70's and low 80's all week! (25+ for u metric folk) Today we decided to relax by the pool in our hotel and rest our weary feet and tired bodies. We both believe we just didnt give ourselves the time to recover from our 28 hour trip to get here and have been feeling it all week!
Our journey began in Ulrika's parent's house with a rude alarm clock call at 5am! After a quick bite to eat and a final check of our bags we set off to Arlanda airport , 36km from stockholm city. We were very grateful for Soren and Carina to drive us to the airport at such an early hour, cos as you know we were all still recovering from Sorens birthday bash 2 nights before.
Finnair in terminal 4 was our destination and we arrived with time enough for a cup of coffee before the checkin desks even opened!
From Arlanda we actually first flew for an hour to Helsinki in Finland. It was from there the we began our journey across the atlantic and landed for a short time in New York, 8 hours later. Getting through US security was fine. All we had to do to get through was get our index fingers scanned and a picture taken of our face.
From New York American Airlines took us the rest of the way to LA. After the 6 hr flight we were absolutely wrecked but we managed to collect our bags, find a shuttle and get to our hotel that we had booked for the night. (We did have a minor mishap but that a story for another time!)
During our week here in LA we tried to see and do as much as we could. We decided not to rent a car and save some money but the message was clear everywhere..even our hotel had posted up a slogan.. "Dont waste your vacation on public transportation" !! But we found the public transportation fine and indeed very cheap! 3 dolars was enough for a day pass on all the buses and trains in the LA area.
Our first day trip was to downtown LA on the Metro bus. We visited the oldest house in LA, built in 1821. It was originally a house on a ranch and was built by a mexican. The LA that has grown up around it is a fascinating cultural mix with china town to the east, little tokyo to the south and spanish so inherent that all the public signs are in both English and Spanish! Even the TV commercials on the transit TV on most of the metro buses were in Spanish! So we spent on afternoon exploring dowtown LA and enjoyed a nice mexican meal for lunch and a delicous japanese meal for dinner! On the way home from LA we got into a little trouble. We got the train back instead of the bus believing it was quicker. We also thought the train station was walking distance for the hotel but after walking only half a block, a highway patrol officer got out of his car and called us over. He said to us "are ye guys lost or something cos it aint safe to walk down there!"So we told him where we were going and then he insisted that he drive us to the hotel! We obviously agreed! He then searched Paul before he got into the front passenger seat and in beside a shotgun placed between the 2 front seats! He also asked for Ulrikas name and radioed all the details to base before we set off. Procedure he told us. It certainly made for an interesting first day in LA!
The following day we set out for hollywoodland (actually its original name!) in search of some stars! We actually did find over 2,500 on a somewhat shabby hollywood blvd. The stars were inlaid in the sidewalk with bronze symbols denoting the craft that brought them fame. However the stars on the sidewalk became monotonous after a while so we decided to go in search of some real ones in a limo! Heading out to the posh suburbs of Beverly Hill and Bel Air in a white limo was real luxury! Unfortunately tho we only get to see the top of the stars houses of high walls and the paparazzi eagerly waiting outside. The only interesting places we visited all day really was Rodeo (ro-DAY-oh) drive
- the street of shops for the rich and famous, Graumans Chinese Theatre
where some of the worlds most famous hands and feet are imprinted, and beside it, the Kodak theatre
where the oscars have been held every year since 2002.
When the tour was over our limo pulled up across from the Chinese theatre to a waiting crowd. We did get some interesting looks because the people in the area were waiting for the red carpet premier of a new jessica simpson movie
. (interestingly our limo guide told us its not always a red carpet for premiers but can depend on the theme of the movie!) Anyways...we didnt stay around ourselves but headed back to the hotel for some rest.
Still struggling with the time difference we were up early at about 6am and began getting ready for our day in Universal studios
. Here we really experienced the movie magic of hollywood with some cool simulators and tours of movie sets and tv sets...even Wisteria Lane (for you jealous desperate house wife fans!). However it wasnt as cool as the two day visit to disneyland and disney california adventure park
! The California adventure park had some excellent attractions including A bugs life in 3D but particullary our favourite, California Soarin', which amazed us with it wind, smell, and physical glider simulation! Its an awesome place that should be checked out!
We finished up our weekend in LA with a trip to venice beach and Universal City. Venice Beach
was nice place to relax after our travels during the week. It was the first time we really relaxed and enjoyed a bit of californian sun and surf. In universal city we took a trip to the IMAX theatre there and saw superman returns
in 3D....very impressive!!
So its been a busy week and its hard to fit everything we have done here.....hope it gives you a picture on what we have been up to...... next stop Fiji!!