Published: August 18th 2010
August 16th 2010
LA & Orlando
I have to admit that I left HK with a heavy heart, plus I wasn’t really looking forward to a 13 hour flight to the US. But one can’t really complain too much as I’m living the dream, my dream.
Surprisingly, passing through immigration and customs at LAX was easier than expected. Considering that I had no onward journey booked, just plans about where I was going next. And they accepted my story……and considering that almost every other port or airport that I passed through prior to HK I’d been stopped, checked, questioned etc. I guess I just have that look, which takes me back to some silly awards we used to run at work where I won the ’person most likely to be stopped by the police’!!! haha…..I guess it must be true then. And so here I am in LA, the bling capital of the US and this place is huge. Wide roads, big cars and big people! I was met by a friend from Travbuddy.com who kindly picked me up from the airport. She then took me straight to my Hostel, HI Santa Monica, so I can drop my stuff and go for
a drink. When it came to pay for my room I reach for my card only to find that it’s not in my wallet, so pay for the room in cash. Cash is something I have very little of on my person and its not long before I begin to realise I’ve lost my card. Fortunately I drew some money out and at Hong Kong airport and exchanged it for $ US. It wasn’t a lot just enough to eat, drink and pay for any cabs until I get settled at my hostel. It seems as though I’d dropped my card at HK airport!!
Up in my room I frantically search through all my belongings but to no avail. The only other card I have on me is my credit card, which I maxed out in Hong Kong paying for my room. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem as I would transfer monies from my account to pay it off, but as I now have seemingly lost my card, I can’t do this. Feck!
I meet my friend again and we go for a drink and chat about my travels and she tells me a little about herself
and LA, and about the meal with other Travbuddy members we’re to have the following evening, which she’d partly organised. I thank her for her help and for collecting me and we say our goodbyes then I head back to my room to search again for the elusive bank card. After doing so for the 3rd time I call my bank, report the card missing and request a new one and emergency funds. They transfer me to Visa and I start the process.
Anyway, for 3 days I don’t have much to eat (don’t have the cash) and can’t go any tours and am suffering from a bout of jet lag. Fortunately the hostel puts on breakfast and coffee, so I won’t starve. So, I wander the streets, the beaches. But this is all fine really, I’m quite happy to walk the beaches and take in the atmosphere of the place. Stare freakishly at the numerous blonde beauties that seem to run up and down the beach endlessly. The nice cars, manicured lawns, palm trees dancing in the light breeze and the large amount of homeless people, strewn about the place. To be honest, I was a little shocked
at this. Such a large amount in such a small area. I walk up to Muscle beach and Venice beach….all nice, all packed and plenty of sculptured bodies of those more obsessed with their looks than what surrounds them. Still, at least I feel at home?!!!! haha. NOT! I have to say that they really do make things big in the States. Public transport is pretty sh*tty and walking anywhere takes ages! Now, I enjoy a good walk but crikey….you almost have to plan for the day just to go a few blocks.
I meet the other Travbuddies at a local Italian restaurant where one of the guys, Eric, buys me a beer. I get another call from Visa who confirm that they can send me the money, which of course is a huge relief, so at least I’ll be ok, just not sure when. A few of us then leave to go to a bowling alley and I sit getting to know the other members of this group of travellers. In the end it was quite a nice evening, even though I wasn’t sure what or where I’d be spending the night. Last resort, stay at the airport.
On my last day in LA my Travbuddy friend came back over to Santa Monica and took me out for the day, visiting the LA County Museum of Art and taking me through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and all the usual haunts one visits when in LA. And so my limited time in LA comes to an end. I never really felt comfortable in LA, which probably had a lot to do with the lack of money and the worry about how I can get access to some. It was a shame that I didn’t stay longer, but maybe I’ll go back some other day. In the meantime I’d contacted a friend from home who currently lives in Titusville, Florida where he’s learning how to handle his chopper! He kindly lets me crash at his so I have an address to get my new card sent to. This gives me a chance to catch up on my blog, chill out and relax a little, which I think I’m going to need before I head down to La Paz, Bolivia, the highest city in the world at 3660m above sea level.
I arrive at Orlando Airport and stop
Bev Hills sign
the obligatory photo
off for a bite to eat. I now have some cash from the emergency money sent by Visa, so at least I can shop and eat a bit. Tom arrives and its nice to see a familiar face and great to catch up on his adventures, namely learning to fly helicopters…..now I’m jealous!! We get to his apartment in Titusville, which is about an hour away from Orlando and really in the middle of nowhere. Yep, here in America you really need a car to get anywhere! Still, I’m not complaining….he apartment complex where they live is really nice and has a pool. Ah, guess where I’m gonna spend most of my time?!! And so I do….
As many of the student chopper pilots live around here and because most of the decent bars are further away at Cocoa Beach and the like (which by Taxi is expensive) some of the guys decided to club together and buy a limo! Apparently, you are not allowed to drink or have alcohol near you in a car but in a limo its ok to drink in it. And so one evening we decide to go to Millikens, a bar down at
Cocoa, for a night out to celebrate a couple of birthdays, Tom’s being one of them. A BBQ is first on the agenda and we head outside in the warm Florida evening for a few drinks and eats and there it is, sitting in the car park looking splendid as the sun goes down. Ok, when I say splendid I actually mean this thing is tatty. It’s supposed to be white, the vinyl roof is a mess, but hey…..it works and most of us will fit in it! And we do…..more than 10 people in a exercise in international relations as we have Brits, Polish, Dutch, German & French people all piled into this white limo. The music blares aloud, as we try to sing along to the music without actually knowing the words (have you ever heard a group of strong European accents trying to sing to songs they don’t know the words to?? Funny as hell……), the drinks flow and the limo is expertly driven why one of the girlfriends of the group. On arriving and leaving the car on a grass verge, one of the guys was stopped by the police as he was drinking in public…..not
allowed here in the States. Fortunately no arrest.
Millikens is a restaurant/bar so you can eat then dance the calories off on the sand dance floor. As my dancing is pretty poor I moved my feet to the beat with a beer in my hand watching the numerous people around here. As the cruiseliners anchor in Port Canaveral you get many holidayers in this place, from the Marine in his full dress suit to the dudes in their oversized shirts and shorts with baseball caps back to front. It was like something out of a rap video (christ, how old am I????) But, all in all the people there were really friendly and I think we really did stand out like a sore thumb. A couple of people came up and said ‘are you British?’ Tom was even told he looked like Harry Potter (which he doesn’t).
Still, time for me to move on now. I feel great, relaxed and ready to carry on with my journey with the next stop being Miami. I thought I’d check this place out, particularly the Art Deco buildings they have down there, and partly ‘cos I loved Miami Vice when I
Enroute to the bar...
...getting into the party spirit.
was younger and partly ‘cos I’ve heard so much about Miami from some of the books I’ve read. In fact, the place I stayed at was where Al Capone ran his gambling ring from. How cool is that??
Miami baby…..yeh!!! Actually despite the fact that fakeness seems to to rule in places like LA & Miami, I actually quite like the place. Mind you, that’s mainly due to the stunning architecture, the gorgeous cars and the erm….is it politically correct to say the bikini clad women walking the streets. I guess that’s what they call a warm front, right? Haha…..but yes, there were a fair few of lovelies walking in what amounts to 3 triangle pieces of material tied together with string!! Maybe I shoulda bought myself a mankini????? Heaven forbid.
Anyway, I decide to stay at The Clay Hotel, which was the base for Al Capones gambling ring and was also used in Miami Vice a few times and The Specialist Sly Stallone and his pecs. It was quite a nice place, a reasonably priced and in a great location. Miami Ink down the road, the beach around the corner and plenty of restaurants in
plenty of time relaxing here
the area. Yep, the place reminded me a lot of the GTA game on the PS3 just with less shootings and muggings, that I saw of course. Still, none of that worries me as I visit the World Erotic Art Museum for a bit of a laugh (although I didn’t laugh at the entrance fee of $13.50!!). Ah, but a laugh it was. Some interesting exhibits with Picasso and Salvi Dali among the exhibiting artists. Paintings, sculptures and photo’s designed to make your granny blush along with a fascinating 4 penis poster bed. Oh how I would love to take a date home to see her face when she sets eyes on that beast!! You would defo know how the evening would go from her reaction, for sure. Mind you, I sense a disappointment soon afterwards. ;) I can’t think of anything else to write about Miami other than I would visit it again.
There are more photos below