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Published: February 25th 2012
Belinda and Katha having fun on the Legends of Hollywood tour.
It’s been a long time since my last post, but here I am again with a new adventure. I am currently staying at the OzReport World Headquarter
with Belinda and Davis at Cathedral City, California. But let me tell you how I got here.
Next week, there will be a congress in Palm Springs, California, at which I will be presenting a number of studies with one of our MDs, Andreas. I decided to extend the stay a bit before and after the conference. Belinda invited me to spend some time with her and Davis before the congress, so I booked a flight to Los Angeles for the 20th
The journey was kind of exciting because I was going to fly from Hamburg via Frankfurt to Los Angeles, and the air traffic controllers had announced that they would go on strike from early Monday morning until late afternoon. On the Lufthansa website, it said that intercontinental flights would not be affected by the strike, and when I called their hotline, I was told that neither my flight to Frankfurt nor the one to Los Angeles would be cancelled.
I was planning to be at the airport fairly early, and
View from Mulholland Drive
... towards Hollywood Bowl (in the foreground) and downtown LA.
I wanted to do online check-in and enter my data that are required for entering the US online in advance, just to be as well-prepared as possible. But the system somehow did not work. After trying different approaches, I finally managed to enter all my data and do the online check-in. It got late, and I did not get much sleep during the night and had to get up at 4:30 in the morning.
When I arrived at the airport in Hamburg, everything seemed to be fine. But then at the gate, they told us that we had been given a slot for our landing in Frankfurt that was a lot later than our scheduled arrival time. Boarding was delayed, and then we had to wait on the plane for another 40 minutes. I got quite excited because I only had 1.5 hours in Frankfurt to get to my connecting flight.
We arrived in Frankfurt with a delay of more than one hour, but Lufthansa did a great job because when we got off the plane, there were two people waiting for those who had connecting flights within the next hour. We caught a bus that took us
Venice Beach I
Palm trees and a wide beach.
straight to the passport control and from there to our gates. Thank you Lufthansa! My flight to Los Angeles took off with a delay of 45 minutes, but I was happy to be on the flight and happy to just relax after some pretty stressful weeks, two weekends in which I had to work in a row, and a lot of other appointments and deadlines.
Belinda picked me up at the airport, and it was great to see her. We had a late lunch and then went to the Venice Beach. It looked like it does in the movies. A nice wide beach with palm trees, shops along the road, and open air gym with guys training their muscles, and people riding their bikes or skateboarding. I was surprised to see many shops that sell medical marihuana. Belinda told me that you could get a prescription for marihuana from your doctor for example when you had trouble sleeping. We drove along the coast towards the north and then up Sunset Boulevard into Pacific Palisades, a beautiful district with nice houses. The drive gave me a good first impression of the city.
Davis’ brother Jon and Jon’s wife Josie
Venice Beach II
People are very active here, ride bikes
had invited us to stay at their house for two nights, which was great. Thank you so much, Jon and Josie! We spent the evening with them in their house.
The next morning, we went on a Hollywood tour that Belinda had booked for us. We had breakfast at the Farmers Market, and there we met our tour guide Mark from Legends of Hollywood Tours
. He took us on an awesome tour around Los Angeles. We were on a bus with five other tourists, and we went past downtown Los Angeles (El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the oldest part of the city where it all started) to the Walt Disney Hall (incredible architecture) and Civic Center. He also showed us some houses that had served as scenery for different movies, for example the one in which the series “Charmed” was filmed, or the one that was the setting for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. After that, he took us to Hollywood. Of course we had to take some pictures of ourselves with the Hollywood sign in the background! Next, we went up Mulholland Drive and enjoyed the view of the city with the Hollywood Bowl in the foreground. Then we went to Grauman’s
Venice Beach III
... or skateboard
Chinese Theater, a famous movie theatre that hosted many movie premieres, including e.g. Star Wars. There are hand- and footprints of famous actors and musicians in front of the entrance. Right next to it, there is the Kodak Theater where they were just getting everything ready for the Academy Awards Ceremony. Right in front of the two Theaters, there is the Walk of Fame. Finally, Mark took us to Beverly Hills and showed us the houses in which for example Elvis Presley and other movie stars had lived in. We had learned a lot about the history of Los Angeles, its stars and starlets, and about our tour guide Mark 😉.
After this really exciting and entertaining tour, Belinda and I had a late lunch at the Farmers Market. Real Mexican food. It was good, and I was happy because Mexican food in Germany usually is not all that nice, I think. The Farmers Market is a nice place. There are a number of different restaurants and cafés, but they also sell groceries and other things. For example, there is a shop that sells all different kinds of salsas, all of them in very neat bottles. You can buy
Beverly Hills I
If you ever watched the series "Charmed", the house will look familiar to you...
all kinds of fruit, sweets, tea, coffee, pasta, and so on. After a little tour around the Farmers Market, we drove to Malibu, which is a couple of kilometres up the coast from Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Having grown up with Baywatch, this was a real “must” for me. We had a nice walk along the beach – barefoot in the middle of winter!
In the evening, we went to Sunset Strip and had great cocktails at the Chateau Marmont Bar. I loved it there, the place has a wonderful atmosphere. Later in the evening, we decided to walk down Sunset Strip, and I was surprised that there were not more people on the street. In fact, there was hardly anybody. And actually you would not want to walk around there because it is pretty far from one bar to the next, so the better option is most certainly to drive.
However, driving is an issue in Los Angeles. There is not much public transport, and the city is very big (I read something about 17 million inhabitants in the greater region of the city and a diameter of 120 km). So a lot of people drive big
Beverly Hills II
Scenery of the Michael Jackson video "Thriller".
distances in their cars. The city tries to handle the problem by building more and bigger streets, and there are amazing bridges, sometimes four of them crossing each other. But still there are traffic jams, and people say that if you want to get anywhere in the city, you’ve got to be there before 3 p.m. because otherwise you will be in a traffic jam. And that’s true. It takes you forever to get from A to B.
We experienced that when we went to see Josie at her work. It took us a while to get there and back again, although it was not really far from her house. Josie produces TV commercials and showed us around her studio. It was exciting. There was a room in which they shoot the movie that is used for the commercial. It was all painted in white so that another background could be added later on (apparently they don’t only use blue to achieve this effect, but also other colours like for example white). She showed us the dressing rooms for the people that acted in the commercials, and finally we went to the studio in which they were just preparing
Home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
the shooting of the “Bachelor”.
Belinda and I went to the Getty Center from there. Needless to say that it took us forever to get there because there was not only a lot of traffic and a million traffic lights, but also roadwork that made everything even worse. But finally we got there and were intrigued. The Getty Center is an art museum that has paintings, sculptures, and photos from different centuries. It is located on a mountain so that it offers a wonderful view of downtown LA, the UCLA, and the beaches. Belinda and I took a very interesting guided tour on the building’s architecture. Richard Meier was the architect. We enjoyed wandering around the building and recalling what the guide had told us.
In the afternoon, we set off to Cathedral City, where Belinda and Davis are staying at the moment. Due to the heavy traffic, it took us a while to get there, but finally, we arrived at the R.V. park where their trailer is at the moment. It was great to see Davis. We had another nice Mexican dinner and a nice evening and were ready for more adventures. But that’s a new story!
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