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Trip Report Survivor of PCH drive arrives in LA and survives without a car!!!

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We arrived at Union Square station on the Pacific Surfliner and quickly found the Red Line Metro, half an hour later we emerged from Hollywood/Highland metro stop to be met by drumbeat ( a guy making music by banging large plastic containers with wooden spoons) and people milling about everywhere. We had arrived in Hollywood!!.

A quick look at the map and we were on our way up Highland towards the Hollywood Bowl to our hotel, the Best Western Hollywood Plaza. We hadn't gone far up Highland when the Hollywood sign came into view. Wow!! The check in was smooth and we were soon in our room, basic motel type but clean and well equipped. Originally our stay was to be 3 nights, but as we had been working to a tight schedule we decided to extend our stay to 5 nights in order to chill a bit. The hotel has a small bistro type place attached that deliver to the room, so we ordered in, nothing special but very nice. The following day the intrepid travellers were off to explore. We hadn't gone far before we were accosted by the usual sightseeing tour touts and managed to duck and dive to avoid them until one slipped through the net. It was a stars homes tour for $35 each, no way, but he followed us and eventually we gave in when he got down to $15 each. It was an open back 12-15 seater truck, so we settled in and off we went. I have never heard such a boring commentary in all my life and he sped through the streets as if the devil himself were after us. Look to the right here, to the left there,over your left shoulder, over your right shoulder. He finally stopped for 10 minutes to let us get a feel for Rodeo Drive. We got out of the truck for this short walk but I swear we had to wait 5 mins both ways to cross Santa Monica Blvd. Back in the truck for more whistle stop places. When we got back he reminded us that tour drivers rely on tips and a notice in his cab said "suggested tips", if you enjoyed the tour $10 each, you would come again $15 each and if you thought it was WOW and would tell and friend $20 each. I did not see one person give him anything when they got off and I certainly didn't.

The next day we negotiated the local bus (217 if I remember rightly) and bought a TAP card and went to Miracle Mile to the Page Museum and La Brea Tarpits. It was one of the best things we did in LA and both thoroughly enjoyed it. Back on the 217 to H/H and a meal in Johnny Rockets, oh yes we know how to live it up!! I had never had a Philly cheese steak sandwich before and this one was just wonderful, So with steak juice dripping from my chin we set off again back to the hotel for a dip in the pool and booked a WB studio tour for tomorrow.

Day 3 - Dawned the hottest day since we got there, with heat health warnings on the radio and warnings of pavement melts. We met the Starline bus to take us to WB studios, luckily it was enclosed with A/C, but the little train thing at the studios wasn't and we absolutely roasted. It was enjoyable but a lot of the things we were shown I knew nothing about. I have never watched Friends and we went to that set and we also watched them filming a scene for Heart of Dixie which again I am not familiar with. Still it was an experience. Upon our return to H/H we booked a tour of Mann's Chinese Theatre which was very interesting and I then set about photographing all the hands/feet slabs, my favourites being Gene Autrey/Champ and Roy Rogers/Trigger which brought back so many childhood memories. All that day Hollywood Blvd had been shut and there were alot of people and crash barriers along the sidewalk. There was a Disney premiere happening, the Strange Life of Timothy Green. We stayed for a while to catch a glimpse of a celebrity but it was so hot we gave up and went back to the pool.

Day 4 - We were more adventurous and caught 2 buses to Santa Monica. Yes it took an hour, but with careful planning we got our connections and did not wait more than 10 mins for each bus. Loved the pier and the ocean and beaches. Found out that it was actually the end of Route 66 too. We had lunch in the Mexican place at the end of the pier then started to walk towards Venice Beach, but it was far too hot so we wimped out and got a bus. Loved Venice, yes its a bit tacky but as an ageing Hippy it was right up my street so to say. I walked across the sand, past the Baywatch Huts and had my very first "paddle" in the Pacific Ocean. Pure bliss. The journey home was just as easy and while my son went back to the hotel to cool off, I hit the H/H centre and did a little retail therapy.

Day 5 - We walked Sunset Strip at a very leisurely pace (it was 97 degrees) stopping off for a drink at Peet's. We then got the bus to explore Downtown, but never got there because we spotted Amoeba and spent the next 2 hours in there browsing all the old records and posters etc. Then back to the pool.

We found getting around LA no problem without a car as long as we preplanned and checked bus times. I was happy that I saw everything I wanted to see apart from perhaps Malibu.

Next report will be Washington as we decided not to go to LV and the Grand Canyon as it was too darned hot.

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