Thursday, October 20, 2005

Los Angeles

On my first day here I did a tour of some of the main attractions in LA, whilst Richard was making some hard earned money. Our tour guide's name was Eddie, and he's a retired cop turned tour guide. He was very humorous, and kept asking me if I was single! On the tour there were some other aussies as well. Three boys from Frankston and a couple from country NSW. Eddie paired me up with a Chinese American lady who was visiting from New York. The Americans are really intense compared to us laid back Aussies. Lois, the lady I was paired up with, was really concerned about getting lost. If we just turned a corner she would start freaking out about where the tour bus was, or where Eddie was. I thought my sense of direction was bad!! I actually met someone who is worse. She wouldn't relax and enjoy herself, I kept trying to keep the vibes calm and relaxed and show her that there was nothing to stress about.

Eddie was very fond of repeating himself.
"You're here to do the Grand Tour, the Grand Tour is the best tour, and on the Grand Tour you will see some of the main attractions, more than what you will find on any other tour. Now on the Grand Tour, we will be making lots of stops, but the Grand Tour goes all day. So if you add it all up, there will be four hours on the bus and four hours off the bus. Ladies and Gentleman, this is the Grand Tour. Now four hours on the bus, is a long time, so we all are gonna get to know one another. Four hours equals a quarter of a day, that's a quarter of a day that we will be together and a quarter of a day that you're gonna be with Eddie. Now all you ladies without a partner, don't you go back and tell your partners that you spent a quarter of a day with Eddie. Nuh uh, I don't want somebody comin' after me after you spent a quarter of a day with Eddie......"
Eddie was intensly passionate about his city. He was also passionate about his food. One of the places we visited was the Farmers Market.

Eddie stressed that this was no market where they sell you things from the back of a truck, or from a box, or a bucket.
"Nuh uh, ya'll gonna see a Farmers Market like nothin' ya'll never seen before. Now we're gonna stop for lunch at the Farmers Market. I advise that ya'll get somethin' here. We got BBQ, hot dogs, shrimp, gumbo, roast chicken, Chinese, Mexican, seafood, sushi....we got sushi man, sushi (Eddie's voice rose about an octave here.  He was very excited about the sushi). Where else in the world can you find all this food, ya'll all make sure you try somethin', and don't forget to buy ya'll some cookies. Ya'll bring it back on the bus and ya'll nibble on some cookies."

Eddie was also very fond of pointing out all his favourite eateries as the bus went by.  The portions of food here are massive. Richard and I eat about a quarter of what's on the plate. They also like to serve salad and bread with practically every meal. I have to say though that the food has been very good.

On the tour we went to Hollywood, Mann's Chinese theatre, Kodak theatre, got to take a photo of the Hollywood sign, Beverley Hills, Sunset strip, Rodeo drive, but I didnt bother going into any shops, Olvera street, the oldest part of LA and Tijuana Mexican market, Frank Gehry's concert hall, marina del rey and Venice beach.

The next day, being a Saturday, Richard was able to join me and we went to Universal studios and spent the entire day there.

We hired a car, and it's been very strange (and nerve wracking) driving on the right side of the road. The American's love telling us that it's us who drive on the wrong side of the road! On Sunday we hired bicycles and rode for miles from Rodondo beach (where we are staying) to Marina del rey.

The next day my bottom and muscles cursed me soundly. We ended up riding for more than half a day, stopping only occasionally for water, and for about an hour or so to have lunch at Manhattan beach. The restaurant/cafe we went to for lunch has been the only sour point so far. There was a real sense of us being unwelcome. The girl (who needed to grow a smile) wanted to seat us inside on these high chairs, like the one's at a bar, but we said we wanted to eat outside. She made a face at this. Anyway, it wasn't a good impression, and we were tempted to leave a zero tip, but the waitress that actually served us was very nice, so we felt obliged to leave something.

Today, being Monday is shaping to be a very quiet day. Richard left at 5am to drive to San Diego, to look at some plant up there. He actually returned at 11.30am, and that was the last "work" thing he had to do, so now we have the rest of today and all day tomorrow before flying home at 11pm.

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