Solo Exploring in Hollywood, LA

Today I had an adventure by myself because there’s been a death in Ruth’s family so she had to stay at home with them. She suggested I took a bus to Hollywood to see the tourist things there, so that’s what I did. It was pretty easy because the bus was only about half an hour journey and it went from just down the road from her house and cost $1.50.

On the bus a young black guy started talking to me saying he liked my dreadlocks, so thankfully he could point me in the right direction when the bus terminated at Hollywood and Vine. He pointed down one road and said I should walk there to see all the stars and the Chinese theatre etc. I was surprised that the first stars I was walking over had names on that I’d never heard in my life.

The road I was on reminded me of Leicester Square or Oxford Street in London because it was full of tourist shops with $5 t-shirts and lighters and everything with LA and Hollywood written on it, and tour booths with promoters trying to make you buy tickets for the open-top bus tours etc.

I didn’t really have a plan but normally when I just walk round somewhere by myself, something cool happens, so I wasn’t planning on doing a tour, just hoping that I’d meet a friendly local person who would show me a hidden spot where I could discover something interesting other than the Hollywood sign that half the people on my Facebook have already taken a photo with.

It was quite easy to ignore most of the tour promoters but one of them was quite nice looking and very persistent, so I stayed to chat with him about random things, not only the tour, but (I don’t know how this happened) after about 20 minutes of conversation he was taking my $20 and handing me the tour ticket. He showed me to the strange looking open-top minibus with only about 4 rows of seats in, and told me he’d take me for a coffee when I got back in 2 hours.

The drive/guide was extremely annoying, but I’m guessing they’re all like that because it’s their job to be enthusiastic etc. He was playing annoying music through the speakers which had lyrics about Hollywood and LA, and kept saying things like “WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD FOLKS!!!” sounding like he was so happy that he’d just won the lottery or something. He was probably quite bored but a good actor. I was messaging Ruth like “I can’t believe I’m on a stupid tourist bus!”

My ears were popping as we drove high up to get to the Hollywood sign, and I was surprised that when he parked the minibus, the sign was actually still way higher up than us. Obviously everyone took photos, so I figured I should do the same considering I’d paid $20 for this:


After wandering around that area for a bit (surrounded by groups from the various other tour buses), we went to Beverley Hills (which I’d actually already driven through with Ruth the day before) to see where some famous people live. The minibus slowed down when we were approaching the giant gates of each house, and the guide told us, for example “this is Christina Aguilera’s house, but normally her younger sister stays here” or whatever. Normally we could only see a small part of the house that was showing above the gates. A lot of the houses were also famous because of a movie that had been shot there – he told us which scene etc.

It was kind of interesting for a while but when we kept just pulling up outside more and more shiny gates, it got a bit repetitive. The biggest one had 123 rooms. We also drove done Rodeo Drive which I hadn’t heard of but is apparently very well known and has been a part of a lot of films. It was just an immaculately clean street full of shops where you’d waste like $200 on a t-shirt, so I can’t say I was particularly thrilled, but I saw a few pretty cool cars parked there.

I don’t know how all this took 2 hours, but it did, and when we got back to Hollywood, sure enough the promoter man, Marcus, was there, and asked if I was coming to coffee with him. I didn’t see a reason not to so we walked to a coffee shop in the not-so-rich end of town and sat down for a while. I don’t normally do these things (meet up with guys for “dates” or whatever) because boys are normally just so annoying/stupid, but it was ok, not really awkward or anything, and I liked listening to his accent. I wouldn’t want to meet up with him again because to be honest I wasn’t interested in much that he was saying. He had to go back to work after so gave me his number and said I should call if I’m in the area again.

I then went on a hunt for the famous footprints etc that you can find at the Chinese Theatre. Again, I didn’t know who half the people were but I was happy to see that Denzel Washington’s foot and hand prints were there:


This is the Chinese Theatre:


There were loads of movie characters walking around taking photos with tourists for tips. None of them particularly interested me and I ignored them all until I spotted Mickey Mouse who is too cute to ignore:


I walked along another road with stars on and found the Bob Marley one near the first star in the whole line:


It was still kind of early so I went into this tall impressive shopping/restaurant complex with a fountain in the middle and this crazy architecture:


I went to eat at the cheapest place in there because some of the places were really posh, charging like $33 for a main course. It turned out to be great – the veggie burger was a double with lots of cheese, and it came with a side of your choice (mac ‘n cheese was included on the sides list so obviously I had to pick that) and salad for $13. I chilled there for a while after soaking up the sun and looking down at the middle area with the fountains.

I went to a few more shops after, including a crazy looking candy store (even though I don’t eat sweets or chocolate, but the bright colours just attracted me I think) where the man working at the front of the shop greeting the customers made conversation with me. After talking for about 5 minutes about what I was doing in LA etc, he said he was about to go on his lunch break and if I wanted, we could chill on the terrace of the shopping complex, so I said yes and we went up a couple of escalators to the top where you could look down to the road that’s shut off for the film premieres (as the candy shop guy was explaining to me) and to the street performers etc.

He was a friendly guy, I’m pretty sure there’s something in American genes that just makes them less awkward than English people! He gave me his number and, like the other guy, said he hopes to see me if I come back to Hollywood, and directed me to my bus stop to go back to Ruth’s house.

I got lost a few times because his directions weren’t that clear but as always, I found my way by asking people (always ask more than one person to be sure) and got back home fine. All in all it was a cool day and I think if I lived in America I’d go on way more dates than I do in England!!!

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