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LA 5th April 2012

Today was our last day in LA before our road trip - we will be back in LA a few days before we fly home.

We started with a rush when I rang the Warner Brothers Tour people and we managed to get a booking at 9:20am. So we were all ou the door by 8:30am, not sure how long it would take to drive the 10 K's or so. It only took 10 minutes so we were there in plenty of time and even managed to get into the earlier 9:00am tour with our tour guide Marcus Baldwin. 

The tour goes for nearly 3 hours and takes you behind the scenes of many movies and TV shows. We even managed to see the desk used as the Oval Office desk in The West Wing - no big deal I hear you say but a big thrill for Rayls and I who are big fans of the show. The back lot tour was really interesting, the prop department was great - I guess the only negative was that the tour was somewhat focussed towards modern day shows that we had not really heard off. All in all a great tour which we all enjoyed.

After the tour we headed back towards the hotel with a stop at Dennys for lunch and a next door Staples to buy a map for Chris.

Back at the hotel around 1pm, where we rested. Rayls and I headed off around 4:30pm to the Staples Centre for the last Kings home game of the season. We had dbber at Lawrys again and then met up with Scott and Shannon to watch the game. Great game but sadly the Kings lost in a penalty shootout.

LA 4th April 2012

Rayls and Danny Kaye
Rayls and Danny Kaye

Beverley Hills was on the agenda today. We drove up into the hills admiring the houses and general scenery. We specifically checked out 10050 Cielo Drive, the site of the 1969 Sharon Tate murders.

We also checked out Griffith Park and eventually ended up at Century City where a Bloomingdales was checked out and then lunch at a Subway lunch.

Returned to the hotel for the usual rest before heading into Hollywoood at 4:00pm. Checked out Grauman's Chinese Theatre and parts of the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame. There are nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs in the concrete of the theatre's forecourt. This area is full of tourists, weirdos and a a myriad of costumed performers dressed up as anything from Spiderman, to Miney Mouse and numerous Transformer type characters.

We decided to have dinner at the Hollywood Hard Rock Cafe. Although there was more tables not occupied than were we had to wait 20 minutes for a table. The place is noisy and the service was average. I guess you expect loud music from a Hard Rock Cafe but I still did not enjoy the experience.


After dinner we went next door to the Kodak Theatre, this is where the Academy Award presentatins are held, here we met up wtith Scott and Shannon and watched Iris Cirque du Soleil. The cost for production of this show is US$120 million and it is scheduled to run for 10 years. The show takes a unique look at the history of cinema and combining that with Cirque du Soleil's traditional artistic works of dance, acrobatics, and modern circus traditions. The name of the show, Iris, is taken directly from both camera diaphragms as well as the coloured iris of the human eye. The theatre was only half full so a 10 year run may seem a bit ambitious. It was a great show and enjoyed by all.

LA 3rd April 2012

Albert Pujols
Former Cardinal, now Angel - Albert Pujols

Tuesday was a a bit of a mixed bag. Bitsy.

I started out by driving Rayls and Cath to a local Laundromat where much needed washing of clothes was done. It was an expensive process, around $30 to wash and dry around 4 loads of clothes. It is always nice to have the laundry out of the way for another week.

On the way back to the hotel we did a quick grocery-shopping run at Ralphs.

Around 11am we went in search of the Glendale Galleria, a large shopping mall where we aimed to have lunch. It was just a short drive from the hotel made much longer by the fact that I went the wrong way and ended up having to set up the GPS to get us there.

After some difficulty finding a parking spot, which included a mild dose of road rage, we parked and went down to this magnificent town square and had an Italian lunch. Rayls and I were in this area last November and the Christmas display was the very best I have ever seen. It is a large outdoor shopping community organised upon the idea of a city centre—with a mix of architectural styles, building heights and materials used, as well as vast open spaces at the projects' centre. The outdoor mall also features Waters of Americana, a fountain. The musical fountain, located in the central landscaped park, performs every hour, though a non-musical programme runs between shows. A gold-leaf statue rises from the centre of the fountain's smaller pool. It is a great and scenic place to have lunch.

We did some shopping; Chris was delighted to get some shoes like those he gets in Oz for basically half the price. Rayls bought a nice dress and a watch. I had an ice cream.

Back to the hotel around 3:30pm before heading out again at 5:30pm for a Subway dinner and then to Dodger Stadium for a baseball game between the LA Dodgers and the LA Angels of Anaheim. There we met up with Scott and Shannon and enjoyed a night of baseball and lively conversation.

We were back in the hotel by 10:45pm.

The photo, below right is of the LA skyline from the Dodger Stadium car park.

LA 2nd April 2012

Today was going to be a busy one for us oldies.

We were out at about 8:45am and headed for Universal Studies just a 10 minute driver away. We met up with Scott and Shannon at the front entry area and we all headed in.

We started out with the studio tour - the Tour is the signature attraction at the park, and goes into a working movie studio, with various film sets on the lot. We all sit in multi-car trams for the duration of the ride. The Tour lasts about 45-50 minutes and is led by a live tour guide who can be seen throughout the tram on video screens. It travels through the Front Lot, Backlot and various attractions, passing sets and props from movies along the way.

I did a couple of rides with Scott and Shannon; Jurassic Park: The Ride and Revenge of the Mummy. I am not sure if the Mummy ride was mostly in the dark or if I just had my eyes closed.

Then it was time for lunch followed by the Waterworld show - this attraction's story occurs after the events of the Waterworld movie, beginning with Helen's return from "Dryland" to get her friends from the "Atoll", and includes the characters Helen, the Deacon, and the Mariner as well as several "Atollers" and "Smokers". The show is 16 minutes long and includes stunts on water, land, and overhead, supported by many pyrotechnic, flame water, and other special effects, including the explosive crash landing of the seaplane. The stunt-show's unique soundtrack was crafted from snips from the movie score.The seating is in three sections of arena seating. The front seats are the "Soak Zones", which are the target of splashes from the Jet-Skis and various wet special effects. 

We left Universal around 2pm leaving Scott and Shannon to have more 'fun'

Hockey action
New camera's zoom seems to work OK

On the way back to the hotel for our daily rest we checked out the Burbank Fry's Electrical store where we bought a camera, a Canon with GPS, suitable zoom and 1080 HD video. Now to figure out how to use it.

Back to the hotel around 4pm and then at 5:15 we all headed into downtown LA for an LA Kings game against the Edmonton Oilers at the Staples Center. We met up with Scott and Shannon again and had dinner at Lawry's Cavery before going to the game. Ilove the atmoshere at these games - just awesome and we even took some photos. Great game which the Kings won 2 nil.

After the game it was back to the hotel and much needed sleep.

LA 1st April 2012

The camera has finally packed up. First thing today is a trip to either Fry's or Best Buy.

After a slow start we aimed for a local Best Buy to see about that camera, it was just after 9am and they didn't open till 10am so we called into a very nice place near by, Mimi's Cafe and had morning tea/breakfast.

Then to the Best Buy but nothing there that suited.

Onto the Santa Monica area where we checked out the Woodlawn Cemetery and the gravesite of Barbara Billingsley who played June Cleaver back in the 50's sitcom Leave it to Beaver. I was a big fan of that show. We also drove by Billingsley's Restaurant, which had a Best Buy across the road, no luck for that camera there either.

We did a drive by of the Santa Monica Pier and then started to drive back to the hotel. Heavy traffic so it took a while.

A rest at the hotel for a couple of house before Rayls and I headed south towards Torrance and dinner with Scott, Shannon and Shannon's parents Maria and Charlie. Charlie is ex LAPD so we chatted about that and I think we all got on pretty well. Dinner was nice and afterwards we went to a Fry's looking for that elusive camera. 8:30pm and the place was closed!!!!! 

So back to the hotel, still no camera.

Me and a Wal-Mart truck
Me and a Wal-Mart truck

LA 31st March 2012

Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive

Chris needed some summer clothes and so after brekkie we headed to a Wal-Mart. Then we had lunch at a Carrows, C&C have learnt their lesson and ordered to allow for the huge American portions.

After lunch we drove into Beverley Hills and Rodeo Drive where we went for a walk. Cath is into Georg Jensen Jewelers and was delighted to see a store there. A purchase was made.

After a wander around the sights we drove down Hollywood Boulevard, very busy both for traffic and pedestrians. We are thinking of doing a Hollywood Tour so didn't stop but looked as we drove past Mann's Chinese Theater and the other sites.

Then onto the Greek Theatre, Neil Diamond is performing here in August for the 40th Anniversary of his Hot August Night Album. That would be a cool show. The theatre is closed so it was just a look from the outside, a must for us Neil Diamond fans.

Back to the hotel for a rest. Around 6:30pm Rayls and I walked to a nearby Popeye's Restaurant where we bought some chicken and then back to the hotel. Cath and Chris had left overs from last nights Astros meal.  We spent around 4 hours in Cath and Chris's room playing Trivial Pursuit on an iPad and then reminiscing about the good old days with music and You Tube videos, a very pleasant evening.

For Pat and Kath, get Marty to buy the Trivial Pursuit game and lets have a game when we get back - a lot of fun although the Entertainment questions are no longer my favourite as they are too modern and I had never heard of many of the people they ask about. At least History is history.