Woke up early, could bave slept way longer, but we needed to beat
the traffic to LA. I was nervous, and we were supposed to meet
the others downstairs at nine, and when they were not there at 9
sharp I lost it.
WHERE ARE THEY? well, no worry, everybody is there at 09.01. Still, that uncontrolable nervous feeling. Will our planned trip
to the beach turn into a 6 hr trafficjam somewhere on highway 15? First thing we needed to do, was fill our beloved Dodge (we just
didnt give it a name yet) with gas for the trek back to LA.
One of the things we always seem to f up is getting gas. (one of
the other things is getting the shower on within one hour)
yesterday Robert was going "does it run on diesel? does it run on
gas?" all day and Isaid "I think 99,9% of the cars here run on gas"
"but what if THIS ONE runs on diesel?"
I'm glad he found out somehow. We went to the Chevron and he went
inside to pay (thank you for that nice big sign saying PAY INSIDE
FIRST) and got 25 gallon of gas. Not just like that... nothing
happened... guess what, you have to push that yellow button! But
hey, we found out within one minute, and I wrote it down here,
so I hope next time we do it right in one time.
We also found out
that our van is so automatic, the doors open as soon as it sees
us coming!!! (but in reality, it was Micio who pressed a button)
We went to the Starbucks to get coffee (and knocked down their
"line starts here" sign, I guess you had to be there) and some
breakfast, turned the car around to the highway and....
"why is that traffic up there so slow? Where are the lining up
for?" Oh, goodness. That slow traffic wasnt lining up, it was slow
traffic on the I15 to Los Angeles.... going not faster than
15mph... we freaked out and entered the highway.
Only thing we could do was keep or fingers crossed, but I was so
nervous... couple of 100 miles to go, and we're barely moving. But as we say over here, "the crazy ones are the lucky ones",
the slow traffic only lasted for maybe 10 minutes and shorty
after we even went downhill way to fast ("SLOW DOWN YOUR GOING
90!!!!!") < just kidding, not THAT fast.
We got the drivers manual out one more time and this time Robert
was able to set the cruise control. Radio back on Willies
Roadhouse, oh yeah! Though we were going normal speed (except downhill ;-) it was
very busy on the road, and we were glad that we had left this
early. But the nerves stayed, what would happen if we came near
LA? I thougt I was ging to be used to the desert, but it still made
me feel really uncomfortable. I just still cant believe people
wanna live in a environment like this.
All that... endless emptyness! I must admit I felt just as
uneasy as I do in airplanes. I'm always happy when I'm out of
We saw several cars with problems at the side of the road and
I crossed my fingers
Passing Barstow, we saw the things we missed on saturday night
in the dark... pretty smooth looking hills and "a forest" (aww,
haha, ehm) Again interesting out of state plates (New York?!
WOW!) interesting huge trucks, IHOP in every mall, and a lot
of Prius cars, and a lot of sportscars, Osmo knew them all by
brand, and type,and every detail
|the worlds biggest thermometer in Baker|
The GPS made clear that Hollywood was not to far away anymore.
So, we made it to metropolitan LA without crazy traffic, but
what when we entered the 10?
I was supposed to call BL, but my cellphone battery died, talking
about timing.... we passed Forrest Lawn Cemetary, apparently very famous. As it
was Memorial Day, there were a lot of people there. One thing
that impressed me a lot was a small group of people sitting at
a grave underneath a parasol, with a coolerbox.
It was just a miracle; smooth traffic on the I10, and we drove
into the city without any problem, we made it! Memorial Day
|Sunset Blvd near our motel|
BLs hotel was supposed to be on Highland near Hollywood BLvd.
we were all looking for "Hollywood Guest inn" as that was on
my paper. We didnt find it because that was the name of OUR
To keep a very stressfull and anoying hour short: we met
Betty Lou at our hotel and the reunion was great!!! Sister in
crime!! It has been way too long!
She talked to the manager and although we were too early to
check in, we were alowed in our room so we could leave the
bags. Checking in (including an airco set on minus 30°) was
funny, the guy was funny and friendly and we asked him stuff
about the neighbourhood and dinner. For some reason he thought
I WAS AMERICAN haha! I took that as a compliment :-D and no,
"Hollywood isn't dangerous at night, we're not in Los Angeles!"
(but he also told us you can't eat at the Hard Rock Café,
so I was not really convinced)
The Finns went to their room, across the building from ours,
and there seemed to be a slight problem... the doorkey didnt
work. After messing around for minutes, just as
they wanted to go back to the check in desk, the door was opened
from the inside, by a total weirdo who was smoking pot!! They
apologized and checked again, obviously they had the wrong
room :-D Alessio wanted to stay in Hollywood to check things out, and
we went to Santa Monica.
It was a nice drive up there (lots of streets with purple trees)
we drove through Beverly Hills and there was in general a lot to
we reached Santa Monica without problems, but it got a bit
crowded, and when we came downtown looking for a parkingspot,
the combination of Memorial Day and a road construction site
was deadly. Serious, we saw the same light turn to green about 10
times. One big mess. Lots of yelling in the car again, and the
question “who’s going to the beach at 3pm?!” well, THEM! Just
like us! After a while, Robert noticed the lane to turn left
was free, nobody was on it. That should have been a sign :-D
but we thought “ef it, lets go” and we turned left...
BIG BLUE BUS!!!!
Hahaha that was so funny. We stood at the entrance of the
Big Blue Bus company/garage.
I still dont know why exactly it was so funny, but it was.
(maybe its also just that silly name. I cant imagine a buscompany
called “Grote Blauwe Bus” over here) At least, we were able to
escape the gridlock in front of the eternal green-to-red light,
and Robert parked the van at the first carparking he saw, a
“valet parking” that was 20 dollar. My first thought “whaaat!!
For 3 hrs?! we’re not in Paris!!!” but there was no other
choice, also, we were with 6 to split so we handed the key over.
|downtown Santa Monica|
When we got out of the van, we smelled the ocean air, we
mingled with the crowd and walked through the buisy but not
overcrowded charming streets towards the pier. There were lots
of shops, but we crossed a real shoppingstreet I recognized
from various tv shows, so it’s probably famous. It had a cool
waterspitting dinosaur fountain, and everywhere I looked I saw
European shops. (HM; Desigual....) Towards the beach restaurants
and bars and lots of chilling people.
|nice tree near the ocean|
|American and Californian flag waving half-mast because of Memorial Day|
There it was, the pier, finally. After looking at it from a
distance for several times from Venice Beach, I made it! There
were lots of people, but I never had the feeling it was too
crowded. I told Betty Lou I was looking for Fair food,
*anything* on a stick, preferable deepfried chocolate or
something, but if I couldnt find anything, a corndog.
Also wanted to try a funnelcake. Seen many pictures of it
but still couldnt make anything of it. BL said she read
somewhere it had dutch roots, and I went “Ha! Sure!” well..
I know, its very touristic on the pier, and there are lots
of tourists. But it was just a perfect afternoon out. The
weather was great, and it was so relaxing, esp after all that
stress of getting around. There were arcade games and hotdog
stands and a Bubba Gump shop (the “Run Forest, Run!” shirt
and a German Currywurst stall. Many little souvenir stands and
the obvious tacky souvenirs. Also a looooot of Route 66
souvenirs, as the pier is the official end of Route 66. It
had a nice sign that we needed to take our picture with.
|and... Hi Francis! ;-)|
(note Roberts shirt, he wore for the occasion!
The Spirit of 66 is a very cool music venue not far from
where we live, and they have lots of Americana decoration and
a huge route 66 mural above the stage) We saw lots of people
fishing, and on the beach below many people were enjoying the
sun. There was a girl singing and she had a big hat of money in
front of her, and the “New York Trapeze School” with girls
flying through the air.
Several stands sold funnelcake, so we went to get some.
A mystery about to unravel... So, this is a funnelcake: the same dough as the “oliebollen”
or “smoutebollen” are made of, deepfried, not in balls,
but in long “strings” curled up so it fits on your plate.
It even came with powdered sugar! Needless to say it tasted
very good, and I liked the shape it came in, the “curled up
strings” made it easy to pick small pieces, and also made the
whole thing more crispy. Some oliebollen can be very...
untasty in the middle.
Robert and I decided to call it “smoute slierten” I didnt
finish the plate because of the calories, but Robert was
happy to do so.
At the end of the pier there was a small souvenirshop that
fridgemagnets (the 405 one cracked us up) We also found a
police-pick up truck with a police surfboard on the back. We
thought that was funny, but serious its not untill I write
this, that I get the image of a police officer on a police
surfboard hahaha!! No, it didnt have a flashlight.
At start of the pier we saw the big merry go round (is it
normal for the USA to have these indoors?) and we went to
take a look. All of a sudden, Betty Lou noticed that one of
the rides was a goat, and as she loves goats, she had to make
a ride! Anne and I gladly joined her, but when we were let
in, (passing a sign that said “if your over 200 lbs you cant
ride the horses, you have to sit in a chariot” I thought “wtf,
Americans, a notification for people over 200 kilo!!” it took
me a while to realize it's LBS, and 200lbs is about 90 kilo,
less than the average normal grown up man. Sorry Americans)
anyway when we were let in, there was already someone on the
goat, and Anne and I were told to go to the otherside, so we
ended up separated from BL (who ofcourse talked the guy on the
goat off of the goat) Last time I got in a merry go round I got
sick, and this time... I got sick again! I’m such a nerd! I
wasn't even on a moving horse :-D I got over it though so in
the end it was fun.
I was slightly dissapointed with the lack of weird stuff on a
stick, so when I spotted Hotdog On A Stick off the pier, I
asked the others if we still had time. We did, and there I was,
having a Corndog.
I took one bite and was disgusted. The dough around the
hotdog was sweet, till my surprise, and the hotdog itself was
overcooked and limpy. (for the non-Americans: a corndog is a
hotdog, dipped in a dough coat and then deepfried) – voor de
Nederlanders en Belgen: het smaakte naar een oliebol met een
knakworst erin) I tried a few more bites but it got worse.
I tried to give it to Robert, who looked at it and said “i’m
not touching that” and I gave it to Betty Lou, who took two
bites, said “it is bad” and threw it away. So far for Food
On A Stick :-D
|at the entrance of the pier|
|more nice trees near the ocean|
While I was standing in line for the corndog, I looked at some
girls on flipflops riding their bicycles uphill – no gear, wow!
I would like to ride a bike along the beach next time, I have
the strange desire to get on a bike in LA (also had it in NYC)
but the beach is probably the best spot. (the bikelane on the
beach I mean) I saw many bikelanes in LA, what surprised me,
(im sure I saw them before, and that it surprised me back then
too everytime) and I ABSOLUTELY love, love, love, those
bikeracks on the front of the city busses! I still dont know
if you have to hang your bike in it yourself, (cant imagine
the driver will come out to help) but the idea just rocks.
They totally need to introduce it over here. And, I need one
of those cupholders I saw on a lot of bikes! I can see myself
with a coffee on my bike to work :-)
Walking back to the van, I saw one of the reasons why Robert
said “I’m not going to drive a Fiat 500 in LA”,(he actually did
say it in less nice words) On the street, parked in the lane to
turn left, was a Fiat 500. Coming from the left, was one of
those huge red double
Metro Rapid busses (I still feel sorry that my bus-obsessed
nephew Ben wasnt there, he would have loved them) The bus took
his turn a bit wide, and ended up nose to nose with the Fiat
500. Imagine a tiny Italian car versus huge American bus?! The
bus kept moving, so the Fiat started moving back. And a bit more,
and a bit more. The bus didnt wait for the Fiat to move back
enough, it just took every inch it had. I have the deepest,
deepest, deepest respect for the driver of that car.
|so they really throw the newspaper on the driveway...|
We got back to LA much easier than we left, and found Alessio
in the motel. He was a bit bummed by the tacky stuff he saw in
Hollywood, but he also saw Ripleys. The tiny parkinglot of the
hotel was full when we came back, and the owner moved his own
car to make some room for us. Tiny detail: we had to go around
the block to enter the parking from that side. There was a lot
of confusion and stuff and in the end Robert left the street
with screaming tires and DROVE SUNSET BOULEVARD the WRONG WAY!!!
Though it was only 100 meter, and though the owner of the motel
was waiting for him right there, expecting him to do so :-D
Betty Lou was still on the backseat, I think she has strong
nerves! Alessio was complaining about the noisy rooms, they were on
the streetside of the motel and he said “also, I heard Petra as
soon as she got out of the van” Dearest Alessio, I dont think
THAT has anything to do with the quality of the rooms....
|at the motel|
|(and no thats not an UFO thats my retarded photocamera acting up :-(|
A quick refreshement, and off to Hollywood Boulevard, to see
Johns star and have dinner. Though I’ve seen the star quite a
few times now, I still think its cool to see.
Also, being back there, catapulted me back to the last time
I’ve been there; with a group of crazy Germans last year,
cleaning up the star with a cloth, and then taking 1000
pictures of it, with our caps, with a guitar, with us and a
guitar, with us and a cap, etc, etc, etc, staying there for at
least one hour. The star was a bit dirty and I felt offended,
and I noticed I wasnt the only one. After some picks we crossed
the street to Bowies star for Anne. There were still lots of
tourists around, and also the ever omnipresent dressed up
actors. There were several Batmen, there was Supergirl, some
Johnny Depps, a bunch of folks I didnt recognize, Wolverine,
the Hulk... A small madhouse in front of the Kodak Theatre, people handing
out flyers for tours, actors, people selling food...
|At John's star ...|
I have mixed feelings about the Hard Rock Café. On one hand I
think its over-tacky, they are proud that their t-shirt is the
best selling souvenir in the world, but for me that also makes
it the most tacky shirt. I know people who collect shirts from
every HRC they go... and stuff like that. Coming from someone
who is collecting fridge magnets it might sound stupid, but
it’s just not my thing. And they’re the same everywhere... But
what I do like about the HRC in America is their food. You get a
good meal for a decent price. If you dont have the time (or guts)
to find a good, cheap local restaurant, the HRC is perfect I
think. And ofcourse, it's over-decorated with rockmemorabilia!
(although someone told me there’s fake stuff too) As a musicfan,
its just fun to see all sorts of rock souvenirs. Hoping they
are real. And the never ending stream of musicclips on tv, but
that also makes that sometimes no one is looking or talking to
eachother but gasping at the screens.
|waiting to be seated in the Hard Rock Café|
One of these screens is behind the corner in the shop, and as
soon as we entered, Anne started screaming “JOHN!!! JOHN!!!
JOHN!!!!!” we all freaked out not knowing what was going on,
but then we noticed Johns face onscreen. After that a clip of
Hard Rock Live was shown!! We all rushed over to look at it.
Betty Lou told the guy behind the counter “they were there!”
and the guy said “oh really” and just didnt say “because I dont
give a fuck!” hahaha!
Finally we got a table and the friendly waitress brought us our
drinks while we studied the menu. It didnt take long to discover
the horrible oh horrible fact that they took the Cobbsalad off
the menu. Bummer! I found something else with avocado :-D
and ordered a side of those nice fries. Robert cant stand
choosing something on a menu with funny fancy names, didnt know
what to order and ended up with chickenwings so spicy, they
almost burned holes in his plate. (well, that was his idea; I
thought they were nice <evil> The salad was good and it was nice
to sit and talk, but we were also very tired.
|Robert found a girlfriend in the souvenirshop|
After the meal, the night had set in, and I guided the others
to a nice spot to see the Hollywood sign. Like a pro. I mean,
I’ve been here several times before, so Hollywood doesn't have
secrets for me. Ehm, hum... I guided them up to those bridges
in the Hollywood/Highland mall. There were no tourists around,
and that should have been a sign. We walked up the bridge, I said
“and there it... is? Where is it?” yeah, where is it? I could see the red lights of the tower on the
top of the hill, but the rest was as black as the night. There
you go, one of the most famous landsights ON THE WORLD, and it
isn't lit at night! There is probably a good reason for it, but
we just stood there puzzled. Bummer. We left, and at the same time two tourists entered the bridge,
faces shining of expectation, photocamera’s ready, peaking at
the direction of the Sign... we just let
them discover themself.
|"Christmas in July" ?! Xmas shop in the mall!|
We quickly went into Hot Topic, to look at some shirts, went
to the Starbucks, and crossed the street to the souvenirshops
to look at the shirts. By then I was really getting so tired...
and movies and movie-souvenirs .... just
doesnt do it for me (where were the girly Lebowki shirts? Any
other cool Lebowski stuff?) Robert and I went outside and I
noticed how there were some weirdo’s on the streets, but it
didnt look to creepy to me. It was still crowded. There were
some panhandlers but they didnt bother no one. One of them was
zigzagging the street in a wheelchair, asking for money to
people in cars, getting some, then rushing his butt back to the
sidewalk when the lights turned green, he looked very skilled.
walked back to the hotel, we saw the police pulling someone
over (thought it was funny how the speaker went on going “TURN.
RIGHT.”, after the guy stopped his car), and that
was about it.
As we were going to leave our bags in Betty Lou’s room for the
next day and night, we agreed that we would meet her at 10.30,
and leave for the venue at 11 (yeah, the doors opened at 7,
why you ask?) Near our hotel, the Rite Aid caught my eye and Anne and I went
in, looking at random stuff. So many interesting snacks, but
they all came in huge bags. We saw a bag of M&Ms that was more
than 1.1 kilo! Looking at all the typical American stuff,
combined with our exhaustement, we couldnt help laughing all
the time, but it was the birthdaycard Anne spotted, that
nearly made me fall between the shelves. It had a dancing and
singing diaper on it. It was so silly!!!
Who invents stuff like that? Back in the room, Robert already slept, and I spent over an hour