maandag 17 juni 2013

may 27th reunited with Betty Lou, Santa Monica, Hollywood.


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 
it.
 


 We saw several cars with problems at the side of the road and 
I crossed my fingers 
everytime.
 
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 
Traffic, hah!
 

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 
hotel :-D
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) 
nice houses... 

 
we drove through Beverly Hills and there was in general a lot to 
see. 
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 
was tempting!) 
 
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.
Funnelcake!
 
 
 
At the end of the pier there was a small souvenirshop that 
old interesting 
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.
 When we 
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 
rearranging my 
suitcase.

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