Hi all, it’s been a while since our last post, so there’s some catching up to do, but here the LA bit.
30th Jan – 2 Feb 2012
We flew from Mexico to LA for a stopover of 3 days before our flight to Auckland. Whilst at Mexico City airport after we had checked in, Fran casually commented on how we were getting used to all this international travel thing and how it was becoming “almost adrenalin free”. That seemed like a dangerous thing to say and sure enough, as we got to security and handed our boarding passes in, I had lost mine including the Mexican tourist visa, without which I could not leave the country! There followed a hair raising 45 minutes as I chased around the airport to the check in and immigration and the police station and back to the check in again finally getting a replacement pass and visa. Poor Fran had been waiting all tis time at the security gate without knowing what was going on and was pretty worried by the time I got back. Luckily we had a good amount of time and had a thrilling ride an a beeping airport caddy to compensate and boarded the plane flushed but not late.
Our seat neighbour on the plane was a very old Mexican gent who seemed absolutely terrified and was staring at us strangely. We were a bit worried about him as he gesticulated at his groin obviously wanting the toilet, just as we got airborne he got out of his seat and had to be forcibly put back by the stewardess. The poor guy must have had dementia and he was separated from the rest of his family by a few rows. Luckily his son or grandson was able to swap seats and be nearer him for the rest of the trip. It was pretty bizarre as he was in the aisle seat and would not move if we wanted to get out, so we had to clamber over him, he seemed oblivious to it all though.
We stayed at the Hollywood Express Inn motel in Hollywood which was cheap and cheerful (if you like stained beige!) and a good base for a couple of visits into Hollywood and downtown LA itself. Taking the Bus and Metro we traveled to Hollywood Boulevard where we did the the touristy things (The Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theatre etc.) Fran sat on George Clooney’s hands outside the Chinese theatre, much to her excitement. There were some great vintage clothing and costume shops and we had a tasty lunch at Devils Cafe where the waiter was, in true American style, really friendly and helpful and a real beer connoisseur. As we strolled down Hollywood I was alarmed to see Nicolas Cage, our nemesis of many a Mexican bus journey, standing in the middle of the pavement. “Ah” I thought, “it’s not really Old Nic himself, it’s just one of those street artists”. Fran was urging me to go and stand next to him for the photo op and I was whinging on about having to give them money and so on. She laughed heartily (much too heartily in my opinion) and pointed out that said Cage was in fact a wax statue advertising the Madam Tussauds Museum we were standing next to, I must get some new specs…
We made one journey on the Metro hoping to get to Long Beach, but it seemed like it would take forever as the Metro came above ground and joined with cars in stopping at all the traffic lights (where’s the sense in that?) So we hopped off and abandoned the beach trip. Fran was also not feeling to good with a tummy bug and the thought of the long train trip was not good. We headed back to our room and watched Patrick Jane in ‘The Mentalist’ on our computer cosying up on the brown and beige bed.
By this time in our travels for some reason I had been neglecting to get my hair cut and it was, to say the least, getting a bit out of control. Despite many a fine hair cut in Mexico I got a bit paranoid about barbers, as all the ones we passed by in San Cristobal seemed to me like the sort of place where you might never return from. Either that or Lady’s salons and not nearly manly enough for me. I was looking for just the right sort of “something for the weekend, sir?” barbershop and Mexico just wasn’t turning up trumps. Anyway, by the time we got to LA I was getting increasing desperate and reaching that state where you really need to get any old haircut, but at the same time feel too embarrassed to go into a barbers because you look like such a freak. I had to bite the bullet and I spotted a shop whilst on the bus, so I left Fran to go back to the room whilst I braved the barber’s chair. Of course the guy was Mexican and could hardly speak english, which was pretty ironic. Also there was a very old and emaciated Chihuahua dog sitting in the chair next to me eying me beadily for the whole proceedings. The worst bit was when he combed my hair up on the top of my head up to an alarming 5 inches and then rotated my chair around so that all the other customers could see my predicament. He didn’t want to move around the chair, so he just rotated the customers around him as he stayed rooted to the spot. I made my escape eventually , all in all a traumatic experience, but at last a shorn head.
On the last day to spend some time before our 11.30pm flight to New Zealand, we went to Echo Park neighbourhood, hoping to walk around the park itself only to find it shut with all it’s ducks strangely re-located. Fran decided to go for a Thai Massage where a small but very powerful woman stretched her in ways she’d never been stretched before. I had found a good little acoustic guitar shop where I spent a couple of happy hours playing all their most expensive guitars. There was a great shop called the Time Travel Emporium (or something like that) where wonderful things could be found including; Time Travel Sickness pills, leeches, 1970’s retro donuts, the 4 humours – Yellow Bile for deciders, Phlegm for the rational, Blood for gadabouts, butterflies and prom queens and Black Bile for Artistic types. Also on sale, Rasputin Baby Shampoo, Moustaches, Bottles of Nihilism, Romanticism and Reaganism, Anti-Robot Fluid and lastly, Pure English Curry – The Most English Thing In The World!
We finished off the afternoon with a martini or 2 at a French bar and then rather drunkenly headed back to the motel by bus to retrieve our luggage and catch the airport shuttle and thence the big plane to New Zealand!
Gallery pics below…