So finally came the morning that we were due to depart for Hollywood – our final destination for this trip.
So we got up and sat outside the front office and waited for out pre-purchased shuttle to arrive.. and we waited a little more… and after an hour.. mum finally decided maybe something had gone wrong… and as she lifted that phone to call the shuttle company that was meant to have collected us an hour ago.. so began a long debate. A debate which pretty much.. resulted in a total 2 hours of waiting around, loosing daylight.. and did not result in.. a pick up or a resolution.
And I cannot even be bothered to go into details of how tedious this whole exchange was to watch.. It was my frustrated parents vs the horrible, shitty service staff of America. And neither are a side I wish to be a part of..
But, what is the important point of this story. Is that only after 2 long hours did my parents give up.. And they gave up.. because they had to.. And because no progress was being made in our getting to Hollywood AT ALL.. and this leads to an important moral of the story.. Which is that SuperShuttles is NOT a company to be relied upon. They should not be relied upon to pick you up on time. They should not be relied upon to pick you up in general. And they should not be relied upon to fix I problem if they are to cause one.
And actually after 2 hours of arguing about how we were going to make it to Hollywood in the light of their terrible service.. I was faced with the confusion of choosing between feelings of admiration towards my mums persistence… and mourning over the amount of time that had been wasted… I guess one can feel both.
Any way thank goodness the receptionist at the hotel was aware of a more reliable driver who could match the price that we had already paid for the first no-show shuttle. So without wasting any further time, we jumped on her offer to give him a call. And somewhere around 3 hours later than intended.. we were on our way to Hollywood!
It was only a short drive from Anaheim to Hollywood. About an hour or so. And the ride was smooth and the driver was lovely once we did manage to get on our way.
However when we arrived we did have one more surprise.. Becaus well… Hollywood.. for all its glamorous movie screen hype.. is damn well derelict.. And further.. the hotel we were staying in.. Was apparently on the side of town where you don’t go walking at night time..The side of town where you don’t carry your valuable possessions around in the view of any body else.. The side of town where the possibility of your being mugged if you are to walk the street alone is high enough to demand warnings from 3 seperate individuals.
And this side of town. Was literally 1 block down from the Hollywood “Walk of Fame”.. We weren’t staying in some abstract, far away town on the edge of Hollywood. We were staying IN Hollywood.. It’s just not what you imagine.
So any way, our first day was limited due to our late arrival and the multiple warnings we had been given about being out in the area after dark.. so we took a brisk walk up to the “Walk of Fame” and had a browse through some of the many many souvenir stores that were along that Boulevard.
In fact all that was really along that Boulevard was souvenir stores, adult “toy” and dress up stores and “smoke” shops… and some how the only clothing mall and all the restaurants were right in the middle of it.. so we had to endure a wonderful family stroll past all of these elaborate store fronts before we could find somewhere to sit down for dinner.. But we were fortunate in our journey to happen upon a red carpet premier, which was setting up for the arrival of the actors in the Wedding Crashers movie which is about to come out in cinemas. So we got some Mexican at at restaurant across the road and sat upstairs where we had a perfect view of what was going on. And although this movie doesn’t really contain any “A-list” performers.. I was really surprised that there weren’t any fans crowding out our spot, because we really did have the perfect view. There was only one other person there.. With his big, professional camera and super-zoom lense. A legitimate paparazzi who had all of the information on who was turning up here and at what time. And also knew who was having dinner across town.. so we ended up spending the next 2 hours sitting there eating dinner and listening to how exactly it is that he makes a living off invading the privacy of other people..
I definitely do not admire the people of the paparazzi to say the least.. I don’t but into fashion magazines. I don’t care about the names of actors. I would never buy something because someone else was seen in something similar.. I like to be.. relatively individual. I like to think and make decisions for myself without “tips” from random strangers trying to make a sale.. And I didn’t particularly like anything about this guy.. Although I can appreciate that at a red carpet event, “celebrities are literally there to have their picture taken.. so the man was doing no wrong in this scenario. However he was sitting there the whole time, undecided about whether he would get a bigger pay out shooting at this event, or sneeking across town to crash some one else’s dinner reservation and get some shots there.. I’m glad that in this instance he took the moral high ground.. and no doubt the next day, some fashion magazine printed out a million copies of the same, manipulative information that it prints out every week. But this time, with his picture included.
Day two was tour day! And after how much I had utterly thrived on the experience of watching “celebrities” stand in front of flashing cameras on day one.. you can imagine how excited I was to now be boarding an 8 man, roofless bus for a tour around the “celebrity” houses of Hollywood and Beverly Hills..
OK the truth is I wasn’t that excited (just in case my sarcasm doesn’t completely transcribe through text).
BUT I was interested in looking at nice houses.. regardless of who ever it was that was living in them. I think if I go back to uni for anything it’ll be interior design or architecture..
So anyway! This tour went for maybe 4 hours, and took us out to both the Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills. And as it turns out, Beverly Hills is actually a beautiful suburb! Its all palm-tree lined streets, green curbs and clean mansions. . In contrast the Hollywood Hills.. well..I can’t really understand why any one would pay so much to live out there.. its really just another suburb on windy, hilly streets with a view over a very smoggy, dirty city below.. I would undoubtedly want to choose Beverly Hills if I had the money.. BUT in saying that… the class division between the Beverly Hills “elite” and the working class Hollywood.. is SO clear..that its all disgusting. In fact when you drive down the street that marks the divide between Beverly Hills and the rest of Hollywood.. you can literally see the division, because one side of the road is lined with palm trees while the other one is lined with regular trees… In Beverly Hills the fire hydrants are also silver instead of red, the street signs are white instead of blue.. and apparently even the police arrive in a more timely manner than in any other suburb.. its crazy. The place distinguishes itself from every where and every one else in every way possible..
And of course there were security cameras and guards at many of the homes to try and protect the residents against.. well.. the likes of us and our tour guides.
So after looking into the lives of others for several hours we all de-boarded the bus back on Hollywood Boulevard. And as we got out we noticed a significant crowd of people lining up to watch the Jimmy Kimmel show live. Which would have actually been cool to see! I love live comedy and my little brother would have loved to see how TV is filmed (as he aspires to be an actor) – but unfortunately after standing in line for 2 hours to find out if there would be any last minute empty seats for the show.. we were told the answer was ‘no’. SO we settled for Mexican dinner instead.
And then Shane (my little brother) was due to meet with an American friend of his back at our hotel.. so we rushed back with him and met his friend. And she actually took us all to a very cute market place out by her flat and to the Hollywood Planetarium! Which was cool. The marketplace was probably the highlight of Hollywood for all of us. I found a whole store of stickers! Which I loved. And we all enjoyed doing some last minute gift shopping and finding some food.
And it was a good way to spend our last night together.
Because at 4am the next morning my little brother was off to the airport to catch his flight home to New Zealand.. and mum and dad left later in the afternoon to do the same.
And although I cannot deny that I was ready to leave America, and was ready to leave my family for a while.. it was sad to say goodbye, knowing that I wasn’t going home with them. And knowing that I had no plans to be home in the near future..
BUT as my last night in the USA began, and as I checked into my final hotel alone.. I was excited to get to my next stop – London!