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Thursday 12th August 2010:

On the morning of our final day in LA, Emily and I headed down to the Fashion District… It was in the downtown area and was certainly a little shifty, especially as it was still quite early when we arrived. We wandered around and scored a few cute bracelets and some cheap socks, wondering why the travel guides raved so much about this area if all we could see was dodgy iPod cases and plastic figurines… We quickly realised we hadn’t quite hit the fashion district yet, but were still in generic Downtown.

The Fashion District is great… if you like rummaging for hours, but we had done so much of that at It’s a Wrap, where everything was so incredible, that the so called Fashion District felt like a little bit of a let-down – although I did buy a pretty sweet-deal headband at one little store.

We wandered a little more before realising it was high time we found a bus, as we had to get to Paramount Studios for our tour!

This was easier said than done, although we eventually hopped on a bus that told us it was going to Melrose Place (where the studios are located). It did get there… after a million years of driving through the underbelly of LA. We were concerned we were going to be late, and after accidentally hopping off the bus a stop early, found ourselves sprinting to the gate as we didn’t want to miss a second of the tour!

Well the fates looked kindly upon us that day and we arrived with time to spare – allowing Emily to buy a coffee and me to find some water.

Our tour guide was from Ohio, and one of the first things he did was list of the shows currently filming at the studio, Emily and I only knew Glee, but this was ok because we LOVE Glee and the tour guide was more than willing to indulge our obsession, pointing out everything Glee-related. It was great too, because the rest of the group were pretty passive and didn’t really seem all that interested in anything – we weren’t sure why they bothered to show up!

We were taken around the studios, saw the filming of a television program, met an actor from a new show that hasn’t aired yet (turns out he was the nephew of one of the families in our tour group) and saw sets being dismantled and reassembled.

We saw where Marcia Brady had her nose famously crushed by a rogue football in the Brady Bunch, we saw where Norma Desmond famously said “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” in Sunset Blvd and we sat on the bench from Forrest Gump. We were also lucky enough to walk through the set of a new show starring Chevy Chase and saw a small section of Law & Order (or was it NSIC?) being filmed.

But this was not nearly as good as the fact that the Glee Gods blessed our sick obsession with a day full of Glee-filled moments: our first was when we saw a truck labeled “Glee”, which was shortly before LEA MICHELE (Rachel) cycled by on the pink bicycle often seen in the show.

We were thrilled enough with that that we didn’t mind if we didn’t see anything else as exciting… but as our tour guide was explaining to us how the studio used a carpark as a “sea” or “river” (in films such as Benjamin Button), the Glee Gods blessed us again first with a sighting of Dianna Agron (Quinn) and Naya Rivera (Santana), both in Cheerio’s uniform (spoiler perhaps? as Quinn was kicked off the squad), and then Cory Monteith (Finn) wandered past…

But that wasn’t the end of our jaw-dropping, squee moments, no. Mere minutes later, most of the rest of the major cast (Kevin McHale – Artie, Jenna Ushkowitz – Tina, Amber Riley – Mercedes, plus Other Asian) drove by in a golf cart, before running onto set.

Unfortunately Em and I couldn’t take photos, but those moments are burned into our memories so well I hardly care that there is no physical record.

The only thing that could have made it better would have been a Chris Colfer (Kurt) or Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) sighting… But I’m not complaining.

After that we joked about sneaking onto the Glee-set, but it is so tightly patrolled it would have been impossible. Oh well…

We continued the tour, saw Ryan Murphy’s office (with his Golden Globe in the window), which is located right where many Brady Bunch scenes were filmed, and heard lots of really cool stories about how they adapt different parts of the film studio (like office fronts and staff car parks) into movie sets with little or no effort. (The main carpark is used as the McKinley High carpark in Glee)

Our tour ended with our guide (and new best friend) showing us the exact bench that Principal Figgin’s sat on to film the Mumbai Air DVT socks ad… Needless to say Emily and I felt compelled to sit on the bench, and we got our photograph taken.

Unquestionably, our day was pretty freaking perfect… Until we looked at the time and had to run back to the hostel, grab our bags and run to the train station to get to the airport. Our feet, backs and legs were nearly destroyed by the time we made it to the airport.

We finally got on the airplane and watched the Disney Channel on our way to San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO: Thursday evening.

Our first few hours in San Fran was probably the lowest point of our entire trip. The directions to the hostel suggested the walk wasn’t very far… But they lied. It was right up ontop of some of the steepest hills in the city, and with our heavy bags, we struggled to make it to the top. It felt like a thousands years before Emily finally spotted the GREEN TORTOISE sign. We were so excited… only to find we had to get up three more flights of stairs with our shit. Thank god the people inside were so helpful. (I totally recommend the Green Tortoise Hostel, just don’t walk from the train, pay a bit extra and take the shuttle! Your back will thank you!)

After finally being able to dump our luggage, Emily and I wandered down the road into a little burrito shop… that served $6 burritos as big as our forearms. Neither of us finished.

We called it quits not long after, exhausted from everything about the day gone by. Goodbye LA, hallo SF!


Wednesday August 11 2010:

Emily and I left the hostel quite early to avoid the disgusting derro’s we shared a room with, many of whom were passed out on the floor and one had this green shit all over his feet (I only noticed this because he was right by the exit)!

We headed down Hollywood Blvd to a bus stop, headed for the Getty Centre in the Los Angeles’ hills. The bus arrived after what seemed like forever, so we got on and asked about the cost of a ticket, it was $1. At this point, a man towards the back of the bus became highly frustrated, jumped up, started swearing at us and calling us “dumb fucking tourists who waste everyone’s time” and jumped off the bus… It was an interesting start to the morning, for sure.

On the bus we drove past Whiskey-A-Go-Go, which both Emily and I were excited about, and we momentarily reminised about Neil Morgan’s amazing stories about the good old days at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go from Criminal Law. We then swapped buses at UCLA and headed up to the Getty Centre.

The hills of LA are so beautiful, they make you forget just how ugly Hollywood is and I think I will remember LA fondly because I saw a more attractive side of it. The Getty Centre is a real work of art, the gardens are full of the most amazing plants and the architecture itself is totally worth the trek from the tourist trap that is Hollywood. However, it’s a good thing that entry to the Getty Centre is free, as most of the art is pretty mediocre and very generic in nature – biblical, early modern, but nothing was particularly stand out fabulous… Alot of it seemed like cheap knock-offs of the beautiful artwork in European galleries, plus the gallery guards aren’t much fun and told Emily off for “standing too close” when she clearly wasn’t that close… All in all, the insides were very blah. It is the outside that makes the Getty Centre so great.

After we finally tore ourselves away from the Getty Centre (seriously, wandering the gardens there is something I’d happily do forever), we headed back on the bus and alighted at UCLA, where we spent a little time exploring the campus, before heading over towards Rodeo Drive.

We wandered through the suburban part of Rodeo Drive, which is another totally worthwhile part of LA, because the houses are so grand and the front gardens were stunning, we were the only people around as well, which made it that much better. I can totally see why people would want to live in LA if they could live in one of these houses.

Eventually Emily and I found ourselves on one of the most glamourous shopping strips in the world, it was nothing like I expected. Immaculate in every way: pristine white stores, filled with designer duds I can only dream of owning and sales assistants that stand so still we actually thought one was a particularly well-designed store mannequin. It was only when he came to life that we realised our minds were still playing tricks on us from the day before at the Wax Museum and we made a quick escape from his judging eyes… He knew we couldn’t afford the amazing $400 Tod’s loafers. 😦

From Rodeo Drive we wandered down the block to what was supposed to be the “more affordable” shopping in LA, but found nothing that particularly grabbed us – so we decided to head over to an op-shop I’d heard about called It’s a Wrap, where film studios send over all their old costumes for resale to the public. We got lost several times, and ended up miles away from where we wanted to be, but when we finally arrived the trek was more than worth it: a huge warehouse full of REAL designer clothing, worn once or twice by various television and film stars, and then sold to us! It was absolute HEAVEN! At the front of the store was alot of crap, and we were upset by some of the very small actress-sized outfits that were drool-worthy, but a bit of digging and we uncovered racks of real Armani, Diane Von Furstenberg, Gucci and in the corner I spotted Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks in almost perfect condition, mind for a bit of scuffing of the soles – it devastated me that the sizes were not right. The same went for the mountains of clothing sent in from the set of Ugly Betty – none of the sizes were right!

However, I did score a Valentino jacket from the Fox 8 Studios and a neat little Michael Kors jacket worn by London in the Suite Life of Zack & Cody from the Disney Channel, as well as a skirt that was worn by someone on As the World Turns. Emily got a great black jacket (show unknown) and a pair of pink trackpants worn by Hannah Montana. It was all-round one of the coolest shopping experiences ever and I am glad I’m not studying in LA or I would have already spent ALL my money at that store. (I think Emily’s wallet is also pleased she is up in Michigan.)

From there Emily and I decided we would go out to dinner, as we wanted to avoid the disgusting derros as long as possible. UrbanSpoon suggested a little restaurant called Cheebo’s which did amazing pizza and even better desserts. Crayons on the table kept us entertained, and we left a remarkable piece of artwork behind, they should put it in the Getty Centre – it would improve the collection significantly.

We arrived back at the hostel well after 11pm, pleased with ourselves for having avoided the gross derros, only to find they had checked-out and we had new roomies. They were pretty friendly, but a little bit weird and kept us up talking far later than we should have allowed considering the big day we had ahead of us…



August 10: Day 1 in Los Angeles

So I flew in the airbus from Sydney to LA, and it was super amazing and you get extra leg room and the seats go back way further, but that’s the boring stuff. It was an interesting flight, I watched some movies and I slept and then I went to the toilet.

Things that are Awkward: going to the toilet on an airplane, tired as hell, only to sit down on the loo and realise you are looking at yourself in a full length mirror. Watching yourself pee awkward rating: 11 out of 10.

Anyways, after what seemed like a million years I finally got to our hostel to find Emily and it was so exciting and we were so excited so we put on our summer clothes and went wandering… and got sunburnt in 27 C heat. Lol at the Australians.

We wandered into Hollywood, looked at some of the stars on the sidewalk, realised we didn’t know many of the so called “celebrities” and before long we found ourselves outside Madame Tussards. Hallo wax figure fun. (See facebook for the crazy that was our trip to wax-land.) We met Obama, George Clooney, Madonna, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Marilyn Monroe and most importantly, my future husband Zac Efron!!! What a whirlwind!

Then we wandered through Kodak Theatre and decided to take the guided tour of the Chinese Theatre. The guide was a crazy lady from England, but she was super entertaining because you could tell she was the most excited out of anyone on the tour. She was freaking, ridiculously excited.

We did a bit more wandering… and I bought my first headband of the trip (I have since accumulated four more and a hat!), which I was thrilled about.

Before long, the jet lag began to set in and we had dinner at Kung Pao Kitty which was delicious, before heading back for some zzz’s.
Unfortunately, our roomies back at the hostel were wanks who refused to even acknowledge us when we said hi, they had dirty dishes and empty pizza boxes everywhere and despite my asking that they turn down the music a little bit because we were jetlagged, they stayed up all night and kept making the music louder. Awful first nights sleep.

More later!

There’s Something About Georgia…

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