Homeward Bound

And now, after everything, it’s time to go home.

I am so tired I can’t seem to think about anything but sleeping in my own bed – and that’s still a long way away.

We arrived in Los Angeles earlier than scheduled, and thus managed to get to the hotel by a little before ten. Unfortunately, they’d lost our reservation, and despite their apologies and the ‘upgrade’ they were supposedly giving us for being patient, I’m pretty sure we didn’t even get the room I booked let alone a better one. Worse, I’m pretty sure I paid in advance, but they charged us when we checked out; I’ll have to check my credit card to be sure, and that’ll have to wait until we get home, so we’ll see. It’ll be a pain if I have to chase them up over it, so I hope I’m wrong.

In any case, the hotel was otherwise fine, and only a block from Sunset Boulevard, in West Hollywood, which was certainly relatively convenient. We rushed the shower, and then a real bed, and that was really as much as we needed right then.

Wednesday was cool and damp but not outright wet for the most part. We witnessed a car accident within five minutes of leaving our hotel, and saw several more examples of road rage and near miss accidents in the time that followed. I am never driving in Los Angeles. Never, ever, ever.

We quite liked West Hollywood, though I am still not really a fan of Los Angeles in general. We spent quite a lot of time wandering, before eventually heading to find a bus to take us to Santa Monica, where we were eventually due to meet up with a friend of Rohan’s. Unfortunately, it turns out that only some of the 704 buses go all the way to Santa Monica – the rest stop short. Guess which kind ours was? Oh yes.

So we ended up walking the 4.5 miles to Santa Monica, which just about killed me. My joints ache. No matter.

The smog, once we finally got to Santa Monica, was intense. It made the whole thing seem almost post-apocalyptic. I am well and truly spoiled by Australian beaches, I think. We had restorative cocktails in the pier, and then walked down to the end and enjoyed the kitschy tourism of it all. When we walked back, long tables had been set up in the park: right next to all the decadence, there was a mobile soup kitchen handing out dinner to homeless person after homeless person. There are so many of them – it’s just awful.

Later, we were picked up by Rohan’s friend Ashley and her boyfriend, and we all had a pleasant dinner of vegetarian Indian food; they also saved us from the public transport system by driving us home. Where I promptly collapsed, swearing never to walk again.

Clearly, not a statement I intended to actually live up to, especially since we’d decided somewhere along the line that since we had to check out of the hotel by midday, and our flight was not until 11:50pm, we might as well go out with a bang and do Universal Studios.

More walking was definitely called for.

But first we had breakfast at a 50s style diner (which was surprisingly tasty), and rustled up some internet access to check messages – and then there was a cab ride through Laurel Canyon, past Mulholland Drive, and out towards Studio City.

I’d been to Universal Studies before– I want to say it was in 1998, when I was last in LA, but it’s possible it was before then. In either case, it was a long time ago, so I was pretty confident things would have changed since then. Actually, not everything had. I’m pretty convinced that the Waterworld show was on when I was there– despite still not having seen the film, I probably enjoyed it more this time. Although the script is terrible. That, and the Studio Tour, were obvious highlights, and definitely made the day worthwhile. The whole thing was kitsch and over-commercialised, but still fun.

Our cab on the way home took us through Hollywood itself, so I guess we ticked that box this trip, too, even if we didn’t walk down the hall of fame, or see anything in detail. Not really important to us, in the end.

We filled our last few hours with (more) cocktails and a shared pizza, and now we’re killing time at the airport.

I can’t say it feels as though this holiday has disappeared in a flash, because it’s honestly hard to remember when we left home. I will be glad to get home, though that definitely doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to the hundreds and hundreds of emails waiting for me at work… or being at work at all.

When do we get to go away next?

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