After a smooth enough flight, we arrived into LA airport at about 8:30pm. Again, hubby had done his research so we knew how to get in to the city. The first stage was to get the shuttle bus from the airport to the Metro Green Line. There were a few friendly people on the bus eager to help each other and let us know when to get off… actually it was the last stop of the route so that was easy. One lady who got on the bus had three young sons with her and the longest surfboard bag you’ve EVER seen. They hoisted it on the bus, with other passengers being very patient and having to shift and squirm to fit it in down the aisle. The kids were clearly surfers… classic shaggy white haired surfie look… and the Mum must’ve been taking them to or from a surfing competition. They reminded me of holidays in Port Macquarie when I was a child.
Once we got onto the platform at the Metro station we met two policemen who sauntered over to talk to us and ask us where we were from/going. They were nice enough but one of them was particularly making a point of telling us this area might not be all that safe. Oh great, thanks! We realised that apart from the policemen we were the only white people on the station. But I didn't actually feel unsafe at that point because I'm not racist and the other commuters were just waiting for the train. We obviously wouldn't have got off the train anywhere other than our stop, and we could see out the window that a lot of that route was not very well lit at all, so one wouldn't want to go wandering about in those dark areas late at night… but that goes for anywhere in the world. So, suffice to say we shared a carriage with mothers & kids, couples, families, and people going somewhere.
We arrived at the next transition and changed from the Green Line to the Red Line, eventually alighting at our destination and it all went without a hitch. Hollywood/Highland Metro Station is on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue which was really, really busy and not a taxi in sight so we walked to our hotel, which thankfully wasn't too painfully far away. We were completely buggered by the time we arrived at the hotel, but the hotel is very nice and bright and comfy, hooray. There is plenty of room to walk around, the bed is queen size, and there is a table with 2 chairs and a little fridge. YAY. Hello little 2-day home.
By now it's about 10:30pm but we wanted to eat before going to bed. Luckily the 'Good Greek Grill' over the road sold lovely fresh salads and freshly cooked chicken and beef skewers. So I had a rocket & chicken salad (which was enormous) + a glass of red wine, and hubby had a lamb souvlaki and a beer, then we crossed back over the road to the hotel for a very good night's sleep.
Day 5 – Saturday 23rd June – 'Evolving Out Loud' Day 1
The Hollywood Hotel offers a free brekky which we weren't aware of but were very grateful for… there is a built in sideboard in the hallway and they stack up stale croissants and oat bars, yoghurts, juices and urns of tea and coffee so we helped ourselves, very pleased that we didn’t have to go hunting for somewhere to eat.
We were a little early for the event so we walked up and down the freak show that is Hollywood Blvd, looking at all the different tourist sites and shops. Cotton On (the Australian retail chain) had a shop there so I was able to buy two more pairs of my favourite leggings. In the street there are a lot of people dressed as super heroes who wander up and down... I think you pay them if you want a photo with them. Great for the kids, but when we heard Superman call out to his friend in an accent that wasn’t Superman-ish, it spoiled it for me!
Then we headed to the Dolby Theatre (home of the Academy Awards) to check in to the Kyle Cease event “Evolving Out Loud”. YAY… We Made It!!! We even managed not only to skip the long entry queue, but to start a new queue with us at the front, just by asking where we should register!
The event was wonderful. Kyle Cease is a very insightful, funny man - very down to earth and practical. Everything he says is worth writing down. He started his career as a stand up comedian and now he has combined transformational speaking with his comedy. He’s very good.
At the lunch break, we went for a walk all the way down to Sunset Boulevard and found a classic American style pizza joint called 'Delicious Pizza'. So we ordered a big slice of pizza each with a San Pellegrino Limonata for me and a Diet Coke for hubby.
We spent an enjoyable afternoon back in the theatre. At the end of Day 1 - both having learnt some quite profound new ways to look at our lives - we bought a greek salad for hubby and I finished last night’s salad (it was so big it lasted me two nights… yay for the hotel fridge).
We ate at the little table in our hotel room, watched a bit of the world cup soccer, then to bed for another good night’s sleep.
Day 6 – Sunday 24th June – 'Evolving Out Loud' Day 2
We had plenty of time in the morning before the event, and we didn’t want to wait for the hotel brekky to start so we went for a walk, open to the possibility of finding a café. Well, we found better… it started with finding a café on the corner of Cahuenga Boulevard and Selma Avenue which we thought looked interesting and we went to have a look, but around the corner from it was a fantastic Farmers Market. We wandered up and down looking at all the delicious offerings, and found a fresh juice stall (carrot, apple and ginger please), a really GREAT coffee stall which had the NICEST coffee, and shared two freshly baked healthy gluten free, nutty, zucchini muffins.
We walked some more, took photos of the Hollywood sign on the hills in the distance, and walked past a night club that was still in full party mode from the night before.
Well that was a really nice start to the morning, and then we headed off to the event which started at 11 am.
When the first morning tea break came around, we weren’t hungry so we went for a walk along the Blvd. It so happened that the Hollywood Carnival was on the same weekend… it’s a bit like a mardi gras parade. We missed the parade itself but the participants were very elaborately, scantily clad. I couldn’t take any pictures so you will have to use your imagination.
The lunch break was spent with a new ‘friend’ called John from the event who wanted to eat with us. So we stayed close to the theatre and ate at Ramens Express (Asian noodles). The food was nice, and we wouldn’t have tried it otherwise. My lunch was very spicy which was good for the cold that I could feel creeping up on me.
Some of the activities we did at the event involved a lot of talking to each other, and by Sunday arvo I could feel my voice getting very hoarse.
The event finished by 8pm. We stopped for a beer at the 'Jamesons Irish Pub and Sports Grill' on Hollywood Blvd so we could celebrate the great weekend and ponder everything we have learnt. It was a happy, noisy place. We ate dinner in the Greek place again, then fell into bed. I have now lost my voice.
Day 7 – Monday 25th June
We had brekky in the hotel. The croissants must have been last week’s because they were getting staler.
We dressed and went for a last walk around to sight-see and take a few more photos. We fell upon a cafe on the corner of Sunset and Wilcox called 'Rise N Grind' who served very nice coffee, thank you very much.
Then we went back to the hotel to check out and organise a taxi.
We had lunch in the very pleasant airport food court… a delicious toasted prosciutto and gruyere sandwich, plus a Stella beer. A lady at the next table commented on my scarf – she liked the subtle pattern – one of my own designs, yay. But unfortunately due to lack of a voice I was unable to have a conversation with her.
After that we just sat around the airport until flight time. The journey back was quite smooth and we arrived on time into London, being now Tuesday 26th June.
For me, London doesn't feel like home, and it is strange to be going there after an overseas trip like this. I just want to sit down with my family and share our experience over cups of tea or perhaps a glass of Champagne, which by the way I haven't had since we left home. But this was a choice and right now this is where we live. So knowing that I still have a lot to learn, and knowing that not many people get to have this experience, I shall be grateful and patient, exercise my writing skills, and be thankful for video calling technology. We have learnt a lot on this journey already and the gap between how I WANT my life to look and what it ACTUALLY looks like feels now, after this trip, a larger gap than ever. It does somehow seem feasible to close the gap… but I do have a lot of work to do!