4 am start OMG! I got back to the room at 2am!
I quietly shower and pack up and kiss Phil goodbye-he doesn’t even stir-just a mumble.
Head to the airport, a 10 min drive by taxi.
The security over here is rigid, but I still wonder how good it is really, while I’m standing in long queues observing. The security appears to be robotic and slow, if someone did really want to get some weapon or fluid for a bomb on board; I think it would be easily enough done.
For such a large airport the queues can be 40-50 mins long, you don’t want to be running late for a flight.
In Vegas just when you think you’re there….you have a train to catch, to get to your departure lounge. That said, I made it! Though now the lack of sleep and a slight hangover are starting to become obvious to me, I even have the shakes.
The plane ride couldn’t come quick enough; I just needed to close my eyes and sleep.
Quick flight to LAX 45mins. Now the 2.5 hours to wait for the kids to arrive, I’m looking forward to seeing them even though it’s only been a few days, its feels ages. Rhys Darby walked past, I said Hi! He ignored me. Oh well 😉
The arrival gate was shared with Air China and Canada it seemed to take forever for the kids to appear, but when they did it was a sigh of relief to see their happy faces, they looked as happy to to see me as I was to see them. Found our organised transport “Prime shuttle”, perfect! Straight outside our terminal and dropped us off via Venice Beach, then to our Hotel in Santa Monica.
A quaint little hotel, one of the first I’d say. 1 block from the Santa Monica Pier and next to the famous “Ivy” restaurant where all the celebs dine.
The weather was sunny and mild-though not hot. Season is moving from Winter to Spring.
This is kinda where the ‘best laid plans kinda started going astray’.
The concierge at Hotel Carmel kindly offered to phone through and confirm a tour I had prebooked and paid for the kids (Great idea at the time!!)
The guy wouldn’t accept saying ‘no’ so I got on the phone and said “yes” he said “no” ,I said yes and then stated in my DON’T PISS ME OFF voice…..polite but stern, my displeasure in they treatment of me as a customer. They said OK and confirmed a 4.45 pick up,finally!! After a 10 min phone call!
Off we went to the pier, Santa Monica is gorgeous!
The kids pass a comment “how American every thing looks” I had to laugh.
Just like on TV I guess? Baywatch comes to mind, although its not warm enough to swim there are a few people sun bathing. Its nice as its not to crowded, I think on a hot summers day this place would be madness!
We wandered, taking photos, stopping taking photos for others
Soaking up the light sea breeze and atmosphere on the pier, it has a fun park feel to it.
The kids got a charactchur done of themselves
We had a ride on the Ferris wheel that features in so many movies and tv show landscapes.
A few hours spent and we head past Ivy restaurant , trying to peer in to see if we can spot someone rich and famous, and then look at the numerous shops for some of the things the kids want.
The Ivy restaurant
Tali gets a ltd edition Kobe hood and Luc gets his Purple ‘beats’ from the apple store. This was a whole new experience in its self! With a new modern approach, a huge warehouse looking room with teams around large dining room sized polished concrete tables, helping customers for support or to purchase. No cash registers in sight. They put Luc’s sale through on the sales girls’ cell phone as she was with us, whipped a cool Apple bag out of her pocket, and emailed the receipt to me! WOW!
I can’t quite describe it, we were very intrigued by it all. Not a shopping fan, even I have to agree the shops in Santa Monica have a wow factor, maybe because its where the celebs like to hang out. Great displays, great products an open mall like the old Hawera one…which I find so much nicer then the indoor ones we are used to now. It was so clean and pristine too.
In hindsight we wish we had stayed looking around instead of heading back to hotel for our 4.45pm pick up.
But we did…..:(
We were there waiting at 4.40pm in our lobby, waited till 5, then I decided to call and check on their status (I understand they can run late) or if infact they were even intending on picking us up??
No they weren’t running late we were and boy oh boy did the guy give it to me on the phone.
Told me they waited from 4.25 till 4.35 WTF!! Noway!
Anyway they came back to pick us up.
5.20pm by this time. The grumpy old Hispanic man, yelled at me and told me off in his big bus, in front of the kids. Thankful we were the only passengers. I told him in no uncertain terms back what time they had confirmed and also tried to show him the booking itinerary.
He told me “to shut up! And sit down! “(Exactly his words!)
WTF I had steam coming out my ears!!!!!!
The kids and I were knackered, my 2 o’clocker and early start was getting the better of me. The kids hadn’t slept much on their flight either. So they slept as I fought my weariness off to keep my eyes on what the hell was going on.
This little old man had the devil in him and us in his 30 seater bus. He had us going down some of LA’s back streets, good and bad. I now know he was trying to rendezvous with the rest of the tour before it left the main depot.
But at the time I had no idea what the hell was going on, all I could hear over the c.b radio was all Spanish! The kids waking at different times as we lurched to fast tops and starts, over curbs and got to see a lot more of LA then they bargained for.
We arrived at their terminal, which made me feel better, it was at least legit ( I was having my suspicions ), we got transferred to another van.
After 7 by this time! We were still to head into Hollywood (we had missed the tour) the van was to take us to meet them.
It was Valentines night and every bastard was out it seemed! Roses and Balloon’s everywhere, but so was all the traffic!
A few roads closed due to the Oscars being held next week as well didn’t help.
The Oscars are huge over here, they close roads a few weeks before for building of structures and bridges for the paparazzi, its also a security reasons and decorative stuff.
We finally made it to Hollywood Boulevard only to be told “ you have a look around and meet outside Shellys at 8.30” by our none Engliese speaking Espananic man (we couldn’t catch up with the other bus , so missed Universal Studios. No loss, now we’ve done the tour ,I know we proberly didn’t miss a thing!).
So the kids and I lost in Hollywood…..at night!! Far Out!!!!
Hollywood at night is completely different during the day. There are weirdos and fruitloops everywhere!! Though talking to a couple I sat next to on a later flight, they said its bad enough in daylight –he is a delivery guy and sees lots!)
We were starving and tired but managed to walk the stars and take some pics to say “we been there” and then went to find Shellys diner , we did NOT want to miss this bus!!
It was while we were there standing waitng that was worse then walking around. I’ve been to some places and seen some shit, but even I was a little weary-perhaps because I had the kids with me and could sense their fear. We had all sorts stop and talk and solicit. Some quite intimidating.
The bus finally there, we jumped on for our lives, Well that’s what it felt like at the time.
The driver an old black American with a heart of gold but man he talked some shit! Lol
It was only 5 mins into our tour and bus trip with him and I realised this guy was as nutty as some of them on the boulevard – In a nice way though.
Definitely a character! He has 8 kids and while we were driving around we heard about them, he also would take calls and talk in a loud enough voice the whole bus could over hear. If I was describing a business mogul in the film industry yelling down the ph wanting contracts done yesterday! That was what our driver sounded like lol…please! He’s an effing tour bus driver haha, but it made him feel important I guess.
We went to Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, saw where the rich and famous dine, party and shop-all awesome!
When celebs pulled up next to us we had to pull back at lights etc or the tour buses can get fines , it’s a new by law to protect their privacy.WTF!
Fair enough but they didn’t tell us that in the selling brochure! What a have! I had been ripped off ! We had, had several chances of seeing them because they were everywhere, it was Valentines night! In hindsight again..Sant Monica was whre most of them were anyway!
Rodeo drive was amazing though J I loved the window displays….indescribable (a pic of one of my fav ones below)
love these shoes!!!
That done it was time to head back into LA, only driving past the Big Staples stadium where they hold sports and concerts and then onto some pretty lit fountains.
On the way and not part of the tour but almost a highlight we were in a movie , being filmed just behind the Police escorts-helicopter flying overhead. Dunno the budget or who was in it , but it was real and we weren’t allowed to be seen taking pictures –guttz!
We’d had enough of this tour, we were well and truly over it! It was late we were exhausted and it was the most boring thing I’ve done in a long time .We just wanted to be back at the hotel and in our beds (2 doubles-not queen, for the 4 of us)
Of course, just cause that was how the evening had gone, we were the last to be dropped off at our hotel! At least we did get dropped off I guess lol.
11.30ish now, to our small and stinky chemically smelly room ( but still nice looking and cosy).
It had been a big day. Dying for a shower, only not to be able to get it to work!!
Ph downstairs and they kindly and quickly came up to help. Ive stayed in many hotels, everyone a different shower, but this is the 1st I haven’t been able to work out, I must have been tired.
Showered and no hair dryer! What the hell! this was almost the needle that broke the camels back, although as small as it sounds, I was mortified haha . Kids in Bed a bit of catch up on FB and twitter and check out what the crew is doing in Vegas……..Nekkminnit!!!!!
FIRE ALARM GOES OFF!!!
Honestly, ya had to be there, I couldn’t effing believe it! Zane and Tali asleep, Luc and I on the computer.
And the f**ken fire alarm goes off!!!???
So I jump up undies and top only, manage to pull on my jeans while waking zane ,the kids didn’t no what was going on in their sleepy state. They managed to pop on enough although the boys were almost about to go with just there undies on. We ran out, people amaze me, that they didn’t know the piercing sound was an alarm and how some of them weren’t even in a hurry. The building we were in is very old ( although been done up with a lick of paint etc) I was very conscious of the exits and where they were on the way up to our 4th floor room, as I always am after staying on the 20th story with my mate Emma Hutton in Auckland and having to run down 20 flights of stairs with the sprinklers going and no bras on in the deep of night!
We were evacuated down stairs, it was a false alarm, although we could definitely smell a burnt smell of smoke. Very unsettled we went back upstairs, the poor kids were like the walking dead, infact if I asked Zane now, I don’t even know if he’d remember it, because he was completely out for the count when I had to wake him.
1.30am by now OMG!
A wanna pretend the alarm is not going off this morning! 6am already this ain’t no relaxing holiday so far! Not complaining though, I’m having a blast!
We get organised, all 4 of us in a small room ya can hardly swing a cat in –it was a bit like faulty towers the 4 of us trying to get ready on top of each other lol.
Down stairs for our 6.50 am pick up , at least with all this driving, we can say we have been all over LA. I can honestly say I think we managed to fit 4 days into 24 hours!!! And like my mate Trin wrote to me…only I would think I could do Santa Monica and Hollywood in between flights lol but to be fair, it didn’t look to far on the map!!! I just didn’t factor in all the traffic, people and incompetence hahaha 😉
LAX again….its such a big airport but nothing to do, so limited with food, no shopping ,nothing to look at, one of the most boring airports in the world, I’d have to say.
We check into Virgin America. I hadn’t really thought much about it till now, but it truly makes you realise what a superb national carrier our Air New Zealand is.
Virgin, while organised and comfortable had only 2 toilets for the whole plane ( including business). It was a full flight of about 190 people.They couldn’t manage to get us seated together even though most the people around us were separated as well, we all shaking our heads when we talked, seeing how easy the seating configuration could have been.
I do like the capabilities of the internet use, and that you can chat on screen between seats in the flight. I bet there’s a few pick ups happen like that…no notes with phone numbers required to change hands through the air stewardess hahaha.
And a huge food selection but you have to pay as you go. Also if I wanted to book a movie, I have no headphones as I was sposed to purchase them prior to boarding, but as a 1 st timer with Virgin, no one told me.
All good though, Ive spent the last 5.5 hours sleeping for 2 and blogging the rest.
In between talking to my lovely seating neighbours (as the kids and I were seated through out the plane, not seated together ) They were a couple from California, they were going on a cruise too, heading to Aruba. The same couple, that sympathised with our Hollywood at night excursion from earlier in the blog).
Virgin all and all is a good carrier and I prefer it over Delta….on par with American Airlines (the 2 other airlines I have encountered so far this trip apart from Air NZ).
Next stop Fort Lauderdale, I wonder how all the crew is doing? are they still partying? I’m hoping they will be all settled in and so when we arrive we’ll just be able to catch up and go with the flow.
We have tonight and tomorrow morning to have a look around Hollywood beach.
Sooooo looking forward to the cruise! J
Stoked to hear Matty McKee did so well, thinking of my GF as she waves farewell to her daughter on her big OE. Loving my shalack nails Philipa, they are amazing!
Love that I have received a good news report from Jess (my store manager)saying all is well and shes handling things well….the best kinda email to get.