Sad a bit, but one can't be too sad after such a great trip. Today we made an earnest effort to wake up early, so we did drag out of bed by 8:30. Vacationing is hard work! We went down to the pool for a few minutes. This pool was a bit disappointing, in that it was tiny. Jessica read and sunned for a minute and I did yesterday's blog. I decided to jump in the pool for a moment before we went up. Seeing as how it was in the 70's and the pool does not get sun all day, the water was FREEEZING! It was a short swim to say the least. As we were getting ready to leave the pool, another hotel guest came down to enjoy the hot tub. The alarming thing about this guest is that he was wearing nothing but boxer-briefs. On top of this, they were flesh colored, well at least the color of his flesh anyway. It was a bit of a shock to see. Had this person been say, a ten year old child, or at a "swimmin' hole", this would not have seemed strange. But due to the nature of the situation, namely, a grown man at the swimming pool in a five star hotel in his underwear, was somehow surreal.
After washing our bodies and brains, we headed to see the Hollywood sign. This was an interesting drive. Now, I know that real estate is valuable in L.A. but for crying out loud, driving up the hill to the Hollywood sign was ridiculous. Basically, it looks like someone took an arial photo of this near un-navigable hill and built a house wherever and however one would fit. Then perhaps they stood back and said, "Oh yeah, we need a road to get up there." Then they poured haphazard road in between these indiscriminate homes. It was definitely an interesting drive.
When we made it to the top of the hill, we were a couple of hundred yards from the sign and had a great photo opportunity. Jessica REALLY wanted a picture with both of us. There was one family at the top of the hill with us taking pictures, so she was determined to ask them to photograph us. they were speaking in a middle eastern dialect that, despite my exhaustive knowledge of the middle eastern dialects, I did not recognize. So, as any thoughtful, world-aware American would do, we approached them as if they were retarded. "You take picture?" we screamed, "Take picture?" This time miming the universal sign of making the outline of a rectangle with your fingers and wiggling your right hand index finger up and down.
The man of the family replied, "Sure, dude. No problem." In perfect, unbroken English. So of course we were self-assured that we had approached that situation correctly and we got a great picture. Then we took one of their family and decided it was time for lunch. We headed out to find In N' Out Burger. We arrived at In N' Out on Sunset Blvd. and Orange Dr. in the heart of Hollywood. It was packed, and for a good reason. There are moments in your life where experience and expectation meet and you have a moment of clarity that defines the human experience. This moment was a cheeseburger from In N' Out. Everything there is awesome, and we had some of everything.
The family at the table next to us were interesting though, and the matron of the family, who was eighty if she was a day, at the head of the booth was methodically eating six baked potatoes one after the other along with a huge Tupperware dish of beets. Neither of these things are found on the In N' Out menu for those of you who are wondering. It was interesting to say the least.
Now we were back on the way to Grauman's Chinese Theatre to see if we could get in for pictures. If we thought for a moment that there was a big fuss over the Michael Jackson star on the walk of fame last night, we were not anticipating the draw of this spot to Michael Jackson fans, and pseudo-fans alike. the turnout was massive. There were 20 or so news crews, and the line forming just to walk past his star was about a quarter of a mile long. There were, in a brilliant display of tax dollars well spent, police everywhere to prevent a thriller-themed riot. We unwittingly found our way into this mob-like line to go past the star. We were actually trying to get to Grauman's and see the foot and hand prints. We found after we got to the head of the line, that the Theatre was completely closed off and no one was allowed in. There were two smarmy-looking overdressed ladies standing in the Theatre courtyard smirking at the Michael Jackson line. We overheard them say you have to have movie tickets to get into the courtyard. Upon inquiring at the box office, the only movie showing at the main theatre, which is the one you have to enter through the courtyard, was Imagine That with Eddie Murphy which we have no strong desire to see. So we dutifully bought our Imagine That tickets and went into the courtyard past the power drunk 18 year old security guard who was gleefully turning everyone away from the restricted area. We took pictures, and walked around feeling proud as all of the sweating masses waited through the Michael Jackson line. The theatre manager approached us and told us that all tours had to stay over to the side of the courtyard, but we showed our movie passes, to which he opened his arms to welcome us into his courtyard and admonished that we should have a good time. We felt like royalty. After our little tour we went and exchanged our tickets for the late showing of Land of The Lost. We sort of wanted to see that, so we felt it was money better spent.
Jessica really wanted to find a seashell, so we asked the girl working at American Apparel where would be a good place to find a seashell. She suggested Venice beach which we wanted to see anyway, so we headed there. Venice Beach was really cool, if a bit strange. It has the most diverse mix of people you can imagine. There are rich tourists walking right past the basketball and handball courts covered in graffiti and packed full of teenage locals. Scattered down the beach market you find some of the most degenerate looking homeless people you can imagine. It was an interesting experience to say the least.
We walked along the beach and found some great shells, and after a few minutes we decided to head back. We had voted to skip the public toilets because scary does not quite cover the level of repulse the toilets emitted. Well, as a direct result, I needed to pee so bad that I was fast becoming a bit more than uncomfortable. We finally broke down and used the public toilets further down the beach. They were a bit less repugnant, but still very bad. the worst public toilets imaginable, but we survived. We did a quick bit of shopping at the market, it was mostly cheapo souvenirs, and then we headed to dinner.
We found a place that came highly suggested on Yelp which is a site that reviews restaurants, as being good and cheap. It was called Zankou Chicken. This place had a valet when we pulled up who parked our car for us in the parking spot that was thirty feet away. What a waste. I hate valet parking anyway, especially when it is nothing more than an excuse to have a guy who gets tipped in front of your establishment. It was all forgotten when we ate though. They serve Greek food, and they have tons of rotating spits with gigantic haunches of spinning, unidentifiable meat on the back counter. We played it safe and ordered rotisserie chicken. You can order whole, half, and quarter chickens. It is served with this garlic spread that is awesome, and strong, and pita bread. We also ordered rice, and everything was phenomenal. They lost one star with Jessica for not having coke, but my Dr. Pepper was perfect. Overall, the meal was amazing and we had a whole chicken with sides for like $13. You can't beat that.
Next we headed for the movie. It was funny if a bit dumb, but seeing a movie in Grauman's Chinese Theatre was kind of cool. The day was eventful, but it had come to an end. We were beat, so we headed back to the hotel and sacked out. The last real vacation day ended, and it was an awesome trip. We do have a couple of days of travel left, but I doubt they will be worth writing about. If anything cool happens I'll let you know, but don't hold your breath.
Thanks for reading and have a great day! Pictures -