I’d tried to swap this flight for one to New York, but who doesn’t want to go to New York at Christmas time? So it was on with a sixteen and a half hour flight to Los Angeles for me. Leaving Dubai at 8:45am, we arrived at lunch time into LAX International Airport.
After getting through immigration and checking in at the hotel, I arranged with three other crew to share an Uber to the mall to do a bit of Christmas shopping and to grab a bite to eat. As I didn’t manage to sleep a wink in the four hour CRC break, I was really flagging and I grabbed a chipotle to take back and eat in bed before passing out after the longest day ever.
Falling asleep at 7pm, meant I woke up at 3am due to jet lag. There’s a 12 hour time difference between Dubai and Los Angeles which I always really struggle to adjust with, so I waited until 6am when breakfast opened to go and have something to eat and start my day.
Myself and two other crew from economy had planned a tour of LA for the day, for $65 each, we had our own private car and guide to take us to all the sights including the celebrity homes which was exciting. I’d done a lot of the sights last time I was in LA, but never got close to the Hollywood sign, and it was nice to be able to explore with others rather than on my own as I had done previously.
We jumped in the car at 9:30am and made our way across to the Hollywood Hills to see the famous Hollywood sign.
The sign was erected in 1923 and originally read “HOLLYWOODLAND.” Its purpose was to advertise the name of a new segregated, whites-only housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. H.J. Whitley had already used a sign to advertise his development Whitley Heights, which was located between Highland Avenue and Vine Street. He suggested to his friend Harry Chandler, the owner of the Los Angeles Times newspaper, that the land syndicate in which he was involved make a similar sign to advertise their land. Real estate developers Woodruff and Shoults called their development “Hollywoodland” and advertised it as a “superb environment without excessive cost on the Hollywood side of the hills.”
They contracted the Crescent Sign Company to erect thirteen south-facing letters on the hillside. The sign company owner, Thomas Fisk Goff, designed the sign. Each letter was 30 feet (9.1 m) wide and 50 feet (15.2 m) high, and the whole sign was studded with around 4,000 light bulbs. The sign flashed in segments: “HOLLY,” “WOOD,” and “LAND” lit up individually, and then the whole. Below the Hollywoodland sign was a searchlight to attract more attention. The poles that supported the sign were hauled to the site by mules. Cost of the project was $21,000, equivalent to $300,000 in 2017.
The sign was officially dedicated in 1923. It was intended only to last a year and a half, but after the rise of American cinema in Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the sign became an internationally recognized symbol and was left there.
However, now the lights are not illuminated in the evening, as residents of the area were complaining the light was keeping them up at night and they could not sleep and drew too much attention on how to get up on the sign.
Next up, we moved on through all the gorgeous homes of the Hollywood Hills and stopped at a great viewing spot over the city of LA along Mulholland Drive.
Continuing on, we then went down to the Walk Of Fame through the Dolby Theatre where the Oscars are held. Its lovely to see all the names of the films for Academy Award for Best Picture throughout the years, I wonder who will win for 2018!?
As we ventured outside, we were on the Walk Of Fame, where stars pay $40,000 to have their name embedded into the pavement (or sidewalk if you’re american). It’s great to see some of the names that adorn the streets which runs for 1.3 miles.
If I’m honest, the Walk Of Fame is the worst street in the entire world. It is full of people dressed up as characters who are hassling you to take pictures with them for which you have to pay. They are constantly shouting things at you, and it takes away the glitz and glamour of a place that is honouring film stars and music stars alike.
Back in the car we went to the Farmer’s Market for a lunch stop, where we drove past Kat Von D’s famous LA Ink Tattoo Studio.
Last time I was here at the Farmer’s Market, I didn’t realise I’d missed out on a huge part of the market which is home to so many food stalls selling an abundance of different cuisines all cooked fresh that day. I opted for french and a bowl of French Onion soup as I was still really full from breakfast.
Walking into The Grove section of the Farmers Market it was packed out with so many people due to it being the weekend and a gorgeous sunny day. All the festive decorations were up, and there were a lot of people queuing waiting in line to see Santa.
After a spot of lunch and a wander, we moved on to the famous residential area of Beverley Hills. One thing I love about Beverley Hills is that each street is lined with a different tree, and due to the incredibly high tax in this neighbourhood the upkeep is impeccable.
You will never see any overhead wires in Beverley Hills and all the water hydrants are painted silver rather than yellow. With it being the weekend, numerous flash cars were being driven around with people heading out to the country clubs for which they pay extortionate fees.
And you can’t stop by Beverley Hills without stopping by the iconic fountain either!
We then drove through the beautiful streets of Beverley Hills admiring the incredible houses that this neighbourhood boasts. We even passed by Spadena House, or more colloquially known as “the witches house” which was seen in the film Clueless.
Not only this, we were pointed out Kat Von D’s home, Ellen Degeneres, Puff Daddy, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and also Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion. There were so many homes pointed out to us which was really exciting!
And we ended our day down in Venice for sunset, I don’t overly rate Venice, it is described as the hippy area of LA, but to me it looks really run down in comparison to other cities of Los Angeles.
We grabbed some churros and walked along the beach front after our long day of sightseeing which we all thoroughly enjoyed. I’m glad I did this tour as it showed me a different side of LA which I hadn’t quite seen last time and made me look forward to heading back here in the near future.
By 6:30pm I could no longer keep my eyes open and slept through til 5am, I ordered some breakfast for room service and then fell back to sleep before our 12:30pm wake up call. The jet lag and busy days had absolutely exhausted me.
It was a long 16 hour flight back to Dubai, but worth it for a great weekend spent in California.
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