I wasn't terribly impressed with the Warner Brothers studio tour, and I had no other plans for today other than to visit the Getty museum that I had heard and read about so much so I decided to add another studio tour to my itinerary just like that. Off it was to Paramount studios tour for some more Hollywood history. I gave myself ample time tipis time round given my experience just about making it to the studio tour yesterday. These tours are also walking and driving tours with one guide to about 7 visitors. I felt this tour was more interesting just because elf how long Paramount has been around and all the Hollywood history attached to it. There seemed to be more anecdotes and stories to every nook and corner. About the same cost and length for the tour as WB but I feel I just enjoyed this one more overall...maybe I am more of a history buff than I am willing to admit. Once done here I made way for the Getty museum and simply was not prepared (do you see a theme here? unprepared!) for the views, the architecture, the art OMG! If you are an art enthusiast, simply give yourself a day for this place, period. You have to park at the deck and there's a train that takes you up to the museum. The views are gorgeous, especially on a clear sky day as you can see real far out. I made a dash for the restaurant and some lunch soon as I got there, and glad I did, because the food is amazing. They have internationally themed aisles and daily specials. And if you get a spot outdoors or by the floor to ceiling wall then grab it - the vistas are breath-taking. I ended up sitting here and just taking in the views for a while. Once in the museum itself, it took me a good 3 hours to be done and that was not sufficient, I assure you. That was jus t me speeding around so I could make it back before rush hour traffic, and also find time to cargo my phone, which would guide me on my way back to the hotel before I hit rush hour traffic. The museum also has a great sit-out garden area which I think is fantastic if you have time to spend there or are with a group and wanna hang out for a bit. And watch out for the gift shop - you an run a seriously high bill there if you plan on buying gifts for all and sundry.
Of course, no touristy trip to LAX is complete without a studio tour and sucker that I am to strike out tourist attractions from my list, I went head and got my ticket last night for a Warner Brothers studio tour that I could get onto in the morning. I highly recommend getting there a good 45 minutes before your scheduled tour. I made it in just about enough time despite giving myself an hour to drive from the hotel by the airport to the parking location, which, as luck would have it, only when I am running out of time, was full and I had to head into the deck and then get into the building all of which took some time. And then there were long queues at the registration desk but luckily they gave priority to the upcoming tour and I managed to get on to my tour as arranged. They take you around in large golf carts with a guide to a group of about ten visitors. We got to see a few sets and learn a few terms before heading to some of the sound stages and also checking out the Batman exhibit they have which really was the highlight for me. The tour is a good two hours+ and they do stop for a refresh break in between but when you get back there is a Starbucks and a gelato place at the welcome area where the gift shop is located so that's a pit stop if you care for one. I really had no plan for what to do next but pulled out Google maps and saw the zoo was pretty close. And so that's where I scooted off to next - the LA Zoo. It was, yes, I know, hot as a broiler over out in the open that afternoon but seeing how much I love to make poor life choices, I went ahead and walked round the gargantuan zoo and tanned myself even more in the process. Nothing extraordinary if you've been to a few other zoos, and it really was too hot for some of these animals to even be out at that time. Thoroughly drained of what was left of my energy for the day, I drove back on to the hotel for dinner and a much deserved sleepy time.
Last day in LAX with my girls so decided to treat ourselves to a decent breakfast after 2 days of eating the sad breakfast buffet at the hotel. So glad we chanced upon Coco's right there on Sepulveda and cherished a good morning feast. Similar to IHOP as far as food goes but they did have a great variety of pies greeting us at the entrance. We did plan on getting a slice to share but breakfast was so good we didn't have much tummy real estate to fit in more sugar. A ride to the airport for our farewells and I got the shuttle to my hotel for the next 3 days that I'd be staying on in LAX. This one was a Sheraton Four Points by the airport and it was everything I thought the Marriott would be but was not. You will positively read a post about that later. Reconnected with some old friends from m y days growing up in Oman and met them in the evening for a long walk down memory lane - hadn't seen them in more than 15 years or so. Always a pleasure to meet up with old friends that have moved away. That's one of the best parts of travel! I've got grand plans for the days I am here on my own so let's see how much I am able to accomplish.
Considering how terribly unorganized we were yesterday, late start et all, and the fact that we did not get much done, we decided today would be our one day of cramming in everything possible. So that's what we did. Our early start included a Hollywood tour of stars' homes and local attractions that was all morning long. The good part - it was nice to be driven around and given an overview of the place. Bad part - it was boiling hot, we were in an open air bus, and we were unprepared. Tan lines by evening told us how unprepared we were! We hit up Santa Monica Blvd after for a walk to the pier and through the promenade. We had to get back to the hotel and squeeze a nap in, along with some recaps of the football world cup, before we could head on back out again. Its amazing how much energy the hot sun can suck out of ya! Our evening shenanigans included getting our drink on at this place in Venice Beach which had some lovely views of the area, great music, and recommended for people watching. Wish we could have gotten more accomplished during this time but really underestimated how big everything is in LA and how much time you need to do justice to a first trip.
Firstly, Happy July 4th! I hope you are safe and with dear ones wherever you are. Between my two friends and I finding each other at the airport last night (of course, there were some flight delays - its the rush travel weekend), getting a cab and heading to the hotel, hitting the bed and waking up this morning for breakfast and the day ahead of us - let's just say we had a late start, least of the contributing factors being my jet lag having flown east coast to west. I chose to book our room at the Marriott Manhattan Beach since it was an extended stay property and I am a member with them but our stay wasn't really all that great, and I will detail that in a later post. Our first stop of the day was at LACMA - the LA county museum of arts. Warning - LA is a large city as is the state of Cali and everything in there is equally large as well. LACMA is located on museum row and has a few buildings of its own on the campus, along with a bunch of other museums on the same street. Suffice to say our entire day was spent there. I think we headed in about noon and ventured back out only at 5pm, alloying time for lunch in there. They do have a jazz performance for July 4th for which folks were setting up shop since the morn! Great collection of exhibits and art - I am sure anybody that visits will find something of interest and learn something new as well. The restaurant in there is real neat too. We had just enough time to get back to the hotel, freshen up for the veining and head on over to the Marina del Ray area for some grub and fireworks. The show itself was nothing great though I expected it to be larger, longer and livelier. It did get us to the pier area though and we were lucky to find a spot at the Italian place there for a sit down dinner. Considering it was the July 4th weekend, every place had a huge line. Slow start to the holiday but we have a better plan for tomorrow and hope to get more done.