Tuesday, July 26, 2011

La Explorer... Contiki Holiday

July 16
Waited for the supershuttle for a long time for the downtown shuttle, many shuttle's were coming and going but not the one I needed to take me to the Kyoto Grand Hotel – if it was not so damn expensive for a taxi, it would have been somewhat quicker to take a taxi, but not really.

Walked into the Kyoto and boy was it a nice hotel… Went up to the front desk and checked in – my roommate was already there and Richo – so I just dropped off my luggage and met up with them. Went down to the Hotel Lounge and had a drink. I made the bartender make me a Bradhattan... I had to instruct him how to make it! Others started to arrive – George was like, ah people that look familiar.

We all stayed in the lounge until 7pm when Kelly our Tour Manager showed up (yay our tour manager showed up, last Contiki our TM didn’t. Sorry Monte). 26 people in the group so another decent sized group for a Contiki tour. Monte only had 9 people on his tour, poor Monte.

After the meeting, some of us went to LA live by hotel shuttle and ate at WolfGang Puck Bar & Grill for a late supper. Across from the Staple Center. They do not put much on your plate, kind of disappointed. 5 round pasta for $17.00 and it did not even fill me up and I am not a big eater to start with.
July 17
7:30am – had a walking tour with Mike the Poet. Well done. He really knew the city. I would show you pictures from the walking tour but unfortunately my camera got lost. But it is okay I am over it. As soon as fellow tour mates post up pictures I will “burrow” some of theirs. 

10am – We got on the coach and John took us ALL over the city. (And Contiki is going to get rid of the TM position next year and only have a Hotel Rep? Nooo!!! We need the TM) the one day on the coach is only way we got to see the Entire City of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas… Hollywood… West Hollywood… Beverly Hills… Santa Monica… Venice Beach…Rodeo Drive (man that is an expensive place to shop, some stores you do not come out without spending at least 10,000) It is hard to see them all other wise! As we were rolling into Venice Beach, Kelly warned us that we might see people dealing drugs or smoking a joint. So as we got off the bus, what did I see, yes that is right someone smoking a joint. You either like Venice or you Hate it, and i am not fond of the place. Not very good first impression it brings. But do not take my word for it, visit it for yourself. It is still worth experiencing. We had to leave one fellow behind in Venice Beach because he was late and did not show back up at the coach. We had about an hour and a half to get ready for Dinner and the Pub Crawl. Oh My Word… was that fun, went to four clubs in total and at the second club, i also had to instruct the bartender on how to make a Bradhattan! I really enjoyed the last club we went to... Rooftop, pool, dancing, private booths, etc… real Hollywood style. (Belinda and I wanted to leave, but George wouldn't allow us to and bought us a drink)

July 18
Movie star homes – Sorry to say but it was not worth it. Everyone’s house is covered in trees and their driveways are blocked off with gates. The Van Driver was like over there is David Beckham’s Chimney, and over there is Jennifer Aniston’s Roof. Not very exciting. Some of the fellow tour mates were scrolling through their pictures afterwards and it was pretty much gate after gate after gate, not remembering whose it was so delete, delete, delete they went.

The Hollywood Sign was cool but not overly awesome... the Tour bus from movie star homes did not get us that close to it. But it was still cool to see it.

Found Johnny Depp's hand and foot prints <3 at the Chinese Theatre... So i "touched" his hands :-) I had a picture but now all i have is the memory of "touching" Johnny Depp.. ha ha

Ate lunch at Johnny Rockets (old diner style) with Ruth and Sarah. Then walked around and got Ruth a SD card so she could take more pictures.  Hopped onto Hop on Hop off Hollywood bus…yah with the being on the coach with Kelly pointing out all the spots, do not really need to do hop on hop off Hollywood. Driving down Hollywood and was like I know... I have seen this stuff 4 times already and I know whose club is whose and who started out at the Laugh factory, etc. Santa Monica Hop on Hop off was more beneficial.
Ruth, Sarah and I hopped off at Santa Monica. It was yet another very long day... and by the end of it I was getting super tired so I left the two girls on Melrose Avenue and grabbed a taxi and went back to the hotel.

July 19
Universal Studios… Oh man, so much better than Disneyland. I had no idea the Studio lot was as big as it was. Studios Tour was my favorite. There was actually a filming going on… but not sure for what but the cast was waving and of course I waved back. 

We arrived at the park as it was opening so we were able to purchase the front of line pass – if you ever go to Universal Studios, buy it! It is so worth the $72.00 and you get to skip the line ups and do the ride quicker. Jurassic Park Ride was fun especially on a hot day because at the end of it there is a large splash that gets everyone wet. Went on that about four times, as it was a very warm day and that was a fun way to get cooled off. Simpson’s Ride was fun “Maggie don’t put the tourists in your mouth” so as she spit us out, “spit” water came flying out at us. Mummy ride, had no idea what was going to happen, so dark! Shrek 4D was not worth the time to see, Studio tour took 1 hour but so worth it. NBC universal, the experience where you go behind the scenes of Universal's film legacy in this interactive exhibit featuring authentic props, wardrobe and artifacts from past, present and upcoming universal productions. Remember from Little Fockers, where Greg helps the new drug Surtango, well the box was there on display, so that was cool to see)

Studio Tour – New York set, London set, Wild West set, etc and what I really liked as we drove through the different sets they showed on the TV screens the movies that were filmed at each location on the lot so that way you could see how it was brought to life and gather a glimpse of it all. Got to see a demonstration of how they do fast car scenes (like the one in fast and the furious). Desperate housewife set, which was really cool to see. 

Shopped a little for souvenirs by the end of it. Left the park at 3:30-4pm. Where we arrived at 9am so we were there for a Full day’s worth. 

Tanya and Richo went to the Grammy museum; I stayed behind to rest up as it was a long day in the sun. And at 9pm we had our Tour’s departure drinks in the lounge. Sad how short the tour is, meet so many great friends in a short period of time and then have to say good bye so soon.  Majority of the group went out to sunset and Hollywood to clubs… I stayed behind (and had yet another Bradhattan, and still had to instruct the bartender how to make it) and sat with Emily and the others who stayed at the hotel.

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