I’ve been busy since the second I was picked up at the subway station this Wednesday, so forgive me for not writing with my usually annoying punctuality. I’ve barely scratched the surface of all that Los Angeles offers and yet I feel as if I’ve already seen a lot.
This city is very different from others that I’ve explored like Paris, London, and Chicago. Those cities all have rather densely laid out subway stations that make it a breeze to scurry from one side of town to the other in a reasonable amount of time. Not here. There are subways and trams and busses, but aside from busses, the trains are not really all that well laid out. I shan’t make any judgements too harsh, yet, since I’ve only been on it once, but I’m wary of it. Instead, everybody drives everywhere. It seems strange to me to want to drive in horrible traffic for ages instead of hopping on a train like they do in Paris. I’ve never met a Parisian who actually owns a car. There’s no point in it.
But, the Walden’s, the family I am staying with until I go to my apartment this weekend (or right now), are wonderful and have driven me to all the places I’ve wanted to go. I’ve been all over this city and am amazed at the great wealth of things to see (much like any big city, but it’s always a delight for me.) One of the best things about Paris is that you can find something completely different to do each day. You could picnic in a park, go to a Roman colosseum, take tea at a mosque, find a new bakery, go to a new wing of the Louvre, walk along a new street. I’m hoping I’ll find more of the same here.
After settling in for awhile, we all went out to lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen, which was really good. I think we have frozen pizzas from them back home, but I don’t remember. I don’t eat frozen pizza unless it’s Mama Bosso and I don’t eat many of them either. I love making pizza, but I find it a bit stressful, too, since the crust never seems to get quite crisp enough. I should probably make it a bit thicker or cook it hotter or find a new surface to bake it upon. Perhaps if it were a bit thicker and placed on a preheated stone (like a real pizza oven ) it would come out fine. Who knows? Experimentation will be needed when I get back in August! I think that I might be gone until early August. I didn’t plan on doing that, but it seems to be looking that way. I don’t mind. I love exploration. Back to luncheon.
The California Pizza Kitchen was located in a rather lovely mall that I enjoyed tremendously. For lunch I ordered an arugula and quinoa salad that had asparagus, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, feta, and some more things — not sure what, I forget — it was delicious. It was also massive. I wanted to finish it all, but I couldn’t. Plus, I was a bit starstruck. It’s not confirmed, but I’m almost one hundred percent sure it was her. A woman was walking towards the restroom and I looked up and gasped dramatically with a forkful of arugula in front of my open mouth. It was Sylvia Browne, my beloved psychic. IT HAD TO HAVE BEEN HER. It had her hair, her posture, her face, her nails. If only I could have heard her voice, I would have known. It must be her.
After eating, we went to see Despicable Me 2 with a friend of the Walden’s and his daughter. One of them had done some of the voice acting for the film, so it was quite fun to see a film with a star! Here she is:
The movie was so cute. One of the things that last year’s movie resolution taught me is that films made for children are amazing!
A farmers market was taking place in the parking lot, so we sauntered from one aisle to the other picking up different items. I found some delicious grapefruits and purchased a few (for only a dollar each!) Turns out that the samples were better than the ones I bought — not sure how that worked, but whatevs. I also bought a lemon cupcake from a company that won Cupcake Wars. I never could bring myself to watch that show very often, but if they won, they can’t be awful.
Later on, I was taken on a driving tour of Los Angeles and we saw everything! I was so excited to finally see the Hollywood sign! It’s smaller than I thought it would be, but it was no less exciting. The only thing that upset me about the Hollywood sign is that I always saw it from my left, so I never could sing, “LOOKED TO MY RIGHT AND I SEE THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN!”
We drove through Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, West Hollywood, Hollywood Boulevard, and a hundred places that I’ve since forgotten. It was wonderful.
[View of Hollywood Bowl from far above]
I already consider myself a complete Californian convert. I even went to dinner at In/Out.
The next day was the Fourth of July and I put myself in my most American gear for the event: red shorts and a blue and white shirt with boats on it. Barack called me up to congratulate me on my patriotism.
To celebrate, some of us went out to see the ocean. We went to Venice Beach and it was #totescray.
It was definitely something to see with all the performers putting on shows all over. We hadn’t been there but ten minutes when a crazed islander pulled me into his act. I was uncomfortable. He insulted my hair and my legs! RUDE! Could he see himself? He hadn’t done anything to maintain his toenails — reader, they were vile. I had to hold a chair for some reason — there never was a purpose in this — then hold hands with a lady who held hands with another guy and then we helped balance her while she stood on him while he lay on a pile of shattered liquor bottles. Since I was part of the show (WHERE’S MY UNION CARD, SAG???) I could see the money he collected — THE MAN WAS WEALTHY. He made some serious money with that performance. Ten minutes and probably $200.
I was finally excused from the show after accepting the audience’s applause — they were for the lunatic — but I took them, we carried on up and down the walkway looking at Muscle Beach and slurping smoothies. After Venice Beach, we drove up to Santa Monica to take a look at that area and I preferred it. It seemed a bit more relaxing, plus they did a great job with lawn maintenance.
It was time to head back home, so we passed through Brentwood (YOU LIVE IN THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOUSE IN BRENTWOOD AND YOU DONT CARE IF YOUR CLOTHES ARE STRETCHED OUT FROM WIRE HANGERS! YOUR ROOM LOOKS LIKE SOME TWO-BIT BACK STREET IN OKLAHOMA!) Oh what fun Jessica and I could have in Brentwood. I can’t wait to head back there and see Joan’s former home. I’m going to run up and down the street, muttering, “SURVIVE, SURVIVE, SURVIVE!” If you don’t understand, we’re just not going to be friends. #sorryboutit. I’m really into the hashtags, sorry. #sorrynotsorry
To celebrate we had tacos! I am passionate about tacos and I really enjoyed these ones filled with rice and beans. The longer I’m a vegetarian, the more surprised I am that others aren’t! Rice and beans are so unbelievably delicious as a taco filling. So are lentils. WHAT IF YOU COMBINED LENTILS, RICE, AND BEANS??? WOULD YOU FOODGASM ALL DAY LONG? WHAT IF YOU HAD A WARM CORN TORTILLA, TOO? I’d probably pass out. I need to make more tacos. My apartment is right next to the original farmers market, so I’m sure there will be enough options for tacos. TACOS!
Most of the people left to go up to the church where the fireworks were going to be shot off from, but I stayed back at the house with Susy and a family friend and had an absolutely marvelous time talking about: old Hollywood, modeling, Karl Lagerfeld’s colognes, European travel, watches, and a hundred other things. I want these people to adopt me.
Later on we went out to see the fireworks and found ourselves on top of a massive hill where we could see the fireworks going off from every place in the valley. It was impressive to see just how many firework shows there are here. It’s a big town, I know, but the place is DRY. I was up in the hills the other day and I was terrified by how dry and dead everything was. One idiot’s cigarette might put the whole city in flames!
It was a wonderful Fourth of July, probably one of the most memorable I’ve had.
Off topic, but did you guys know that Olive Garden sells bottled salad dressing? I didn’t. I don’t often eat salad dressing, I’m all about the vinaigrettes, but this was pretty good.
The next day, we went hiking in Runyon Canyon. RuPaul was tweeting about it the other day, and if it’s good enough for Mama Ru, it’s good enough for me. Soon we were parked and following the trails that seemed to branch out at random and watching for rattlesnakes (didn’t see any, kind of letdown) and trying not to slide down to our deaths. I had not packed any shoes that were good for hiking, but I survived the couple hours we spent, so I’m ever so pleased. We climbed rock cliffs and hiked through wilderness where there was no path. It was a great workout and I loved it. I can’t wait to go back and do some more exploring. I didn’t see any celebrities, but there were lots of pretty people — so it’s a good place to go people watching, get looked at, and get fit. I’m not up to some of the people, though, they were literally sprinting up cliffs! How do you do that?
Enjoy this photo tour:
I’m going to do that thing pretty people do on Instagram: #NOFILTER
This mansion was unsold or abandoned. I NEED.
We climbed this wall. We were like superheroes.
We went off the track.
I THOUGHT WE MIGHT DIE. WE DID NOT DIE.
We were all sweaty and disgusting, so we hit up the In/Out for drinks. I’m kind of obsessed with their pink lemonade. It’s all kinds of delicious.
After getting cleaned up and having some rather good gluten-free pizza, we went out shopping. I enjoyed a shop called Ross, which was like Marshalls, except the products seemed a bit nicer. Could just be the store. I don’t know. I got a brand new Calvin Klein dress shirt for $29 (originally $79) and a pair of grey Converse, also for $29 (originally $59). I felt it was successful and I’m working on building a nice grey/black ensemble for the taping of Craig Ferguson and my night at the Chateau Marmont’s bar. Fun day.
We woke up early to head out to a bakery in Burbank called Porto’s. It’s a Cuban bakery that has been in the city since before the Missile Crisis and seems to be something of an institution. It was absolutely gorgeous on the inside and they had a vast assortment of pastries. I had a flourless chocolate cake, which was amazing, though almost too rich, a cheese omelette over croissant, and some freshly squeezed orange juice, which had to have been my favorite. Tasted just like the juice I get at Mixon’s back in Florida.
From Porto’s we headed to a shop called It’s A Wrap. There, they sell all sorts of gently-used clothing from television shows and movies. Very exciting to actually wear the clothes you see on the screen, you know?! I was overwhelmed at first. There is clothing EVERYWHERE, and it’s quite a hunt to go through it all to find something that you like AND fits you. I finally found a gorgeous light sweater by ARMANI for $7. SEVEN DOLLARS! It was on The Secret Life of an American Teenager. Never seen it. I also found a pair of pants similar to ones I’ve been looking for for some time. They’re grey and slightly shiny — the kind that make you want to do the tango. They’re from Beverly Hills 90210. I’m going to take them to the tailor down the road to modernize them a bit, though, I find them to be a bit too baggy in the legs and they need hemmed a bit. (Everybody here is really tall, it’s strange!) To find out what show your clothes are from, you look at one of these charts, even though half the codes weren’t on there.
WHY COULDN’T I FIND SOMETHING FROM THE JONAS BROTHERS? JESSICA AND I HAVE SO MANY JOKES! OR FROM HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3 — IT COULD HAVE BELONGED TO MY BELOVED, ZAC!
I couldn’t find any of Craig’s clothes, either. #sadsies.
Yummy Cupcake was across the street, so I picked up a couple things there. The mint chip cupcake that I bought was amazing. I’m not usually HUGE on cupcakes, but this was a good one.
For dinner, I walked to a pupusa shop I had noticed when we were out driving called Mi Carbonero Restaurant and had a wonderful time gorging on chips, salsa, pupusas, and champagne cola. They probably had the best cheese pupusas I’ve ever had in my entire life. It comes highly recommended from me!
They also had the most amazing hammock. I love me a good hammock.
I took a walk around the neighborhood, relaxed, watched Golden Sisters (I LOVE THEM) and then went to bed.
Today wasn’t much, I tidied up my things, did some laundry, and then Susy drove me out to my apartment. I know this has been a MASSIVE post, so I’ll save it for later. Maybe I’ll do a tour of it and the neighborhood tomorrow. I saw a shop called the Pygmy Hippo. It’s begging for exploration.