Hollywood.

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Pantages Theatre is one of the best known Hollywood movie theatres.  You can see the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars going right along the path in front of the theatre.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame stars commemorate the celebrities of the film, television, radio, and music  industries.2014-04-25 13.19.24

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The imprints of celebrities hands and feet, and their signatures, can be found in the concrete outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

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There are plenty of buskers and street performers, wax models outside of Tussaud’s, and people dressed in costume for photo opportunities.2014-04-25 15.19.31

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There’s something for everyone in Hollywood!

Hollywood Blvd #3

There are many buskers and street performers working the blocks closest to the Chinese Theatre.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s free entertainment.
It’s really not.

Some of them are really quite pushy and slightly deceptive – they will offer something like a CD and say all you need to do is like their Facebook page, but then they want to be tipped and insist on at least ten dollars.
Others offer photographs with celebrity lookalikes or costumed characters. These were not anywhere near as pushy and were happy with one or two dollars each for a photo opportunity.

The worst one I encountered was dressed as a space princess with pink hair, who practically ran up to me and asked for a hug. She was trying to hug me before I could say no.
Whoa! Lady! Out of my personal space, please. Totally out of line.
I managed to take a couple of steps back and say, “Sorry, I don’t do hugs!” and almost ran away. Ugh.
That was really awkward.

Hollywood Blvd #2

A walk along the Walk of Fame was quite an experience for me. The sidewalk stars along Hollywood Blvd reminded me of actors, singers and personalities I have loved over the years.
It was exciting to take pictures of their sidewalk stars and I enjoyed the memories that came flooding back as I did.
Of course, there were plenty of stars that I saw in the pavement and thought “ahuh”, too. I fully understand why they have been awarded sidewalk stars, but they are just not as important to me as others. That’s how music, film and TV work, though: they appeal to different people in different ways.

I didn’t get to all the sidewalk stars. I walked down one side of the street from Pantages Theatre to the Chinese Theatre, where the hand and footprints of celebrities are imprinted in the cement.
I had the same reaction there. There were some that I was keen to photograph and others that didn’t interest me at all.

Sid Grauman’s idea of immortalising celebrities with their hand and foot prints was genius. He understood that it was a permanent way of preserving the memories of those who would not always be with us. His memory is preserved too, in the personal messages written to him in the cement by those same stars of Hollywood.
I found it impossible to leave there without a strong sense of history and respect, but at the same time really enjoyed the fun of it all.

Starlight Tours Hop On/Off Los Angeles Tour Bus

By far the easiest way to get around Los Angeles and see the sights in it’s different areas is by using these buses.
Using cabs will cost you bucket loads of money and it’s all really too far to walk.
Different tours of the various parts of the city are colour coded so it’s easy to plan your activities for the day. The stops where these tours interconnect are clearly marked on the tour maps and announced as you go, so that you can always find your way back to your original starting point if you need to.
Each coloured route takes about 2 hours if you just ride the bus and don’t get off to explore or shop.

The ticket office is outside the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd, right on the Walk of Fame near Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where the hand and footprints of many celebrities are preserved in the cement.
We booked our tickets through our travel agent, which meant that we could get on the bus and start our tour at the stop nearest our hotel instead of having to get up to Hollywood Blvd to begin with.

We did the “red tour” which took us through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the shopping precincts of Rodeo Drive and Melrose Drive, and the iconic Hollywood areas of Sunset Blvd and Hollywood Blvd.

The tour provides you with a set of earbuds for the recorded commentary that explains the different locations and their significance, and highlights points of interest. It struck me as both odd and refreshing that this commentary is recorded entirely with a British accent.

There was lots to see and myriad opportunities for photos from the open-air top of the double-decker bus. It’s a good idea to wear a hat up there though, especially if you sunburn easily or if you have any hairstyle other than a #2 shave, as it does get pretty windy up there.
The seats up on top of the bus are quite slippery, especially when going around corners, so It’s a good idea to wear jeans or other clothing that is less likely to slip around on the plastic seats.

If you have mobility issues and find it difficult or impossible to climb tight stairs, you can still enjoy the tour from the lower deck of the bus. The windows are big, and although you probably won’t get the same opportunities for photos, the tours are still well worth doing.

Hollywood.

Our time in LA has been spent in the West Hollywood and Hollywood area.

Our hotel – the Ramada On Santa Monica Blvd at West Hollywood- was suggested for us by our travel agent back in Melbourne, and it has been sensational. It’s not absolute top-of-the-line but it’s really nicely appointed and the service is outstanding. It’s also really well situated as there are lots of bars, cafés and restaurants as well as shops, salons and gyms.

When I posted about my Route 66 experiences in Albuquerque I had no idea that our hotel in LA was also on Route 66. That was a lovely bonus that I discovered upon arrival.
It’s really cool when things work out like that. Aces.