The following morning we got up early to get the most out of the day. It was the 4th of July, the USA independence day.
We had plans to get the most of the day to find out how Los Angeles inhabitants celebrate such a day. I wore my USA-bandana all day, so I felt very much integrated. I think I made everyone believe that I was a local patriot!
We drove to Sunset Boulevard to watch the parade there. Everyone said that parking was quite impossible, but I found out that it was quite easy. We just had to park 500 meters away from the street of the parade. Parking that far away obviously does not occur to the locals.
The parade was fun, much as we had imagined it, but with much more moderation than I expected. There was not as much flag-waving and slogan-shouting as I had imagined. I was actually one of those who were most dressed up with my USA Bandana.
We also took a trip to Venice beach. That is definitely one of the craziest places I have ever been. There are absurdly many weird people there. If aliens ever were to land on earth I think they had felt completely at home in Venice beach.
It was a freakshow. But when we were walking along the promenade we stumbled across a REAL freakshow as well! We decided to come back another day to see the freakshow, as we were on our way to "Mr and Mrs. Muscle 2013 "- a bodybuilder competition.
We found the bodybuilders, and stood gaping at them for 20 minutes. They were very muscular, and with comically small thong panties with very little content. The women looked even more ridiculous with their obviously fake giant-boobs. They are at least entertaining if nothing else.
When we met Sarah later she told us that the German lunatic had contacted her on the phone and asked to stay with us. Unfortunately, Sarah is too nice to say no, So when we got back to the apartment we found the German there. It was the first time in weeks that we had a room to ourselves, and he was rude enough to push our host into letting him sleep in our room.
The only reason he had her phone number was because we had problems finding her apartment the first day and had to borrow his phone to call Sarah. He had found her number and sent her lots of messages and begging to stay there without notifying us first. It almost ruined our whole day. I think probably he noticed how little wanted he was because he decided not to join us to go to the city later. We went to LA town centre with Sarah to join the National Day- concert and to watch the fireworks. We were there with Sarah and 2 of her friends, and about 20 000 other people. It was the first time they organized such a celebration in Los Angeles, and it was not very well planned. The queues at the few places that had food, and to the toilets were ridiculous. Seriously; there was 30 meters queue to buy popcorn, and 2 toilets for 20 000 people.
Our new local friends told us that there is very little reason to go to Los Angeles centre. There are just a lot of offices, and very little town-centre feel. We were in the middle of the centre of town and were not even able to find a kiosk or a fast-food joint!
After the fireworks we went to Hollywood Boulevard where me and Torunn got to be tourists for a while. We saw the celebrity stars and hand prints they have made in the cement. It turned out that Arnold Szwartsnegger has larger hands than me, Michael Jackson had smaller hands, and Sylvester Stallone has similar hands to mine.
The girls told us that although Hollywood Boulevard is considered a tourist attraction it is a rather dubious place. It is supposedly where the prostitutes and all the bad guys like to hang out.
We went to dinner at the Hard Rock cafe, where there are very few bad guys. Me and Torunn shared the BBQ ribs, but did not buy any Hard Rock merchandise. Overpriced…
When we returned, well after midnight, the bald weirdo was sitting by the pool waiting for us. Nobody was happy to see him. He was sleeping on a couch just a short meter away from me and Torunns bed. It was awkward, even for him, because he knew he was unwanted there.
The morning after he thankfully disappeared, and we moved on to our third couchsurfing host in Los Angeles. He lived in another part of Hollywood. When we returned to our car we had received a parking ticket. I saw the damn fire hydrant and parked some distance away, but apparently not far enough. We were 5 feet away from the hydrant, but according to local laws you need to park 15 feet away. Of course nobody had mentioned this to us. Also no-one had explained that one can not park next to a sidewalk that is painted red. I never thought about for a second, what color is painted on the sidewalk, the car rental company could have mentioned this…
We met the couple Adam and Eva (no it is not a joke) in their apartment in West-Hollywood. We also met their geriatric feline "Sequel". He was a senile 15 year old cat with liver and kidney failure that saw fit to wake us up every morning at 05.00 with very loud meowing.
Adam and Eva are a very nice couple who told us that they have been hosting people for more than 10 years. In fact, they met through couchsurfing. Eva, who is from Taiwan, was travelling through LA when she was staying with Adam, and the chemistry was so right that she decided to stay there!
Adam is a gastronomic guy,like me, and loves good food from all corners of the world. On our first night together we went to a korean restaurant, and shared a meal made for kings. Our next dinner was at a Japanese restaurant. Our first Korean and our first proper Japanese meal, turned out to occur in the USA…a bit surreal.
The first morning we awoke to freshly made blueberry pancaked with maple syrup, and a wonderful freshly ground coffee. It was a real American breakfast!
Then we went on a roadtrip. We went to Santa Monica, and back to Venice beach. This time, we wanted to see the real freak show! . We paid to get in, and got to meet all the freaks. There was a large lady with a tiara,princess dress and whole beard, a man with hair all over his face, a black man with hundreds of piercings in his face, a dwarf with funny clothes, and several other freaks. They also had some strange animals there - several turtles with 2 heads, a snake with 2 heads, one Siamese bearded dragon, and a dog with 5 legs.
We stayed to watch the show, which was somewhat mildly disturbing. One of the guys had just a hole where his eye was suppsed to be. At one point, he took out his (fake) palate and stuck his finger into his mouth so that it came out in his eyesocket. He also had an electical light inside the socket that he could light up with the switch of a button.
The other guy was goth;white face and black claws. He put a drill deep into his nose and licked it after he pulled it out. Then he put a huge metal-hook into his nose and it emerged back through his mouth….beautiful.
There also was a girl sitting in the electrical chair (electric girl) and she was lighting torches by touching them with her tongue. The most disturbing was when she started twisting her arms out of her joints. She must have had very loose joints as she actually twisted her arm 480 degrees in a circle, and then bending it downwards. Urgh.
Well we had seen the freaks, so we went back out to the normal freaks continuing our walk along Venice Beach. On the front there are lots of people in green costumes selling medical certificates to buy hashish. Marihuana is legal as long as you have a subscription, and anyone can get one…so practically, Marihuana is legal in California.
Adam brought us to a posh American bar where they have many different types of beer, and lots of different food, but only one hamburger. It was a so-called luxury-hamburger. We ordered a burger each, and it was a burger that I will never forget. Best burger I've ever eaten,but also the most expensive. It was a thick 100% Angus burger meat covered with caramelized onions and melted stilton cheese. It was brown on the outside and red on the inside, and every bite we took the juice was running out of the burger. This is how I imagined a burger in America to be like!
After this we were driving up the coast past Santa Monica beach, up to Malibu. We went to a beach to swim and found out that even though LA is hot the water is still cold. Torunn saw a dolphin. We drove back through a mountain pass and a national park. The area was familiar, so Adam informed us that this was where the classic TV-series MASH was filmed.
In the evening we ate in a Japanese restaurant with Adam and Eva, another gastronomic experience.
The day after was our last day in LA. We spent the afternoon in Santa Monica beach, where we got the opportunity to see vividly in action. This is the beach where Baywatch was filmed. In the evening we went to a barbeque at Adam and Eves friends house.
They lived in a fine house rett at Venice beach. The food was great, and the company was perfect. Adam made a strawberrycake for desert, which managed to convince Torunn that there are good strawberries outside of Norway.
Adam drove us to the airport where we thanked him and bowed to distinguished host and gastronomic talent before we jumped on a 9 hour long Owlet Moths to Cook Island.