This is part 3 of a collection of diary entries by Vikki‘s dad during his holiday in Los Angeles (from London), January 2005. Links to earlier entries at the end of this post.
Woke up early again about 5.30am tried to go back to sleep but got up at 6.ooam, its good really as it enabled me to pack ready to leave. I have been in two minds whether or not to stay another night, as I am a bit concerned about picking up the car. Anyway shaved showered and had breakfast by about 8.15 am Got on the shuttle to LAX Airport and then the Dollar car rental shuttle to the rental lot. Itís a bit of a hassle hanging around for shuttle buses but hey itís free so what the hay. Arrived at the rental lot bang on the dot 9.00am and allowed the guy to fleece me into upgrading to a better car, real nice Dodge Stratus automatic. Checked out and on the road by 10.00am.
Deliberately got lost making my way back to the hotel, as I wanted to drive around and get the feel of the motor, as well as acclimatise myself to driving on the right instead of the left. I was amazed at how quickly I adjusted I think it helped that the steering wheel is on the right as well. Have to think twice now and again and a bit foxed by the street signs but found my way back to the hotel by 11.00am. Have decided to stay another night after all, as I want to drive around L.A. for a bit.
Haggled with reception to get the room 20 dollars cheaper at 59 dollars for the extra night, I reckon this is around £36 sterling, not bad considering. Went to Fox Hills Mall for coffee. Having sorted out the Hotel I decided to have a drive down to the beach for a look around. Saw a sign for Marina Del Rey and followed it. It is amazing how big L.A. is and if you sort of drive around the cliff roads what amazing views you get. I have always had a passing interest in houses and the different styles and forms of construction you get here are brilliant. Eventually drove into and around Marina Del Rey, but parking is impossible. Spent some time driving up and down the Marina roads admiring the fantastic array of boats moored alongside. There were all kinds excellent Boats as far as the eye could see. Found a lettered lay-by and got out to do some cam cording. It may seem odd to you but I love just driving around and the stratus is so easy to drive that you can quite safely take in the scenery without endangering other road users.
Carried on to El Segundo, what a great looking place, lovely looking beach with little seaside style markets, Hells Angels and Hippies abounding all over the place, unfortunately no where to park. Decided to make my way back to xxxxxxxxxx area along the coastline and finally came to Manhattan Beach. Unbelievable I had finally found a place where you could park for free. Nice little beach if somewhat deserted, it had a sort of meandering tarmac cycle/running track running through it. Most important it had a usable public toilet, very important for the tourist. I had a stroll down to the ocean, itís the pacific here, could not resist having a paddle. I was hoping to come back later and have a swim but the water is bloody freezing, despite the temperature being in the seventies, so that is right off the agenda.
Felt confident now to try the Freeway. Panicked slightly and went south instead of north, keep thinking that I want to go south because it is warmer. Made for an interesting drive, although some of the neighbourhoods looked distinctly unsavoury. Always when you see somewhere slightly ëdown at heelí you will always start noticing more police cars. I had read somewhere that some of the gangs in L.A are not past driving an old banger into another car so that they can then mug the occupant of the newer car. Finally found my way back on to the freeway and was rewarded with the most magnificent view of the city with the snow-capped mountains in the background. Arrived back at the Hotel approximately 5 hours after leaving, having put around 100 miles on the clock. Terrific huh boys will be boys.
Had a couple of hours rest before taking myself over to On The Borders for a final meal of Carnitas (fried pork) and refried baked beans and do-it-yourself tortillas, cheap filling all-American fayre. These people are starting to recognise me I had a great conversation with the barmaid, Tanya, she gave me directions on how to find an Internet CafÈ but as I am pulling out for San Francisco in the morning I will probably not look for it. Also it is early closing tonight so back to the Hotel for a glass or two of scotch and an early night.