Arriving in LA was a shock to the system. Faced with the prospect of having to embrace civilisation we thought we would try to blend in with the locals. After a relaltivley painless customs experience, finger printing and pictures, (thankfully customs haven't gone as far a full body searches yet), we picked up our SUV, with blacked out windows, to negototiate the infamous freeways of LA.
Traffic problems in LA are not an urban myth, it took several hours to travel less than 10 miles to our humble abode in Hollywood. Having made it to the Motel 6(Nice!) we took to the streets to spot our favourite stars on the walk of fame. Walking down Hollywood boulevard we stumbled across our first movie Premiere. With pavements cordoned off around Manns chinese theatre and crowds nearing hysteria we thought we were in for some serious Hollywood A list celeb spotting. After finding out what was showing and who was in the movie we were a little disappointed to say the least. The only name we recognised was Vanilla Ice....We decidied not to hang around.
Next day we booked onto one of the celebrtiy tours that plague the rich and famous of Beverley Hills. Highlights included the car park were Hugh Grant was arrested, the toilet were George Michael was arrested and the corner were Julia roberts was picked up by Richard Gere in the movie Pretty Woman. Amongst the sleaze there were the houses(or former houses anyway) of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, George Harrison and James Dean. Modern day celebes to make it onto the tour were Ozzie Ozbourne(who has a court action out against all the tour companies), Tom Cruise, Nicholas Cage and Ben Affleck.
On Friday we caught up with Scott, who we met in Alice Springs, for lunch and a beer. It was great to see him again and find out what he has been upto. Post lunch saw the much anticiapted arrival of Mrs. P.'s brother, John. After several laps of LAX airport(you are not allowed to park outside the terminal to pick up) we eventually found him. We headed off to our new hotel for the weekend. This was a world way from the sleazy Motel 6 in Hollywood. When Checking into "Casa Del Mar" we truly felt like the Clampets from the Beverley Hill Billies. The room was amazing, Lounge(with fire), massive bedroom, jacuzzi bath tub and no less than 16 clean towels!!(at last). The next day was dedicated to shopping. After several hours of trawling through every shop in LA(in the rain) Mr. P. was starting to grow disgruntled. Recognising the signs Mrs. P. changed tactics and sped him off to Universal studios for the afternoon. Universal was great. The highlights being Jurassic Park ride and The Mummy(which we went on 4 times). That evening we went out to dinner with John for possibly one of the best Italian meals we have ever had. Only in LA could you find a cheeky waiter who was more than complimentary about John's wine selection, he actually helped himself to a small glass of wine and sat down at the table with us while the rest of the restaurant seemed to grind to a halt.
Sunday saw the sun return to LA. Down grading the SUV for bikes we hit the cylce paths of Santa Monica beach and Venice Beach. After breakfast in Venice Beach we swopped over to roller blades. With Mrs. P. being the only one who had roller bladed before this had the potential to go horribly wrong, especially with John having to go to Vegas on business and the P's due to go snow boarding. After some minor spills, cut elbows and grazed knees Mr. P. seemed to pick it up quickly. John turned into the "skaternator"(the terminator on skates) as nothing could stop him and Mrs. P. looked her graceful self soaking up the LA vibe. It must have been the sun on our heads all day that made Mrs P and John finally fulfil a little dream they both had. After a relativily quick stop at the tattoo palour they emerged sporting an olympic rings tattoo (for John) and a dragon (for Mrs P). After too much fresh air and excercise we headed to the airport to say our goodbyes. John flying onto Las Vegas, and us to Denver to begin our snowboarding "holiday".