Saturday morning, I had trouble with the time change thing and woke at 4:30am. I forced myself to go back to sleep til 7, lest I encounter a beating from my sister. We were on the road around 8, in search of coffee and then tourism, in order of importance. We drove up to Griffith Park, having heard the observatory offered the best view of the city.
We found the path up the hill and figured it’d be a short hike to the overlook. I had put heavy-duty sunscreen on my new tattoo but had neglected the rest, figuring we wouldn’t be spending much time outdoors until we got to the beach.
Well, the hike was a lot longer than we thought. And steeper. And incredible. Halfway up the mountain, you have excellent views of the whole city to the southwest, as well as the Hollywood sign. Closer to the top, you can see the mountains to the north, and at the summit you have a 360-degree view.
Stephanie kept swearing she wasn’t going to make it, and I was doing my best with the irritating persistence: there’s a path up a mountain. Getting to the top is like winning. It’s inconceivable not to make it. So we did.
There were a lot of people getting their daily workout on that hill. I was marveling at the joggers, some of whom were moving at a pace not much faster than our walk. I couldn’t believe people would run up that path, so I had to try it. It was exhausting, but somehow not as bad as I thought. I spent the rest of the hike wanting to run a lot, but knowing I might get a) yelled at or b) dehydrated.
We sat on a table at the top for a long time, enjoying the sun and the view and the amazing luck of a fairly un-smoggy day in Los Angeles. There were people on horses up there, people being in love, sweaty half-naked guys showing off doing pushups on tables, old Chinese men singing as they hiked, kids scrambling around, and a couple garbagemen who totally cheated by driving their truck up to the top. We finally decided to walk back down; the whole hike took about 2 hours altogether. The view is not to be missed.
We got Dick (the maturity level is high with us, yes indeed) and found ourselves a Trader Joe’s near the park. We bought fresh fruit and such for a picnic, then headed back to the beach at Santa Monica. The place was crazy, with the people on the promenade and the pier. It was sunny and would’ve been pretty warm if it weren’t for the wind. We crossed to the pier, went down to the beach, and had lunch, and then I laid on the blanket for a while. When it got too cold, we headed up to the pier, walking down to the end where we were nearly blown off into the ocean.
The pier was the same as the last time I was there: tacky gifts, people fishing, and stray street performers from the promenade. Also, I found about 10,000 potential boyfriends for Stephanie, and I don’t even think she appreciated it one bit. We decided to head back into LA to cover the obligatory touristy stuff, hoping we’d get more time at the ocean when the wind wasn’t quite so intense.
One of Stephanie’s favorite things about LA is KROQ. Even if they’re not playing great stuff constantly, it’s at least listenable 99% of the time. I was happy to hear them playing Hysteria by Muse, even if it kind of sucks when a song you like a lot becomes a radio single. But there there were two songs that began to plague us within 24 hours: that one about Beverly Hills by Weezer (which was funny for all of 10 minutes because of the novelty of being there), and this song by Pepper that goes, ‘why won’t you have some dirty hot sex with me?’ Which was funny for probably 2 seconds, and then became the worst song ever to be played over and over and over on the radio.
We stopped for coffee before heading to the La Brea tarpits. Stephanie was amused at the Chinese businessmen in Starbucks who kept reading my hoodie; I was just hoping it didn’t say something offensive.
The tarpits surprised me. See, you walk through the gates next door to LACMA, and you smell tar. I didn’t know they were active! I thought it was all prehistoric and such. But no, even to this day, you could stumble right into a tarpit and in hundreds of thousands of years, the robots of the future can excavate you and put you in a museum, too! That’s some exciting shit, if you ask me.
After the tarpits, we went over to see Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. We parked a few blocks away, one car in front of a guy who looked exactly like Johnny Knoxville (but looked lost enough to not be Johnny Knoxville), and two cars in front of a burnt-out car, which was pretty awesome. The insides of the windows were all black. I don’t think there were bodies inside, but we couldn’t have known for sure.
There was some big event going on at the Kodak Theatre, the whole red carpet/limo bit, and the impersonator-folks were out in force. We saw Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper, Superman, Catwoman with her ass exposed, Beetlejuice, a fat Spiderman, and various others. Grauman’s was mobbed as always. We took a look at the footprints and the stars on the street, and were generally unimpressed. Hollywood celebs don’t do a whole lot for me.
We wandered down Hollywood Boulevard, trailing Beetlejuice. There was a couple sitting on the street holding a sign saying they were pregnant and stranded from Pennsylvania. We walked past a booth full of geeky-looking folks and I heard the familiar beep of AIM; it cracked me up that a dude was sitting on the street IMing. I just now looked up what they were all about: liningup.net. Hahaha.
We took Sunset Boulevard into Beverly Hills, and spend some time driving through the neighborhoods gawking at stars’ homes. Again, not so impressive. We drove way up in the hills, and then down again, and could smell Dick’s brakes. We decided to let him rest for a while, so we drove down to Rodeo Drive to check out the shopping. I didn’t expect I’d find anything to interest me there, but then I found the Taschen store. I love their books. I didn’t see anything different than what Amazon could sell me for cheaper, but it was cool to see all their stuff in one place. We went up to Via Rodeo and saw the really high-end stuff. I admit it’s an irritating habit of mine to get pissed off about it, but I do. God knows I can shop, but there’s a level at which spending that amount of cash on something becomes really obscene. Anyway. My sister pointed out a Maserati on the street, which I guess was a big deal. We’d been seeing Bentleys all day, so I wasn’t sure how it was different.
We needed food and still wanted pizza, and were beyond trying to drive around and find something with all the vegetarian healthiness I needed and the general goodness of pizza (I have found this place; it’s in Minneapolis, and it’s called Pizza Luce). So we went for what we knew: CPK. We found one at Beverly Center, quite possibly the most irritating mall ever invented. We were amused at the other patrons waiting for tables: there was a very friendly boy-band, and a woman named Sammi with her passel of kids, who was so Beverly Hills it wasn’t even funny. Throughout dinner, we could hear her smoker’s-voice reverberating in the restaurant as she referred to herself in the third person. LA is awesome like that.