The post Disneyland glow had worn off, our neighbours had kept us up the entire night before smoking, laughing and drinking right outside our adjoining door and the harsh reality that was the public bus back from Anaheim to Downtown LA was looming over our heads. The backpacks were repacked, strapped tight onto our backs and we made the journey to Disneyland Drive to the public bus stop, made worse by the fact it was on the opposite side of the park to where we were situated and we couldn’t very well just duck on through! Our Uber out to Anaheim had taken a breezy 40minute journey from our hostel in Hollywood to the inn, however this public bus took a casual two and a half hours, seemingly stopping at every random, ghetto neighbourhood on the way through to the concrete jungle.
We returned to our humble abode of Banana Bungalow Hostel after a short subway ride to Hollywood Boulevard once more, and realised that we were checking into the same room and bunks as before – it was quite nice to be back in familiar territory, as I wasn’t too sold on the idea of dormitory accommodation just as of yet! We gathered a map, list of sights to see and the various bus routes to be taken and off we went again – no rest and no downtime seemed to have become the travelling conditions for us both.
We had decided that whilst in Los Angeles, we should probably suss out all the hype and fuss that surrounds Rodeo Drive and do some celebrity spotting amongst our day, so we found the bus station down the road and hopped on the correct route bus. We were exhausted from the past two days and the fact that we had yet to stop and even smell the roses on the trip at this point, so when it was determined that we were on the correct bus route but were heading in the complete opposite direction for the past hour, as we had failed to catch the bus on the right side of the road – safe to say our relationship was truly put to the test and Blake was not a happy camper!
Another hour to get back to where we were and then a further half hour to drive and walk, we finally arrived to Rodeo Drive – both of us cranky and a tiny bit hot and bothered. To add insult to injury, Rodeo Drive was completely and utterly underwhelming. The streets seemed a bit sterile and false, designer labels littering both sides of the palm-tree lined streets for a few blocks with next-to-no actual customers in sight. It was quiet, unpopulated (with the exception of us and a few other tourist types) and clearly no celebrities to be seen. A small block comprising of only a few cross streets, it is a much smaller district than we imagined and took all of about 10 minutes to cruise the entire block.
It is true that the cars that roam these few blocks are truly a sight to be seen; my personal favourite was a completely chrome-wrapped Mercedes Benz that seemed to reflect every single light source on earth and would hardly be deemed roadworthy in our country back home. However, these Ferrari’s, Maserati’s, Lamborghini’s, Mercedes’ and Range Rovers aren’t driven by fancy celebrities like you would expect in such a typical LA way. Blake and I were quick to point out that ninety-nine percent of these car owners were all of the same demographic – balding, middle to older aged men, driving living proof of their mid-life crises. Super highlight for me in Rodeo Drive area was finding a surrounding smaller street that housed a ‘Sprinkles’ store. Home of the notorious world’s first Cupcake ATM machine – a truly novel way to dispense baked goods, it advertises freshly baked cupcakes and cookies available 24/7. Blake agreed after some convincing that this was necessary to fit into the daily budget (hint: it didn’t), and after a quick swipe of my card, a warm and fresh salted caramel cupcake was ours to devour. Is it a gimmick? Probably so. Is the end product worth it? Absolutely.
We then headed onto Sunset Strip, to see what WeHo had to offer us and I think we found the one neighbourhood so far that we would definitely return to in future travelling escapades. Filled with loads of boutique hotels and accommodations, culinary delights through the many different restaurant options to choose from and tonnes of bars and nightclubs scattered along the entire strip, it definitely seemed like a much more happening and exciting neighbourhood and offered a totally and completely different side to Hollywood that we were yet to see. Our loves to eat good quality food and party until the sun comes up would truly be sufficed here and would definitely be a place that we could see ourselves returning to on a trip with a much more flexible budget. It’s interesting to see history woven in amongst the fresh, modern new places. We saw the ‘Whiskey a Go Go’ club where many legendary bands first got a start in their careers, all the way to where River Phoenix famously ended his career and life, at the previously owned by Johnny Depp ‘Viper Room’.
At this point in time, it was completely dark – we were tired and hungry and needed a way back down the hill to where we were residing and preferably a nice feed along the way. After walking down the strip, heading in the right direction this time, we eventually picked up a bus that was honestly the answer to our prayers, and alighted right outside In-N-Out burger. Most of you who know us, know that Blake and I are honestly burger addicts and have tried a fair few decent burgers in our time – so this was a definite must-do for us when we were in LA. The lines were insanely long and snaked the entirety of the inside of the building and tables were incredibly hard to come by. For a fast food chain, this seemed like a huge deal to us – we had never seen such a huge fuss made over some burgers and fries! However, the lines were quick moving with incredible service by the counterworkers and we before we knew it, we were seated at a table in the corner we had quickly snaked – with a Double-Double, a Cheeseburger and the not-so-secret menu item of Animal Style fries in our hot little hands. Although the fries were cold, the burgers went down an absolute treat and it’s safe to say I will be incorporating Thousand Island sauce into my burger recipes for the near future – it definitely did not disappoint! We finished our day another semi-early night, packing our day bags in advance and prepping for our early entry to Universal Studios Hollywood and Harry Potter World – a definite highlight of the USA for us.