365:316 Venice Canals


You may or may not know already, the main reason for Keris and I heading to LA is because of Keris’s new, exciting book news. Keris has a new book due out next year which will be set in Los Angeles. So, to all intents and purposes, the super-extreme fun we were having together was all in the name of research.

One of the things Keris had to do was wander around Venice, getting a feel for the place. Discovering lots of lovely little details about the places where her characters will be hanging out and meeting each other. I felt quite privileged to have this insight into Keris’s workings as a real, live author and I can’t wait to read the book now, to spot all the little things we spotted and the people we saw.

After our wander around the canals and Venice, we walked down the Boardwalk to the cafe where we’d scarfed down a couple of burgers the day before. It seemed like the perfect place for brunch. It turned out to be an excellent choice. We dined finely on Eggs Benedict with a mimosa on the side while we watched everyone walking past and the stall holders setting up for the day. Then it was on to another walk down to Santa Monica to meet a tour bus which promised us five whole hours of seeing all of Los Angeles.

The tour bus was brilliant. We saw so much. After a quick sojourn to Venice (the guide pointed out the house where Lindsay Lohan was recently under house arrest and a couple of landmarks well known from the movies and tv shows) we headed into the Hollywood hills where our guide pointed out famous people’s house. Famous people like Steven Spielberg, Adam Sandler and Bill Cosby. I was astonished at how close the houses are to each other. It’s just like living on any old street except with bigger houses, huge gates and security cameras.

The tour guide took us all through Los Angeles, pointing out all the spots where famous people had been caught in compromising situations (Hugh Grant, George Michael!), had died (River Phoenix), had stayed while in LA (The Beatles) and although it might not sound like it, it was really quite a thrill.

Occasionally we stopped for a look around and to take some photos. We stopped at Rodeo Drive…

High end shopping in a squeaky clean part of town which felt like a Disney set on Rodeo Drive.

Like, really high end shopping. I didn’t dare to even breathe on the glass.

After walking around the block, looking for the restrooms, we decided just to go in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Yeah, if it’s good enough Julia Roberts….

We stopped on Mulholland Drive (Mulholland Drive, bitches!) and took photos of the Hollywood sign…

And we stopped at Hollywood Boulevard and took photos of just about everything!

The first thing I noticed was the Walk of Fame, the stars on the pavement with the famous names on them. That was fairly exciting until I saw the hand and footprints outside the Chinese Theatre and forgot all about the Walk of Fame.

Mann’s Chinese Theatre. It’s a theatre and it looks Chinese!

I admit, I came over a bit teary when I was looking at the handprints of all the old, classic movie stars. Didn’t help either when an older bloke came over and said, “You know what’s sad? It won’t be long until all these young people,” he gestured around us, “forget who these stars are.”

I’m still young!

Oh, Calam’!

Keris tries on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s handprint for size.

Why Johnny Depp, what utilitarian boots you have.

The Kodak Theatre is right next door to Mann’s Chinese Theatre. It’s apparently quite new. It’s certainly quite sparkly. If we’d had more time, I’d have liked to spend some money here. (I did anyway, but only a little bit.) We also met a couple of famous people here. A young actor from a teen show who I’d never heard of and an Australian ballroom dancer from the USA’s Strictly Come Dancing equivalent,  Dancing with the Stars who I’d never heard of. But Keris knew who they were so she got a thrill from having her photo taken with them.

Ooooh, sparkly and new!

The Kodak Theatre has a great view of that Hollywood Sign again.

And that was the end of the tour. We drove back to Santa Monica where we had a look around, finding a great shopping district called the Third Street Promenade. Again, if we’d had more time, I’d have loved to spend more of it (and money) here.

And then we had dinner and margaritas at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on Santa Monica Pier watching the ocean in the dark. A wonderful, wonderful day.