Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our first day in Los Angeles

We arrived at LAX shortly before 7 in the morning, all of us exhausted because we'd hardly slept on the Delta flight from Sydney to LA. Not sure why. I usually get some good sleep in, and Joe certainly does. It was Helen's very first longhaul flight so nobody expected sleeping miracles from her, though I did try to coach her through it. I watched The Conjuring and Despicable Me 2 on the plane, as well as reading some of Piccadilly Jim by Wodehouse. I spent a lot of time with my eyes closed but no sleep was forthcoming. Alas.

So anyway, we were totally rooted and headed for our hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton at LAX hotel via the free airport shuttle. They kept our bags for us but apologetically said they couldn't check us in until at least 9:30am. Not to worry, we knew check-in was at 3pm so we were lucky to get early check-in at all! We wandered off to a Denny's Diner which was nearby for Helen's first taste of the diner experience. We were all quite full from the Delta flight (I have never been given so much food on a plane before! Value for money there) but I forced down some coffee.

Here's a pic of Helen and I looking wide awake and excited to be there (roughly 4am Sydney time).

Denny's had some very interesting Hobbit-themed items on the menu (a whole separate menu, in fact) for the release of the new Hobbit movie. Which reminds me, still haven't seen that yet...

After we went back to the hotel, checked in, and napped for 2-3 hours (desperately needed), we went down to see our concierge. We weren't really sure what we wanted to do but we knew we wanted to see the sights. Our tiredness was a big factor. The concierge booked the 3 of us in to do a "VIP Tour" with "VIP Tours" near LAX. It wasn't for a couple of hours, so we went and had lunch at the hotel restaurant.

Here we are, looking bleary-eyed. I thought I was doing the healthy thing by ordering a cobb salad, not really knowing what that was, and it came out with huge amounts of cheese and dressing on it. Oh yes, veeeery healthy.

Helen with her macaroni cheese

Me with my cobb salad

Joe with buffalo wings and onion rings
(read: Joe blissful and in Heaven)

So then we were off! Our driver was great and talked the whole way through the tour, pointing out various landmarks and interesting info about Los Angeles. As we approached each landmark, he'd explain how much time we had, and then we'd hop off for half-an-hour to an hour to explore the area. Then he'd pick us up again and we'd be off. It was the best thing for 3 weary, jetlagged travellers. We didn't have to do anything, just went along for the ride! Loved it.

On the way to Hollywood

The corner next to The Viper Room. Drove by too quick to get a good pic.


Extra points for being able to spot The Hollywood Sign in any of these pics.

Rodeo Drive

The Grove / Farmers' Market

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Friends

Before embarking on our Christmas trip to the States, we threw a small dinner party at home for a few friends - and it was great! Joe made another delicious turkey, and I baked my face off with caramel slice, truffles-- you name it, we made it. Sass brought pumpkin pie tartlets, Pippa made bread, B brought cake and wine-- all in all, a festively delicious affair.

And here are some pictures of our extremely attractive friends in our apartment at dinner, plus some of our festive fare.

Sass and Ellen

Wine from B

Pippa's homemade bread

B and Pip

Mikey and Javier


Pam's caramel slice
Old Family Favourite!!
(recipe from Condensed Milk tin)

B's cake, festooned with B's lights

The host and hostess