Day 24--Tuesday, July 1, 2004
Luckily, the loud man was still shut up in his RV, asleep, when we got up in the morning, so it was pretty peaceful--at least until I went to shower. The woman in the shower next to mine apparently had no hot water, so she made herself feel better by screaming obscenities while she cleaned herself. For me, however, this was a rather unnerving experience.
We got backed up and started on the road to Los Angeles with me driving. We had just gotten into the city when my stomach was seized with horrible cramps. I had to find a bathroom, and fast. After being rejected at several gas stations, Ben dropped me off on the street and I dashed into a café.
Even after exiting the bathroom, however, my stomach felt no better. I laid down on the mats and tried to calm the shooting pains through my abdomen while Ben navigated the streets toward Hollywood.
By the time we got there, I really didn't feel any better. Ben helped me out of the car, and we started our trek down Hollywood Boulevard at a snail's pace, walking slowly as so not to upset my stomach and stopping every few minutes to rest. On the up side, this did give us a good opportunity to examine all the celebrity stars that studded the pavement.
After what seemed like a very long time to me, but was in actuality just a few blocks, we arrived at the Hollywood Wax Museum. The girl at the desk tried to sell us a joint admission to that and the Guinness Book of World Records Museum, even going so far as to lower the price when we refused. We held firm, though, mostly based on my stomach, and bought just the single admission.
I've got to admit that the Wax Museum wasn't very good. I was expecting something like Madame Toussaud's in London, and this certainly fell short. All of the exhibits were of stars in various movies, which was kind of neat, but honestly, I couldn't tell who some of them were without the display titles. We took plenty of pictures, rested a lot, and visited the bathroom so often to ease my stomach that Ben offered to take a picture of that too (I refused).
After exiting the museum, we progressed slowly up the street toward Grauman's Chinese Theater. We admired all of the hand and footprints in the concrete out front, and we were both especially impressed with how old some of them were.
We returned to our car via the other side of the street so that we could see more stars in the pavement. What followed next was a lot of driving in search of a good view of the Hollywood sign. Eventually, Ben resorted to consulting Let's Go for directions. During this entire experience, I lay in the back, clutching my stomach.
Eventually, our directions led us up a hill and into the parking lot of a small grocery store. Sure enough, we had an excellent view of the Hollywood sign. We snapped some pictures and then headed out to see a movie at Loews theater, since I had free tickets.
Ben was not too happy to realize that our trip to the theater basically took us back where we had come from, but we eventually made it to Universal City. Based on the times of the movies, we got tickets to Pixar's "Finding Nemo" and then went window shopping for a while. We spent quite a while in a magnet store, picking just the right ones to add to our collection, and then another long time while Ben sighed covetously over a Simpsons' hat and eventually decided not to get it.
My stomach was somewhat recovered by the time settled into our seats at the blessedly air-conditioned movie theater, so we got some popcorn and soda, since I hadn't eaten anything all day. Let's Go had told us that seeing a movie in LA was supposed to be this amazing experience, but really, it seemed to me like it was pretty much the same as any other movie theater. "Finding Nemo" was great though. It was incredibly cute and fantastically animated. Definitely a good experience.
After the movie, we did some more window shopping, and I got some posters for my classroom. We then went on a rather lengthy search for somewhere to eat dinner. Ben's first choice, BB King's Restaurant, and my first choice, Howling at the Moon dueling piano bar, were both just opening, and the entertainment wouldn't start for another two hours, so we eventually decided to bypass both of those. We ended up eating a burger and a steak salad at the Daily Grill, followed by some cotton candy from a street vendor.
After leaving Universal City, we traveled to see the shopper's mecca that is Rodeo Drive. We decided to view it from the car, partially because most of the shops were already closed, and partially because I felt so underdressed. We definitely had the least expensive car around by far, and I must admit that I felt kind of silly with the filthy condition of our car and the walking sticks strapped to the top! The store windows were filled with clothes that we will never be able to afford, but I'm convinced that most of them were styles that would only look good on manikins!
A little over an hour of driving and several wrong turns eventually brought us to Anaheim and the Best Western "Stardust" hotel, which had little glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling of every room. By t his point, we were pretty much both ready to collapse into bed--although not without some TV for Ben first!
11 / 40