. We found a liquor store (offy) and walked in to find plenty of cheap beer and a huge counter along the back of the shop. What was odd though is that the shop keepers are kept behind a plastic cage with little peep holes in - oh, no that's right, it's to stop them getting shot! Anyway, after being spoken at in Spanish we hurried back out to the car, locked the doors and scooted away. We then spent the rest of the day driving around downtown LA and Chinatown looking at the civic centre and wildlife, sorry, people of LA and trying to find somewhere to get some food. In the end we stumbled across a small Chinese takeaway owned by a friendly family who gave us the biggest portions of food you have ever seen!
We were up early the next day and checked out knowing that we were quite happy to see what we wanted to see in one day and get out of the city. First stop was Hollywood Boulevard where we walked up and down looking at the Walk of Fame stars in the pavement before returning to the Chinese Theatre to watch the street performers and costume wearers. We found Elmo, Spiderman, Darth Vader, Superman and Superwoman before getting a picture with Captain Jack Sparrow! Next on the tourist trail was a picture by the Hollywood sign, or as close you can get to it, and then a drive through Beverly Hills looking at the huge houses and boutique shops. We finished with a drive back to Venice Beach where we tried to take in as much of the atmosphere as possible, but being a Sunday afternoon it was heaving!
Having managed to see as much as we wanted in the day we headed out inland towards Las Vegas for the night. Although the motel we had stayed at was cheap and clean the thought of staying in rougher areas of the city did not appeal. It is almost a shame really - apart from the glitsy Hollywood and Beverly Hills, which are a little fake in some ways, Los Angeles really has not appeal to us. Each to their own.
The drive down through California was more determined by mother nature than our desire to go along the coast. Just south of San Francisco at Big Sur the forests and grass were all alight and the large fires of CA were hitting the news every day (not sure if it made British TV?). Therefore we had to travel inland along one of the main highways where the standard of driving and road surface made British drivers and motorways look angelic! We stopped overnight in a town called Selma before heading into Los Angeles on Saturday. Our route took us out to the coast just north of the city where we stopped to take in the views and cooler temperature before entering LA via Malibu and Venice Beach. Not knowing what to expect we booked one night at a motel chain near the airport (LAX) just incase it was, well, err, crap. In fact the accomodation was fine, it was the general state of LA suburbs that made you very aware of where you were. Our first eye-opener was when we decided to drive up the main street in an area called Inglewood to get some beers