Hollywood/San Diego - the adventure really begins

Trip Start Mar 31, 2013
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Trip End Apr 22, 2015

Flag of United States  , California
Monday, April 1, 2013

Day two started and their was an air of excitement that this was our first proper day in the USA. We decided from early on that morning that the Clippers v Pacers game was on the agenda if it was reasonably priced. After all with Danny Granger out for the Pacers, they would probably need me to suit up to hit bulk Js. Before that, we gave into one of the 8000 people trying to sell us a Hollywood tour and we were extremely glad we did. The tour was great and the guys we did it with, Hollywood / Beverly Hills tours, were very informative and reasonably priced. Saw all the sights including the mansions of Adam Sandler, Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, George Clooney, Danny Devito, Usher, Micheal Jackson, Snoop Lion, Christina Aguilera, Mark Wahlberg, Tom Cruise and heaps more. 

Also saw the playboy mansion (Happy Birthday to Heff for yesterday), as well as the houses used to film Doctor Seuss, Ironman and Charlie's Angels, Brady Bunch, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Freddy Kruger and others. 

 Other notable places we passed included the place where Brittney cut had a brain fade and cut all her hair off, Beverly Hills Hotel, Hollywood High (Forest Gump and Grease Filmed there), Jimmy Kimmel live stage,  Hotel Roosevelt, Laugh Factory, plenty of celebrity owned clubs and others

There is certain times when you must realise that you have too much money and for one house in particular, it was plain to see. We saw the biggest house in the US which is owned by Tamara Eccleston, the daughter of British F1 boss, Bernie Eccleston... The house itself is valued around the $85 million mark and it features a Starbucks coffee, bowling alley, 87 car spaces, 24 bedrooms making and much more making it almost as big as my Mum and Dad's on the Gold Coast. The 23 year old model has done very well for herself and unfortunately for me, she is taken but there is still hope.... It really opened our eyes to the glitz and glam of Beverly Hills. The tour itself changed my opinion of LA pretty quickly! Within a couple of blocks I went from feeling like I was about to be mugged to looking like I was about to do a mugging... Another great Moment was when our tour guide asked if I liked "to get fucked up"! I then realised after he asked me "just alcohol?" that he was trying to sell me drugs. This trend becomes very evident all throughout the US and for the record, I was quick to decline our tour guides generous offer.

The highlight of the day was definitely the Clippers v Pacers game. The Clips staged a miraculous comeback after being 25 down mid way through the third term on the back of some brilliant play from Bledsloe, Odom and Crawford. A notable mention must also go to Ronny Turiaf who failed to get on the court but would have to be the best towel whipper and motivator on any bench in the NBA. Unfortunately for us and the home crowd, Lamar Odom failed to nail a 3 pointer on the buzzer to send the game to overtime but it was awesome despite being right in the cheap seats. We were buzzing after the game but not a lot was open so we decided to go back to the hostel and meet a few people. After polishing off out 1.75 l bottle of rum between the 3 of us which we bought for $21, we hit the hay at about 630am.

Day 3 though would without a doubt be the best day so far and will go down as one of the greatest events I have ever seen. The day itself was pretty quiet as Cam stayed in bed nursing a massive hangover but it was the night that was awe inspiring. The mighty Dallas Mavericks led by the great one , Dirk Nowitzki were to take on a little known team, the Los Angeles Lakers, in a battle to make the NBA finals. What made it even more amazing is that we had picked the night where former Lakers great, Shaq O'Neal would have his jersey retired. This is only the 9th jersey retirement in the long and rich history of the Lakers so to randomally get tickets to this massive game was just unbelievable. We arrived early at the stadium as it was the hottest ticket in town with the news of Shaq's jersey retirement. We arrived about 2.5 hours before tip off and decided to explore around the Staples Centre. It really was a buzz with excitement and I truly felt that I was the only Dallas fan at the game repping my Dirk jersey which can be seen in the pictures below. We had a chat with a few American guys along the way who were all disgusted in my team choice but at the same time were very welcoming and friendly.  Shit started to get serious when we picked up our tickets and they stated we were in "Premier Seating". I thought that could be on all tickets but we soon learned that we were in the VIP section. WINNNING!!! A huge thanks should go to my awesome sister and Cams sister, Jess who gave the tickets. You were a massive contributing factor to us having an awesome night and the tickets were literally unbelievable. After exploring we went around Staples and lapping in the atmosphere, we lined up out the front. Next awesome moment, they were handing out FREE Shaq jerseys that were awesome quality. I thought I had died and gone to heaven (despite being a Mavs fan). I was actually like a kid at Christmas. The result itself was somewhat disappointing with the Mavs going down 101 - 81 as Dirk and the boys were dominated on the glass but the atmosphere was simply electric! Kobe produced a ridiculous block on Brandon Wright that made the crowd go absolutely nuts! Seeing Shaq's jersey retirement was also just breathtaking.  Boy he is a hugeeeeeee man. Him bealowing out "CAN YOU DIG IT" in front of all the fans was both hilarious and phenomenal. I went out with a couple of randoms English Lads and an Aussie fella from Brisvegas that I met in the hostel but the boys decided to stay in. I don't think you can ever feel truly safe in Hollywood at night but I had fun. Certainly a very interesting town but not one that I will be particularly keen to go back too.

People trying to sell hardcore drugs on the street to randoms must be a thing here in Hollywood as my count continues to rise as does that of Cam. People must think Cort is already on crack as no normal person could grace the streets with his haircut and nose ring. I assume he had a might with a blender and lost by KO. Personally, I'm very happy sticking with the ridiculously strong, ridiculously cheap American alcohol though. Thanks intimidating African American men but I will pass. 

We left for San Diego the following day going by train and taking in he sights on the 3 hour trip. We were happy to be in San Diego and just the outskirts looked much nicer than anything we had already seen in Hollywood. It turned out to be just that and the two days we were to have there literally didn't seem enough time. We arrived at the hostel but on our 10 block walk there we also noticed another Distinct difference between Hollywood and San Diego.... All the freaks and weirdos had been replaced by stupidly good looking women! JACKPOT! I swear all the good looking American girls must congregate in San Diego. I definitely wasn't complaining (not sure if Cort was though, he has already had been accused of being gay by two English blokes... Take a hint with that Haircut) Being a genuine 9.5, I was glad to once again fit in and be around other astonishing attractive people.........

We were staying in the heart of what is known as the Gaslamp Quarter/District which is literally so cool. Both sides of the road are lined with bars and restaurants, the culture is amazing and it is around the corner from both the spectacular San Diego Bay as well as the home of the San Diego Padres, Petco Park. We spent most of our time whilst in San Diego walking around the Bay, watching the plethora of American sport on TV at one time in local bars, meeting new people and exploring Petco Park. There is so many food options to have in the US but Cam is yet to order a meal that doesn't contain Tacos. I must admit he did branch out and have an Quesadilla one day but he made sure he had a side of corn chips and salsa not to get to far out of his comfort zone.

That night we went on a  pub crawl around the Gaslamp with some of the boys from the hostel. Aussie blokes who were there for the same reasons we were. Started at "The Shouthouse" which featured two guys on dueling pianos playing all the hits. It was reminiscent of the classic 2011 Romanian Eurovision entry Playing with Fire and we all know how good that is. It didn't take long for "the loudest and most over the top guy in all of Australia" as one of the boys described me to be up in the middle of the stage singing "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred. It would have been rude not too, I had to give the fans what they wanted.

We visited a number of other joints including Whiskey Girls which was next to our hostel and became a bit of a local but we probably had the most fun at Double Deuce which was complete with a mechanical bull. All three of us had a crack on the bull as did our new Aussie mates. I would argue that I was the best on the bull and there is video footage and some unwelcome bruises between my legs to prove it. Cort and I even managed to get invited back to some new friends house in the suburbs of San Diego for kick ons which was a lot of fun. Another thing that should get a mention is that there is a 4th member of our crew who is travelling around the world with us. He is easily the #loosest out of the lot of us and he will begin uploading photos on Facebook soon. His name of course is Spongebob Squarepants. This resilient little bugger has survived plenty of kidnap attempts and is still with us and will be for the rest of the tour. Watch for his travels on the Facespace.

Other major highlights in San Diego included our visit to the home of the San Diego Padres, Petco Park. We decided to do the tour of the ballground before we San Diego and it was another great experience. It was an awesome to get a great look into what goes on behind the scenes. I'm sure it will make the game that we see in San Francisco even more exciting. The condition of the outfield was just unbelievable which made it so much harder to turn down their offer to play for them this year after my former team "The Compton Panthers" disbanded. Maybe I will be back in a few years time. 

Just walking around the beautiful city of San Diego and even managing some time to shot hoops right on the bay was an experience in itself. We managed to have a quick game of 2 on 2 with another bloke who had basketball skills that could be compared to that of a retarded baby emu. Wow it was painful to watch. Despite this Cam and I went down to Cort and "Kobe" thanks to some blatant cheating from Cort. Some of the hardest and worst fouls I have ever seen were committed on me but as we were playing "genuine streetball" so I couldn't really do much. 

I met some wonderful people in San Diego and it really is a city I could live in. I wish we were able to stay for longer and revisit some place however Cort kept handing out his "Call me, Maybe" business cards every time we got the cheque and then would refuse to go within about 500m of the joint. It's funny watching Cort struggle with the language barrier and his communication with girls when he isn't drinking. It generally consists of him freezing up and looking to me for help. Can't wait to see him in Europe where they don't actually speak English....

It has become a continuing trend that Cam and Cort will rarely tip overhear in America despite it being common practice. It's a frustrating and obvious difference between our two countries however something I knew that I had to do. With the minimum wage in many of these places at about $3 an hour, I sometimes think that we don't understand how lucky we are to live in Australia.

Our next destination is Las Vegas with is sure to be a lot of fun and probably the most expensive city that we go too. One thing is a given, we will definitely be getting #loose
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