I must first apologize for the length of this post, but I wanted to get the worst part of the day over with as quickly as possible!
Overall, the L.A. Tour wasn't as horrible as I was expecting, but it did have it's moments. It started off bad when we left almost 45 minutes late from the bus center because they were either waiting on someone else or someone had gotten on the wrong bus...I'm not sure what the deal was. If I would have known there would have been such a wait, I would have spent more time walking around the hub. Alas, most of the pictures I took there were from my bus window (as were most of this day's, so please forgive for the quality):
I was really glad that I wasn't driving through L.A. to see the sights, because the traffic would have driven me insane!
My first up-close view of the city proper was pretty exciting:
And country bumpkin me even got a thrill out of the L.A. river (although rivers here aren't typically concrete-lined):
Our first official stop was Olvera Street:
But I think I was more interested in the scenery and architecture than the stores:
We only stopped at one cart to get breakfast...a fruity, yogurty, cereal concoction that was pretty good:
I managed to catch a few landmarks on the way to our next stop:
We did manage to see a film crew along the way:
We stopped at the Music Center next, although I'm not really sure why. There was some great architecture, but it's not like we could have gone inside:
Notice that lady...she sat in the row across from us on the bus and made it her life's mission to get her head and/or arms into as many of my pictures as she could! I'd set up the perfect shot and just as I push the shutter button, there she'd be, full frame! I'm still not sure how she managed to get this far into the frame that quickly, but it was the theme of the day between she and I. At least when I pointed the camera up, I could avoid her:
Again, I'm not sure why we stopped there, but it was only 15 minutes and off to our next stop we headed. I managed to get a far-off shot of Griffith Observatory (a place I would have MUCH rather gone to):
And the Hollywood sign:
Our next stop was Hollywood Blvd, the part of the journey I was dreading the most (and apparently for good reason). I managed a shot of the Capitol Records building (Duran Duran's old record label), although we didn't have time to get anywhere near it (or Duran Duran's star). I vow the next time I go to California, I WILL not only get a picture of Duran's star, but lay across it! Mark my words!
Here is where the pictures get a bit fuzzy although I did manage a few (especially once we crossed the street). I was dreading the worst when it came to Hollywood Blvd and got hit with far worse than I could have ever imagined. If any of you have Asper kids, NEVER take them to Hollywood Blvd! If the panhandlers weren't bad enough, then the grabbers will do you in! By the third time I was touched and/or grabbed, I was practically running down the street yelling "DON'T TOUCH ME!". I managed this snap before the grabbing started:
And didn't manage to gather my composure again until we reached the mall:
Where we didn't go into a single store because I was shaking so badly. Once we crossed the street, I was able to get a picture of the most important star of all (besides Duran Duran's):
We stopped into the Disney Studio Store (where I bought a pin), but once we reached this store:
We stayed put until time because I was just too terrified to step foot outside again. I could have literally kissed this seat once we got back on the bus (and the reason why I took a picture of it).
Once I had a few Xanax though, all was right with the world again. I had an ice cream in there somewhere, but my nerves kept me from remembering to take a picture of it. Once we got back on the road, we once again saw a ton of landmarks, but drove past them so quickly, it was a bit hard to get good pics:
Where our next major drive-by location was Beverly Hills:
We drove past a ton of famous storefronts, but the one I really wanted to see was covered in construction walls:
Overall, I wasn't that impressed. We drove past another place I would have liked to stop at, the La Brea Tar Pits and it was incredibly difficult to get pictures, especially with a certain lady's hands in my way the entire time!
I was focused out the window to my side and she was focusing through the bus driver out the front...I can't imagine a single one of her bus pics turned out decent. Our next stop was the Farmer's Market:
and although I didn't care for the confined nature of the place, there were some amazing stores as well as our first excellent meal of the trip (and quite arguably the best). It wasn't much, just a little counter service place:
But it definitely gave Tangierine Cafe at Epcot a run for it's money and is now my favorite shawarma dish ever! Tabbouleh heaven!
Next up in part 2 of day 2 will be my favorite part...Santa Monica.