Friday, November 16, 2012

Our Trip: Los Angeles, California

We arrived in Los Angeles in the early morning hours.  We walked around Union Station for a while, trying to figure out what we were going to do until we could check in to our hotel.
Union Station...

From another viewpoint...

An interesting-looking flower outside Union Station
We decided to get breakfast.  We caught the Subway to the stop nearest to our hotel.  We got something to eat, and then contacted our hotel.  We were able to store our bags there until we were able to check in.  So, we walked to the hotel, left our bags, and went out to explore! 


We decided to go to Hollywood.  We wanted to see the Walk of Fame.  We caught the subway over, and as soon as we came up out of the subway station, we could see stars on the sidewalks for miles and miles!  We took some pictures of certain stars and pictures of the children standing or squatting near some of the stars.

As we walked further, we came across a large crowd of people on the sidewalk.  We really had no idea what was going on, but we did notice a person dressed up as Bumblebee from Transformers!  My boys LOVE the Transformers movies, cartoons, and toys…and my younger son’s favorite Transformer is Bumblebee!  The kids became very excited.  The person dressed up like Bumblebee motioned them over to stand with him so that we could take some pictures.  After pictures were made, he came over to us, and said, “Parents, I do this for tips.”  It would have been nice to know that ahead of time because we had absolutely NO cash on us!  So, we had to tell him that we didn’t have any cash and apologize…  We felt bad…but told the children not to get their picture made with anyone else because we didn’t know that it was for tips! 
The children and "Bumblebee" and many, many people in the background...
Later on, Mickey Mouse wanted them to come over for a picture, and I stepped in front of them, told the person in the costume that we couldn’t pay him anything because we did not have any cash.  He said, “Don’t worry about it.  Bring them on over.”

This was near the Graumans Theater.  Here we were able to see all of the foot prints, hand prints, and signatures of the stars in the sidewalk.  My daughter especially enjoyed the Shirley Temple one!  My boys loved seeing the “boot print” of “Iron Man.”  It was fun to walk around looking at all of the people who had been there. 
Grauman's Theater

Kodak Theatre near Grauman's Theatre...

The biggest argument in our family after the trip was about who saw the Hollywood sign first! 
I say that I did.  My children and husband were all standing around looking at something off to the right of where we were standing.  As they were standing there together, I began looking around.  It was then that I saw the “Hollywood” sign and told the others.  My husband said that it was the opposite way around…that he saw it when the children and I were not looking, and he pointed it out to all of us.  My 9 year old son said that he saw it first but did not say anything to anyone because he didn’t know it was that big of a deal!  Anyway, we did see the Hollywood sign.  To me, this was the most exciting thing in Hollywood.  It wasn’t at all what I was expecting.  It wasn’t as “nice” as I pictured…and there were a lot of bums with signs…some of the signs had “bad” words on them…and there were just so many people that it was invading to personal space. 
Across from Union Station (where the Amtrak is located) is an “old” area of Los Angeles.  The street name is “Olvera.”  We weren’t really planning on visiting that area because we didn’t even know about it.  However, it was like night and day compared to Hollywood.  There were a lot of venders on the street (it seems that it hasn’t been a street that people actually drive on for quite some time).  There were lots of shops up and down the street on each side selling anything and everything that you can imagine.  It was a beautiful area though, and not as crowded as other areas.  The people working in the shops and the street venders were friendly.  The oldest existing house in Los Angeles is located there.  You are welcome to walk through and learn about the rooms and how the people were able to do the things that we take for granted today.  It was beautiful there as well. 

As we walked to the end of Olvera Street, we saw some museums.  We decided to go into a couple of them.  The family favorite is the old Fire Station Museum.  We were able to learn about how fireman used horse-drawn carts to put out fires…how the horses and carts were stored when not in use…and many more interesting things that we would have never even thought about if we hadn’t “happened” upon this museum.

For future travel, my husband and I have agreed that we have no desire to return to Los Angeles.  There just didn’t seem to be a lot to “do” there for families…and the people really made me uneasy.  Strangers didn’t mind coming RIGHT up to you and talking to you, or asking you questions, or whatever.  I felt like my personal space was invaded many times.  I was very concerned about the children with the amount of people around as well…so much so that it made it hard to enjoy myself.  My husband agreed that it was hard to enjoy ourselves there...

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