I’ve had very polarising feelings about my first solo trip to Los Angeles. Having never travelled anywhere alone, I wondered what I would do all by myself as a lonely traveller. Realistically traveling for 4 days alone in North America is not scary at all, but just to be safe I booked myself into a six person room hostel, in Hollywood, to make sure I met people.
I found out almost immediately that Hollywood is pretty much a dump. It’s really touristy and commercialised, which is a complete contrast to the laid back beach town that I live in, in Australia. It’s also kind of refreshing though, so I went straight to Starbucks for some good old fashioned consumerism and free WiFi.
I decided to do a Celebrity Homes tour to get a grasp of my surroundings. I found a really cheap deal on Groupon, which ended up being cheap due to the fact that the roofless van had no seat belts and the speaker system barely worked, making it really hard to hear the tour. Regardless, I got to see the houses of everyone including Katy Perry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake, Dr Seuss, etc. I was surprised by how modest these homes were, and the prices weren’t insane either (for celebrities). We also went through Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills, and I got to grasp just how huge and complicated the layout of this city is.
After the tour I went to lunch. I’ve decided that I’ll only be eating Mexican food on this trip, and started off right by trying my first ever tamale for $2.50. It was delicious and I’m now on the search for LA’s best Mexican food.
Another first was being welcomed to the Church of Scientology. I’ve been reading “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology” by Leah Remini, which had me more than curious about the organization. Although, I’m sure they don’t approve of people coming into the centre to investigate the book’s claims, I couldn’t help my curiosity. Scientologists seem nice but I notice they are all really young. I got a free DVD and will be doing more investigating in the coming days. Maybe I’ll meet Tom Cruz.
Finally, I went on a tour of the TCL Chinese Theatre. I got a really discounted ticket but to be honest I felt like this tour was a waste of money. They didn’t show me anything that I couldn’t have seen on my own and I would have rather paid a bit more and seen a movie.
Outside the theatre I thought I saw Beetee from the Hunger Games, but he told me he was a famous boxer and from the Simpsons. I was pretty sure he was a liar, and very sure after he made me take a picture with him and then asked for a tip. I told him I only had $2 and he said no problem and pulled out a credit machine!
So far LA is a really interesting place. I’ve never been to a city that’s felt so big but not corporate. It’s a creative city where there is a sense of freedom, and it’s perfect for solo travelling.