With my brother and his girlfriend in town, and keen to undertake one of those touristy hop on/hop off bus tours, J kindly took the day off work to mind the Faery and Miss Pie so that I could play tag along. After being in LA for well over a year, I still hadn't done anything hugely touristy.
We decided to do two of the four available circuits - one around Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and one that interchanged at Beverly Hills and took us to Santa Monica, passing through Century City, Brentwood... and a shite load of traffic.
Each of these two circuits was supposed to take two hours, so we knew we were looking at a minimum of four hours on the road. The frequency of these buses varied from every twenty to forty minutes, so we knew we really only wanted to hop off once from each of the circuits. We opted for a walk around the shopping district in Beverly Hills - Rodeo Drive, baby! - and again at the pier in Santa Monica for a late lunch.
It was quite fun, until it was time to head back from the beach to to Beverly Hills , and we hit a major snarl of traffic.
Did I mention these buses were open-top double-deckers?
Did I mention I forgot to vigorously reapply my sunscreen?
Yeah. Smart, huh?
I'd estimate that we ended up spending at least five hours on those buses, four of which were in the sun (once the morning grey had lifted)... and five hours inhaling the finest, most pure LA road fumes.
I know, I know - no one forced me to sit up the top of the bus. However, the views from inside, downstairs, were fairly limited. This was a sightseeing expedition, after all.
Needless to say, by the time I got home, my lungs felt like they were lined with gunk, and my skin in need of a good soak and scrub.
Only one problem. My skin was too poorly for a scrub - it was a hot shade of red already. Nothing like having a white camera strap outline across one's neck - plus red shoulders and nose to rival Rudolph's - to make one feel foolish. On a vain note, the contrast of my skin colour gives the illusion of my neglected blonde hair now appearing lighter.
Speaking of highlights, one of the highlights of the day was going past the Whisky a Go Go, on Sunset Boulevard.
When I was fifteen - and going through a small obsession with The Doors - I sneakily borrowed my mother's copy of No One Gets Out Alive. I say sneakily, because my parents were quite overprotective of me, and didn't want me reading about sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Hmm. My mother did end up finding the book under my pillow, and reclaimed it before I'd finished it, but not before I'd read about The Doors playing regularly at the Whisky a Go Go.
We drove past it once, last year, but were on the other side of the road and moving fast, so it was mostly a blur. This time, I got a great view - look closely (below) at who's scheduled for the next gig.
Ray Manzarek and Bobby Krieger from The Doors... how FREAKY is that? Even more so because my brother was with me, and we have a shared history and appreciation where The Doors are concerned.
It made my day, actually.