You know its near the end of the trip...April 27, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C
... when Seamus ran out of his own socks and is wearing mine at the airport
After our night at the overpriced dive bar we got up in the morning and were taken to a really cool diner by the beach by Eszter with her sister. It was famous because apparently John Wayne frequently ate there. It was good American diner food with huge portions ran by exclusively Mexicans. It was really fun to speak in English, Hungarian and Spanish at the same time with the waitress and other patrons in the diner after eating the huge meal and saying our goodbyes we stopped by a cool garden and then a historic Spanish mission on the way. It was famous for its huge amounts of swallows that would fly there at the same time every year in the beginning of marchRead more
After stopping for another round of bubble tea (they are just so good, and you can get a big cup for 3-4 dollars), we went on to Graumen's Chinese Theater. This movie theater is in the heart of Hollywood and has an auditorium with 2000 seats, that you can watch ordinary movies in! I was hoping we could catch a movie there, but unfortunately the next showing was from 10,and we didn't want to wait around for more than 2 hours. At least we found the place where the famous people's handprints are - we kind of expected to have these with the stars on the streets, and were disappointed the previous day when they were nowhere to be found.Read more
Again, I read about this place in a blog post, and I find it impossible to sum the place up better then he did there: by quoting from their website:
The Great Wall of Los Angeles is one of Los Angeles’ true cultural landmarks and one of the country’s most respected and largest monuments to inter-racial harmony. SPARC’s first public art project and its true signature piece, the Great Wall is a landmark pictorial representation of the history of ethnic peoples of California from prehistoric times to the 1950’s, conceived by SPARC’S artistic director and founder Judith F. Baca. Begun in 1974 and completed over five summers, the Great Wall employed over 400 youth and their families from diverse social and economic backgrounds working with artists, oral historians, ethnologists, scholars, and hundreds of community members.
Its half-mile length (2,754 ft) in the Tujunga Flood Control Channel of the San Fernando Valley with accompanying park and bike trail hosts thousands of visitors every year, providing a vibrant and lasting tribute to the working people of California’s who have truly shaped its history. The mural has been flooded five times between 1976 and 1983, with water rising, as high as Edison’s nose,” but it is not damaged by water. More dangerous is the effect of air pollution, years of exposure to direct sunlight, and fertilizer damage from the adjoining park lawns on the colors.
Each section takes a full year to research, organize, and execute. Youth of varied ethnic backgrounds between the ages of 14 and 21 must be recruited and interviewed. Those selected are employed as assistants and participate in both the planning and execution of the mural. These Mural Makers, mostly from low-income families, are paid through the Summer Youth Employment Program. The youths are supervised by professional artists who work with them four to eight hours a day. They also receive art instruction, attend lectures from historians specializing in ethnic history, do improvisational theater and team-building exercises and acquire the important skill of learning to work together in a context where the diversity of their cultures is the focus.
I already really liked the whole project and how it was made, but even aside from that we had a good time walking past the wall. There were quite a few names and places and events we didn't immediately recognise (or just have never heard about) so every couple of meters we ended up googleing things to understand more about them.
I have a few close up photos that we did with the camera, but right now I can't move them to the phone, so there's only these.Read more
Our drive led us back to LA, and as we haven't eaten anything since breakfast (apart from some dried mangos we bought on the side of the road) we decided to go to another eatery from Seamus's favourite food videos, this time it was a hotdog place. The guys at the shop was really friendly, he helped us choose 2 hot dogs, and we discovered he knows a few words in Hungarian as he had a good friend from Hungary when he was growing up. They were so good, that we decided to get 2 other ones, this time to go, as our parking meter was running out. We dropped in a few more quarters, and then went to the neighbouring park to eat them. This was the first park we saw apart from Griffith Park in LA, which feels very strange: there's really no public spaces around the town, no parks, no benches, no nothing. You hang out at home, or in restaurants, or I'm not sure where... We enjoyed the second hot dogs so much, that some random person told us to breathe between eating if we don't want to suffocate :D there was also a public library in the park which was nice, it had lots of books, magazines, movies, and computers free to use.
Oh, also before the hot dogs, we "had to" get to beers in the bar next to it, as the hotdog place didn't have a bathroom.Read more
After we gave up on ever renting anything from Turo, and Ester convincing us to stay another night, we decided to do the drive that Seamus originally wanted to. We drove up past Malibu on the 101 that we missed coming down the coast (as we turned east towards Las Vegas). We stopped at a nice seaside park called point Dume, but unfortunately there were no free parking spaces, so only I took a short walk, while Seamus waited in the car. Nearby we spotted a sign about an open house, and thought we might as well check it out and pulled into the driveway. We walked up to the house and a big living room and enormous terrace greeted us with a sea view. Eventually the realtor showed up, and freaked a bit out, as she was only supposed to let agents in... After we started walking back to the car she calmed down a bit, and chatted with us, apparently the rent for the house is 18500$ a month (but only in the down season, in the summer it's more). After this we drove up the mullholland highway and drove a famous short road known as "the snake" (the road with the most accidents in America) it is about 2 miles long but very twisty and narrow by American standards. We drove down it once with Ilus being thrown around everywhere by the sharp turns and then another time with Ilus deciding to sit it out and read instead :D the car being an SUV wasn't really made for this kind of driving so the poor engine was screaming and it had all different wheels wanting to slide around at different times going into the corners, luckily there were no accidents. At some point on the Mulholland drive suddenly quite a lot of cop cars appeared, and the road was closed off for a few minutes. Once we cod drive past, we saw lots of people and vans, and this strange big rolling trolley that they had a car on. We realised that they must be filming something, but we didn't know what. So we decided to pull over and ask the nearest person - who admitted it is the least glamorous thing of all: a mayonnaise commercial! On our way back to LA we drove through more very rich looking suburban little towns.Read more
The Griffith Observatory is on top of a hill in the middle os LA, surrounded by a park. There's the old La zoo in the park, that has no animals anymore, but you can still visit the cages and everything, which sounded really cool, but unfortunately the sun was already going down as we pulled into the parking lot, so we could only go to the observatory. It was a nice walk going up (we didn't want to take the bus after spending all day in the car). The building of the observatory looks really pretty with the background of the lights of LA. Also inside we found lots off cool and informative exhibitions, all for free! But most of our time we spent on the balcony looking out over the city, it had a really amazing view. We stayed so long looking at it, that traffic became bearable, and it took less than an hour to get back to Esther's place.Read more
We decided since we hadn't had the most eventful day we would get a crazy gratuitous dinner. We went to a recommended all you can eat Korean bbq restaurant which had around 20 different types of amazing meats on the menu including short ribs and thin sliced kobe style. As soon as we sat down we got the usual Korean assortment of 20 different little side dishes like pickled cucumbers covered in a red smoked chilli sauce, rice skins, different spicy vegetables and some other extremely spicy things. Seamus was a bit scared for his stomach since almost everything we ordered was quite a high level of spiciness so asked the waitress if there were any milky things - they just laughed and said there is beer, rice wine, or soju (basically rice vodka) so we had no escape from the spiciness :D we ate about a kilo of different meats than they would come and help grill us at our table to perfection. There's round little grilling stations in the middle of every table. They regularly swap out the metal bit, as soon as some meat starts sticking to it, someone comes along with a brand new clean one. We could order 3 different things at one time. We got super thin kobe beef, pork belly, tenderloin, beef short ribs, skirt steak, hanging tender (?) which was one of the nicest meats we had actually. It was an incredible feast of delicious meat, and we only left when we got really really full. By the time we left, the restaurant was quite full, and it finally made sense why they had valet parking, which seemed silly when we arrived: the cars were fit in the parking lot in multiple rows completely blocking each other in! Thankfully as we arrived early our car was not buried in 4 lines of cars, so we could get away easily. Afterwards we went and got us some bubble tea as dessert.Read more
For a few months now Seamus has been talking to anyone he met about Turo, the airbnb of cars, where you can rent out people's own cars for a day or so, and try cool cars for cheap. He was really looking forward to trying something truly American, and he already had the roads in mind near LA, where he wanted to drive them. Unfortunately the previous night we didn't discover yet, that t-mobile works in Esther's house, but at&t doesn't so we didn't really have Internet in the house. So he started verifying his account in the morning, and started waiting and waiting and waiting for them to look at pictures of his driving licence. In the end he found the address of one of the car rental places, so we drove there hoping that in the meantime he will get approved. The two owners of the place kept trying to get him to rent different cars, but as they only accepted payment through the app, we could do nothing. We went to have lunch to pass some time, we found a hawaian restaurant nearby. Seamus tried loco moco which is basically lots of Japanese rice, gravy, hamburger with runny fried eggs on top. Apparently it's a classic hawaian lunch dish. I had some banana pancakes which were really nice, but the amount totally defeated me, it was way too much. After some more calls with customer service it turned out they were completely useless so we still couldn't rent a car. We walked down the hollywood walk of fame which had lots of ceramic stars on the pavement for celebrities who we had mainly never heard of! Also the whole walk of fame was just filled with weird shops that sold souvenirs and countless sexy underwear shops - interesting selection for the home of cinema.Read more
For lunch we tried another place off the worth it channel, a really good pasta place. Words can't explain how good the pasta was, which was made freshly in front of our eyes. I watched a guy roll out a big piece of pasta about 20 times while we were waiting for our food, and then shred them and turn them into pretty little piles of spaghetti.
After lunch we did an aimless drive around the fancy villas of rich people. There were 2 basic different types :ones that were wide open from the street and had ridiculous architecture elements, such as 10 meter high columns, or front doors an elephant could walk through. The others were surrounded by bushes from the street and barely looked like anything - until you saw them from the hill side:they actually were enormous, with big terraces and windows overlooking valleys. Again we would only see gardeners, and signs about armed guards being present, in case we wanted to go inside...
This time we made it home in time for dinner, and had corned beef and carrots and other vegetables that Lajos cooked for us!
After dinner we went with Ester to the USO, some kind of charity that basically let's us military people get free food and drinks and hang around in certain areas while they wait for connecting flights to war zones. We went to Starbucks to pick up all the leftover cookies and pastries they had, and brought it over there.Read more