i nearly choked on a cocoa cayenne cookie…

… and other things you might say and hear in San Francisco.

“Do I have kale in my teeth?”

“Let’s eat these over by the Yucca”

“CHEESE IS NOT VEGAN!!”

But I’m skipping ahead. There’s still a whole week of LA to catch up on. Let’s start with the morning I went on a tour that, by the end of it, I felt so dirty and weird and gross and full of regret for every bad celebrity magazine and website I’ve ever read…

I coerced my good friend Ben into coming with me on a Lifestyles of Hollywood’s Rich & Famous Blah Blah bus tour the day after we arrived. With a brochure promising to take us through Laurel Canyon, along Mulholland Drive and through Beverly Hills, with sun shining and birds singing, it seemed, if anything, a great opportunity to see a bit more of the city. So I guess that’s one box ticked.

But as soon as our open-top minivan rolled down Hollywood Boulevard, I realised this was not the tour for me. Was it our tour guide, with his knuckle-n-neck tatts, missing teeth and eau d’ganja cologne? Was it when we drove past the hotel from Pretty Woman (SPOILER ALERT : the one from the end, where JR’s getting ready to leave LA and Richard Gere drives down the street in the stretch limo and he climbs up the fire escape and they kiss ON THE LIPS and it’s really romantic?) three times in 25 minutes, with no other notable stops or sightings in between? Or was it when we stopped on Mulholland Drive to see the Bowl and take some snaps of the Hollywood sign? Ol’ Toothy stopped the car (on a pretty steep stretch of road) and jumped out to let us out the back. Except he forgot to put on the handbrake. So we all started rolling backwards down the hill. Thrills n spills in Hollywood, I tells ya!

The remaining two hours were spent looking at houses in the distance, and being regaled with interesting facts like “See that house on top of that hill with the flat roof? Meg Ryan’s house. Beautiful property. Worth $16 million. See that house with the orange wall? Beautiful property. Worth $22 million. Jennifer Lopez got married there. Now Gwen Stefani lives there. She’s a fashion designer. See that house with the black windows? Beautiful property. Worth $34 million. Tom Hanks’ house.”

Snore.

The icing on the cake was when we screamed around a corner and “OH MY GOD THERE’S A CAR IN GENE SIMMONS’ DRIVEWAY IT COULD BE GENE” honk honk honk!!!! The lady behind me said “Gene Simmons? Is that her in the car? Who’s she?”. Gene Simmons was not in the car. I’m not a huge KISS fan and even I knew it wasn’t him, but it didn’t stop Le Tooth from honking a little (a lot!) more and blocking traffic and whistling and yelling.

By the end of the tour, I was glad we didn’t see anyone famous (despite being promised we would; if not on Rodeo Drive then ‘behind the wheel of any expensive sports car driving through the canyon’). It felt SO intrusive and revolting; like being at a human zoo.

Yikes. That was a DOWNER! Let’s remember when Ben and I started rolling down Mulholland Drive and have a little chuckle! Good times coming soon, I promise!

The only picture I took on the tour: Cher's house. And I took it because - well - it's a pretty impressive front gate.

The only picture I took on the tour: Cher’s house. And I took it because – well – it’s a pretty impressive front gate.

As an aside, because I’m sure you’re VERY interested, I DID end up spying a couple of (I hate the word) ‘celebrities’ while I was in LA. Most of them ex-Aussie actors, hilariously enough, but I saw Aziz Ansari getting coffee in Echo Park, and I held the door open for Giovanni Ribisi after a screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel. He looked very sullen and didn’t say thanks or even crack a smile. So that’s the last time I hold a door for a Hollywood moofie star…

p.s. That was ME that nearly choked on a cocoa cayenne cookie as well! RIGHT BEFORE I WROTE THIS POST!! I’m fine though. And I ate the rest of the biscuit too. And it was delicious, despite nearly killing me…

hollywood & la brea

Stuck in a traffic jam from the airport to Hollywood, our cab driver shook his head, in disdain for Oscar. “This… this is ALL Oscar… It’s crazy…”, tooting his horn and swerving around traffic (including into the wrong lane into oncoming traffic too – exciting!). Our bright yellow hotel is minutes away from where the Oscars were held last night, and craziness still abounds. We strolled along Hollywood Boulevard this morning as they were rolling up the red carpet and taking down giant gold statues – I saw two man-sized Oscars, wrapped in plastic Laura-Palmer-style, being driven around on the back of a golf buggy.

After breakfast at a 50s-style diner (because, HOLLYWOOD), we moseyed back to the hotel, checking out various ‘stars’ along the Walk of Fame, belonging to people we’ve never heard of, and those that make no sense (Amy Grant?? Michael Bolton???). We passed a homeless man, who was pacing up and down the footpath, shaking his grey dreadlocked hair. He got us in his sights and said (to Rich):

“Hey! You! With the drop (pause)… dead (pause)… gorgeous (looooong pause)… FIANCE! You better MARRY that woman and stop (another really long pause)… BULLSHITTING YOUR LIFE AWAY!!!!! Excuse my language… Can I have a nickel?”

After over 24 hours of living in the zombieland that is many, many timezones and plane travel and bad food and not enough water, I think I’m back in the land of the living. And I’m definitely ready for some hilarious adventures in the land of LA.

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LA LA LA

Tomorrow!! Los Angeles!!! Here’s to 90210 celebrity sightings, mimosas (what ARE they??), green smoothies, raw everything, rollerskating, tacos, Mexican wrestling, MAGIC, walking-walking-walking, (hopefully) becoming a runner [side note: given it’s my year of signing up to things, I’ve just parted ways with some hard-earned cash and have signed up to THIS – fingers crossed I’ll discover the joy of running in LA… in another side note, Nicole Antoinette – the gem who runs this site – is gearing up to run from Santa Monica to New York – holy hell!!!] and lots and lots of writing.

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We’re gonna spend a week moseying about in the city, catching up with rad peeps and eating lotsa food and seeing music and, as I mentioned already, MAGIC! Then Rich heads to SXSW and I find myself with the world (well, the west coast) at my fingertips! 5 days solo. I’m a bit stumped – do I tourist it up around San Fran, or go DESERT or CABIN IN THE WOODS to write and read and walk and think? Desert and wood cabin both kinda sound like a horror story waiting to happen, but they could make truly excellent blog fodder, no?? I’ll keep you posted.

Either way, bloggy US adventures coming up! Got tips, suggestions, ideas, anything? Please send ’em my way!