Day 4

Monday 16th May 2011

Long Beach

Now we’ve experienced first hand the sights and sounds of Hollywood so it was time to move on.

Another unsettled nights sleep, my body clock is stuck in between times and at 3am I was wide awake. Good chance to update my blog and download bits on the hotel’s WiFi as it is super fast at that time in the morning (I guess I’m the only mad fool using it). I did manage to book the final hotels for the last few days of our break; we’re now staying with the mayor of Carmel, Clinton Eastwood. Well staying with him would be a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m sure he’ll be close.

Up and showered by eight, we were out and on the hunt for somewhere to have breakfast and soon found a cafe on Hollywood Boulevard. I stuck with the safe omelette with bacon for a change, Tina french toast. Not sure how much contamination takes place these types of places, they look a bit dumb faced when you mention the words gluten-free?

Back to the hotel for the final time to check out before moving on to hotel number two.

20110516-151437.jpgBefore heading south, we decided to drive past the famous tattoo parlour featured in LA Ink, where Kat Von D does her stuff. I suggested that Tina video the shop as we went past it, but in the confusion of trying to work my video camera she totally missed the shop. A quick detour around the block and this time she saw it just, but only managed to video her knee. Technology is not Tina’s strong point.

20110516-151455.jpgWe then drove down Santa Monica Boulevard, also know as Route 66, singing to ourselves the famous Cheryl Crow song ‘All I wanna do’. Once we reached close to the end of this road we got our first glimpse of the Pacific ocean, a first for both of us. We parked up near the pier and walked down to the beach where Tina paddled briefly (the sea being rather cold and choppy) and I took some photos of the scenery.

Back to the car and we headed towards Long Beach not before driving though Venice Beach. Both Tina and I were not impressed with either areas, it all looked rather rundown. Onto The Interstate Highway 405 south, it was another 45 minutes by the time we arrived at our next destination.

20110516-151504.jpgWe quickly found our hotel but unfortunately the room was not ready for us, so we walked the short distance to the harbour to find somewhere to eat. We decided on a Mexican restaurant and ate a nice lunch in the warm sunshine. We then walked back to the beach near the hotel for a paddle before finally getting our keys and relaxing for the afternoon in the hotel room.

Just before seven we drove a short distance to an Aussie themed restaurant called Outback, which serves mainly grills. I remember this chain from when Matt and I visited Florida as they are good value and the food was OK. The restaurant was in an area that had valet parking; basically someone parks your car for you and charges you for the service. Odd when the place they park the car is only a few yards away.

We entered the restaurant and were shown to a table and immediately offered drinks and bread. We ordered our main courses, checking that my choice was gluten-free and the waitress seemed quite knowledgeable about what items contained gluten. I chose a ribeye steak and Tina chicken which arrived shortly after. Then the waitress said that there was a gluten-free dessert option if I wanted to try it. It was a chocolate brownie, ice cream and cream all piled onto of each other. I went for it and managed to put it all away (it’s not often I get a GF dessert option other than fruit). Tina had cheesecake.

Soon we were given the bill and although the bill was a bit steep at $90 we paid up and left. We recovered the car from the valet service, forking out the $6 fee plus a dollar tip.
Arriving back at the hotel car park I realised I had left my video camera at the restaurant, so we drove straight back, this time bypassing the valet parking. Luckily the staff had found my camera and kept it safe, and even more surprising, said that we had been overcharged for the meals earlier and gave back $41. Wow, that was honest of them and a nice touch.

Back to the room for another early night, this time watching some American TV, or American adverts more like. Pretty much every channel you switched to had adverts showing.

Tomorrow we leave for Las Vegas so it will be an early start once we’ve packed up and had breakfast.

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