I think my family and I had quite possibly the worst experience in L.A that any visitor to the city has had ever. Like, it was so bad I get distraught just thinking about the short trip we had there. It was honestly that bad.
"But it's L.A, the city of dreams." I hear you say. But in fact, after my experience, it was lowkey the city of nightmares...
So i'll fill you in on the back story. Mum and dad were already over in the States, Vegas to be exact. They had been there a week, kicking off their holiday a week before my brothers and I flew over to the US to meet them.
Mum left Las Vegas a day earlier than dad and co. to pick Luc, Zane & I up from LAX, stay with us a night in LA and then fly with us across the country to Florida.
The flight from Auckland to LA went smoothly. My brothers and I are all accustomed travellers so being in airports without our parents didn't phase us in the slightest. We jumped on the plane and started our journey.
13 hours later we land in America. I manage somehow to usher Luc and Zane through the intense customs process with all the finger scanning and that and we meet mum outside our gate.
We are all knackered and looking worse for wear, but we jump in a cab and head to our hotel in Santa Monica. If I recall correctly the hotel was fine. No five-star accommodation or anything, but not too gnarly.
So as we get there mid-morningish, we drop off our bags, go for a feast and then wander down Santa Monica pier for a couple hours before we headed back to our hotel to jump on the Hollywood Tours bus.
The tour bus that we were going on was a 'night-edition' and while you may be thinking "why would you go on a tour at night when you can't see anything?" Well friends, my mum was doing her best to make sure we got to see as much of L.A. as we could in the short amount of time we were there.
So we get back to the hotel, all excited for this Hollywood Tour. We are wondering what celebs we might spot, what stars we might see on the Hollywood walk of fame, I was excited to see some of the restaurants where the likes of the Kardashians ate. Anywho, 15 minutes goes by passed the time we were supposed to be picked up. Odd.
Mum went and called the tour from the hotel phones and alas, it seemed they had forgotten to stop by at our hotel!
While mum was lowkey pretty pissed off, she played it cool considering she had flown from Las Vegas to LAX that morning to meet her kids who had just flown the 13 hours to L.A. from Auckland. None of us had slept and my brothers and I were hōha as, but mum stayed pretty calm.
Never fear, the tour company says to mum, we will send a guy to pick you up and take you to meet the bus.
A while later this crazy, ass, angry Mexican dude picks us up in his beatup van and takes us for a drive through the ghettos of LA.
We didn't see bright lights or manisons or well manicured hedges or people dressed all glam. We saw dirty, narrow streets filled with rubbish, gangsters walking around looking sly and had the craziest driver ever. Running red lights, speeding over pot-holes, it was carnage. Pretty sure he was also super aggressive at mum. Although at this point I was carsick, holding my stomach trying not to vomit everywhere.
We finally meet up with the bus on Hollywood Boulevard (reminder, it's night-time) and the tour group. At this point mum and us kids do not want to be there at all. But mum puts on a braveface and tells us kids to soak it up. So we do. Well, try to. As we began our walk down the world famous 'Hollywood Walk Of Fame' we are swarmed by tens of guys coming up to us trying to force us to take their CD because they're the next 'Kanye West' and the new 'Biggie Smalls'. We refused there free mixtapes and EPs and I was shit scared that we were going to get murdered right there on Hollywood Boulveard.
What a way to go.
There were people in scary costumes, homeless people everywhere, rubbish littered the footpath and gutters and it was just horrible. Not what we pictured at all.
I think we did a mini stroll up the walk of fame and saw the Chinese Theatre and then that was it.
After our 10 minutes on Hollywood Boulevard, we jumped on the tour bus and the crazy African-American tour guy told us a whole lot of complete shit yarns about how 'Justin Bieber lived in this house', 'George Clooney owns this one', 'That car that just drove passed us with tinted windows was either Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp'.
All total B.S, but whatever, we were happy that we were finally experiencing some of Hollywood. Even if it was at night. With a crazy tour guide. After a 13-hour plane ride.
We saw Beverley Hills, the Staples Centre and Rodeo Drive which was cool. And stopped at another couple of places.
Then we were dropped back at the hotel and we all couldn't wait to just crash.
A few hours into our sleep - the fire alarm at our hotel goes.
No shit at like 3 in the morning.
The last straw in the disastrous 24 hours in LA.
I don't really remember the nitty gritty details of the evacuation, but it was a false alarm anyway thank fuck.
We went back to sleep and then another couple of hours later, it was back to LAX to catch a flight to Florida.
So thankful to get out of LA.