Los Angeles – The city of Angels !

We landed half asleep at the LA airport….after a good 16 hour flight what more do you expect. After a long wait at the immigration booth we managed to gather our luggage and head off straight to the Rent- a-car centre. We were out with a decent car in half and hour and on our way to Hollywood….The first things that I liked about L.A….the weather, the trees….and coming from the desert these are the first things that you notice….:). We got our first taste of LA traffic right-a-away and it good us a good one hour to reach Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard. We reached Quality Inn Suites by 1:30 pm. We had our first IHop meals. IHOP is a very popular chain of restaurant for quick, sumptuous food….:) After a small nap in the afternoon we were quite excited to  explore Hollywood….:)

Our First destination was Hollywood Walk-of-Fame. I personally felt it is a very highly overrated place. We saw the Gruman’s Chinese theatre, Kodak theatre, Final destination was being premiered and hence the walk was full of paparazzi and the roads were filled with limousines. People were yelling on the streets as the stars came out of the cars….No we did not stop to look by….we wouldn’t have recognized any of the actors….:P. The road was filled with people….tourists I must say…..trying to find their favorite superstars name on the walk-of -fame….All the Best!…..there are 2 parallel roads that are filled with the names of the stars, so its a very small stretch that contains souvenir shops, celebrity impersonators.  We did go inside the highland mall, boy am I glad we did…..it has got beautiful views of the hollywood streets and the famous Hollywood sign. Well then there is Wax Museum, Ripley’s believe it or not, Guinness Book Records, you can buy an entry ticket for any or all of these attractions. We ended up buying for all….and I wasn’t impressed to be honest….and if you have seen Madam Tussad’s museum in London….do not even think of buying the Wax museum tickets…:P. But as they say when you are in L.A, you want to do everything…..:)

Hollywood Sign

Ripleys Believe it or Not !

Well I did not see any angels, but yes truly a land of dreams !  Innumerous people come to Hollywood with this dream in their heart that they might get a chance in a film and make it big…..and end up being some impersonator on the Walk of Fame street…..Hmmmm….scary isn’t it…But what’s wrong in Dreaming….So Dream oh Dream !!!!

Impersonators of Pirates of the Caribbean

Unique Things that I liked about Hollywood Walk of Fame – The walk and the highland Mall. Do take a stroll and marvel at the Walk of Fame !

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Highland Mall

After a not-so good night sleep…jet lag I mean….we managed to push ourselves out of the hotel by 10:00am to our next big Destination Universal Studios. It is a working studio with many serials(Desperate Housewives), movies are in action when you take the tour. My first impression after seeing the site map was, how the hell are we going to finish this in 1 day…..GULP !  We really enjoyed the 45 minute tour however the 45 minute waiting time for the tour was never ending, but it was worth it ! On the tour we were taken around the various sets and they showed us how the floods, fire, car chases & plane crashes etc are done in studios….seemed very realistic, the effects were so real….its amazing….even the 360 3D king kong and dinosaur fights seemed so real….that my 4 year old had a scare attack and she started howling…..it was a nightmare for her but it was compensated when she saw Dora….he he he….:) We enjoyed the rides too…..the Jurassic ride had a drop in the water and it was quite thrilling to see the dinosaurs….:) Mummy Returns Ride was okay too….The best thing that we liked about both the rides is they have single ride lanes which have absolutely 0 waiting time as compared to the normal lines. And with small kids its a blessing !  Mandar and Chat enjoyed the Termiator 2 – 3D which I and Nat conveniently managed to skip. We did enjoy the street shows. We also saw SHREK 4D, amazing effects and when the seats move and rock….u really had it….Chat enjoyed it a lot. We also enjoyed the Water World show….the picture comes to life with death defying stunts, awesome explosions and an ocean of thrills, the guys really were awestruck and wish they would get a chance to ride the jet skis….ha ha ha. So oververall a fun filled day and we went back to our hotel talking about the thrilling experiences we had.

Universal Studios Entrance

Plane crash

Shrek 4D

The Mummy Returns

Water World Show !

Unique Things that I liked about Universal Studios – It has to be the Studio tour, its mind blowing. I also tasted Churro for the first time here. Its a the spanish Doughnut made out of fried dough pastry, with cinnamon sprinles….it tastes yummy with Coffee….:)

 

16 Comments

  • Shubhra says:

    Mayura,

    Great to read about LA Universal Studios…especially it being a working studio ! The crash picture seems so real !

    I was comparing notes with US Singapore and looks like USS is much smaller than LA one …still we struggled a bit to do everything in one day.

    What exactly are the single ride lanes? In Singapore we had to wait around 45 minutes and sometimes even an hour for rides. There are fast lanes but one needs to pay double the ticket price for it.

  • Vibha says:

    Hmm…finally Hollywood! It seems like our Mumbai is the Indian version of Los Angeles in terms of aspirations, dreams, realizations, and disappointments. But still there are some who do make it!

    360 3D king kong and dinosaur fights? I’m sure those would scare me as well. I don’t blame your 4 year old (Natasha?) for having a scare attack!

    Looking forward to your next story as I have the inside information that it is a rather special one!

  • Mayura Luktuke says:

    @Shubhra – Everything is huge in US, the burgers, the drinks, the parks, the roads….lolz….so when we first saw Universal Studios, we were in awe….:) but once we started going around , we got the hang of it…:)
    General wait time for any ride was 45 minute to 1 hr. So that was the most bugging part, and with two kids u can imagine….:)
    Fast lanes are not double paid. The concept of fast lanes is like this – Fast lane slot machines are available for some rides. You need to put your entry ticket in the slot machine and Voila it comes out with a fast lane ticket that carries a time within which you can come and take the same ride without waiting in the queue for hours….:), fall back is you cannot get the next fast pass ticket past the time that appears on your present fast lane ticket…..:(
    Single ride lanes (which were a blessing) is basically a separate entry line for the ride. So there is one general (family) entry line, where u go in as a family (2 or more). But as I said the waiting time is more, but you can enjoy the ride with your family members. Single lines – you sit alone in a ride and anyone can sit next to you. But with younger kids being not allowed in these rides, the question is whom to leave them with, we took turns to take the single rides and were out in less than 15 minutes….:)

    • Shubhra says:

      ha ha..very well said about everything being huge in US !
      Thanks for taking the time to explain…..very interesting to know the concept of fast lanes….as well as the single ride lanes. Don’t think any of these exist in Singapore Studios.

  • Mayura Luktuke says:

    @Vibha – The Universal tour ride is highly recommended, worth every second that you stand in the queue. The 3D fight effect was mind blowing, no other words. All the people who came out of it just had one word to say “WOW”, what was that!!!!!!

    Thanks for building up the excitement for my next blog…:)

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Thanks Mayura for the racy, guided tours of LA and Alcatraz and the evocative snapsots.

    I wonder why people, especially Americans pay to get scared….roller coasters, horror movies et al. I had experienced a roller coaster ride a couple of decades ago; it was my first and last, lol. A ride in an autorickshaw in one of India’s crowded cities gives you hundreds of heart-stopping moments at a fraction of the cost.

  • Nandan says:

    That was indeed a fast paced one Mayura.

    I have been to SFO a few times and everytime we make a plan to go to LA but never successful. I could never get enough courage to rent a car because of a left-right stuff, we at India are not familiar with driving on the right. May be, next time I would try to go to LA.

    Thank you for sharing this. Please also post this at http://www.facebook.com/Ghumakkar

  • Mayura Luktuke says:

    @Narayan – Fast paced …Yes….we went to US this august for a month and we covered many places on the west coast, sometimes by taking inflight’s and sometimes we drove….a hell of a month….saw many places, met new people….budgets extended….lolz….hopefully will be able to write about a few more, lets see.
    I love roller coasters…I love any adventure sports….needless to say I did sit in almost all the roller coaster rides at disneyland….so much so that the kids started accusing me of having fun at disneyland in spite of being an Adult….:)

  • Mayura Luktuke says:

    @Nandan – You have to go to LA, it is so hosh posh, the minute you land you will notice it….best cars, best dressed people….the houses in Beverely hills…..WoW….just wow….wonder what people do to stay in such houses….Rodeo drive is another attraction….:) The Santa Monica beach and the pier have breath taking views, no wonder it is one of the top 10 beaches in the world…LA is huge too….don’t forget the La jolla beach….the children’s beach is a beauty.

  • IPS Khurana says:

    hello mayura

    great article and snapshots……on LA.

    Inder

  • Mayura Luktuke says:

    IPS – Thanks Buddy !

  • Stone says:

    @Mayura – You sure have a way with words. This is turning out to be a very interesting series. Looking forward for more.

    @Nandan – I’m in SFO bay area, drop me a line whenever you visit next, and I won’t mind driving you to LA:-)

    • Mayura Luktuke says:

      Thanks Stone….

      @Nandan – As far as driving is concerned, your problem is solved now….lolz….but seriously I drive in Dubai, its is pretty well organised here, of course its left hand hand driving here. I did not drive in US, however my husband did….but it is even more organized….I also realized that people are much more patient in US and give way to others….:)

  • Nandan says:

    @ Stone – Thank you brother. I think I need to get out of my lethargy and make it happen. :-) Sorry for the delayed response. Am traveling. For some reason, Ghumakkar was not working from hotel during last couple of days.

  • John says:

    To enjoy these places one should avoid the these parks during the US holiday( Long weekends), Spring break, Fall break and during the kids summer break and the last 2 week of December. U can also find the peak month schedule on those park sites. So avoid during the peak months.

    • Mayura Luktuke says:

      John – Hmmm, but thats when the kids get a break…:) We went in our summer break (August)…..it was crowded….never ending queues in Theme parks was a big let down for me….:(

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