It’s time. Getting there. closer to home. We were boarding a brand new Boing 777-300ER in Auckland. The best “bird” we have had on the trip and the best entertainment system we have ever seen in an airplane. Air New Zealand gets a 5 star rating anytime. Well Carmen did not enjoy it too much as you might know. But Ingo did not sleep much to enjoy it even more :-)Long flight ahead and for those of you having a little geography background know, that flying from NZ to USA means, winning a day. The daily life in New Zealand is anyway quite strange if you have contact to Europe or to the States. For central Europe its exactly 12h difference in time but for US (West Coast) it’s just 3h. But lets say if its 12:00 noon in Auckland then its 15:00 afternoon in LA. No big deal right, but LA is a complete day behind! Its wired to be honest.
So flying from Auckland to Los Angeles on 2nd of March means for us, this day was the longest day in our entire life so far. It literally was 45h long! We spend almost the whole day in Auckland, flew to LA and had another 2nd of March in Hollywood. And for those of you doing the math right now, yes we are one day younger then all the other people out there :-)
(Even though we might have cut our lives by at least two years)
We landed in Los Angeles, all excited about the last country. Hired a car and booked a hotel. For all folks planning a USA trip and needing a car. We had better prices by using billiger-mietwagen.de than using directly a local car rental service.
On the way to Hollywood, we drove through some strange districts of LA just because we have not had a map and just went into the blue :-) But we made it safe to the Hostel just right opposite of the Kodak Theater, a week after the Oscars happened.
Not too expensive there but don’t think you get a clean room. We read the online critique but could not imagine that in the western world, next to the red carpet a guesthouse is not cleaning their rooms. But yes, everything is possible – so here we had the winner: dirtiest accommodation on our whole trip.
However, LA is a very cool city and we liked the actually very familiar looking streets. Even if it was still quite cold, we enjoyed some must do sight seeing tours through Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Unbelievable for the average Joe how much money some people have and what they do with it. If you ever gotta be in Hollywood, do not miss such a tour. Watch out for Bob, he is the man :-)
NBC Universal Studios was another must do on our list. We had a blast that day and seriously, this movie/tv industry does some really interesting stuff. And for those of you knowing some stuff about this girl called Britney Spears, you also might have heard about Kevin Fetherline. Carmen was spotting him and their two kids next to us lining up for Shrek 4D. Ingo had no clue at all until we googled the guy later in the evening.
Speaking of evening, we headed to the pacific coast later that day and enjoyed a wonderful sunset at the world famous Santa Monica Pier. Before we drove further down to San Diego, we were told not to miss Venice Beach and the also well known Muscle Beach (Arni was starting his career there). Ok seriously, it was Mardi Gras that day – which elsewhere is also known as Carneval – and all this freaks hanging out there were even tripled because of that. You had a hard time figuring out who is “real” and who is not. We had such a great time riding a vintage bike along the beach and watching the crowed enjoying a wonderful and sunny day. If you think now, way is there now photo of Carmen and Ingo in red beach ware? Simple because this is the wrong beach for that Baywatch outfit. We planed Malibu (!) Beach on our way back to LA weeks later but it was raining then so no Baywatch photos, sorry :-)
San Diego is beautiful and we wish we could have had more time to spend there. But arriving late we only walked around the Gaslamp district to have breakfast in the morning. We did see the old town, which is supposed to be the place where California was founded. Also we stopped by Mission Beach before we hit the road for a approximately 7 hours ride to Las Vegas!
Vegas is nuts! Really, you gotta see this crazy place if you haven’t yet. We heard a lot about this city in Nevada from friends and sure movies but it’s hard to imagine how big and how money-does-not-count’ish this place is.
Arriving there later at night, not having anything booked or so we got a very good deal at the Mirage Hotel. And where ever you look, it’s somehow fascinating! Actually you can see the city lights in the sky ca. 100km before you actually really see the city! We were also surprised around 40km before we reached Vegas to see a place which can be easily mixed up with Vegas if you have not been there before. The Nevada Welcome Centre, go figure!
So we enjoyed Las Vegas a lot but as most of our friends have said before, it’s for sure no place to live.
What did we do then in Vegas? Eating, drinking, gambling, walking the strip up and down, photographing, tripping to fire valley, seeing a brilliant show from Cirque du Soleil (LOVE), getting married afterwards, waking up the next morning on the roof top of a hotel, finding an Asian guy in our trunk with no cloth, you name it.
Well, here is to you finding out where we started making it up a little, just one hint: we did not marry :-)
Again, Vegas is nuts, but we definitely go back there soon again. A lot of our blog readers know that the Wedding and Portrait Photographer International (WPPI) is happening in Vegas every year and since we could not made it this year we will be there in February 2012 for sure.
Leaving this freaking place behind heading direction San Francisco through the well known Death Valley was incredibly interesting and diversified. Using that route you literally drive through all four seasons of the year. From very hot to one meter snow, you can see and feel it within two days at least. Imagine snowy mountains to sand dunes within a couple of hours on the road.
We also stopped at a place in the middle of nowhere, which is going to be the point on earth of ultimate silence. Have you every experienced that feeling? If you stop moving, stop talking and just listening that you do not hear anything? No animals, no cars, no wind, nothing? Not even your own heartbeat? Close your eyes for a moment and listen if you hear anything right now even if you try not to hear anything? Does it work? We never had that feeling before and it feels somehow strange to be honest.
After stopping for overnight in Bishop and Lake Tahoe we reached San Francisco exactly that day where California got the Tsunami warning due to the Japanese earth quake. Sure we were a bit concerned but as the waves were forecasted to hit land in the Morning, SF is mostly hilly and we arrived in the evening we finally felt a bit safer. Our plans to cross the Yosemite National Park were canceled as the pass going through the park is for sure closed during winter time. The road goes up over 3000 meters above sea. Go figure!
We need to break the post up into at least two postings due to many photos we want to show. So this was part one and we continue very soon with San Francisco. Stay tuned.
Love from Munich
Carmen and Ingo
Michael, Marylin, Spiderman, Catwomen,…LA is full of Legends :-)
house of Jennifer Aniston
Michael Jackson died in this house! the gate was covert with paparazzis and the pictures went around the world.
Beatlejuice, Beatlejuice,…Beatlejuice :-)
had a small chat with the dunkey and he was so funny! loved it :-)
floods, wherever we went ;-)
run Ingo, run
Santa Monica Pier, so beautiful!
Venice Beach, Muscle Beach…you can just sit somewhere and watch. amazing guys around :-)
The “old Town” from San Diego. Its all about Mexico.
our nice room
we just had a look ;-)
on the way to the fire valley
the wave. amazing place, you can hear nothing…no bird, no cars, no wind in the trees…just your own breath. somehow magic!
through the death valley
just a few just a few hours after the death valley, cold and snow :-)
the Mono Lake, you feel like on the moon
we were obviously not prepared for snow :-) long time no see!
on the way to Lake Tahoe