Where to begin. I’ve been so slack on keeping this, ‘journal of tales’ yet have acquired far too many to be kept for my own personal amusement/ horror (delete as appropriate). Nevertheless, going forward from now I am going to continue to divulge the stories that one day I will be able to tell those (imaginary) grandchildren of mine…(a wise person once told me that yes, it is completely acceptable to take some sordid secrets to the grave with you). Advice taken. Duly noted
This story however, is one of female empowerment, random acts of kindness, Danny Devito’s personal driver (what a characters he was!) and a real life Hollywood Angel.
Welcome to LOS ANGELES.
La la land. I’ve heard it all, I’ve seen the movies, watched countless TV shows and flicked my way for the past 20 years through all of those glossy not -real -life -don’t -ever- read -them – magazines. I had pretty high hopes when I knew I was going to be visiting the widely nicknamed ‘City of Angels’ aka- Los Angeles.
The hectic 17 hour flight across the North Pole is always eventful, usually packed with high profile names and wonderfully weird plastic fantastic faces to meet and greet (and sort of stare/ gawp at thinking….but why? More importantly…how?) I’ve had rappers, djs and reality TV stars but no one has ever quite blown my mind like this one woman we had the blessing to meet on this particular trip way back in January this year.
Marianne. A 35 year old business woman traveling with her (ever so slightly older) 92 year old husband (yes eyes were slightly raised at first- I mean I am only human…) who invites the entire crew to join her at her house after we land the next day. Her ‘house’ in the Hollywood Hills. Wedged right in between Lindsey Lohan & Britney Spears’ manager. We, of course without hesitation, accept. And the next day, a driver rocks up to our hotel located far away in Orange County to chauffeur us jet lagged but bushy tailed kids off to the hills.
As we pull up to the drive, Marianne greets us from the 5th story of this lavish mansion, waving her arms in an almost regal manner from the balcony. She takes us on a tour (you know you own a larger than life kind of house when you have enough space to play tour guide) around her magnificent home. An old English cottage styled mansion complete with traditional thatched roof sprawling several floors and corridors (very Hogwarts esque!, I almost felt Potter was going to jump yelling Expecto Patronum here) We reach the ‘unique selling point’ of the house (in my eyes anyway) a 9 ft long bar complete with a A-Z list of every alcoholic beverage you could think of and- copious amounts of prosecco which, like the classy ladies that we are, end up necking in the back of the car, and pouring in to red cups to take with us on our hike to the hollywood sign. Got to make like those American kids right? ‘When in Rome’ and all of that jazz…
The Hollywood Hills provide a stunningly panoramic view of LA. Fresh, clean Californian breeze helped at least aide that rather bloated fizzy gas feeling from downing one too many red cup of bubbles. And before us, a clear view of that all important HOLLYWOOD dream. Yep. You know you made it, you and the 9 other rather tipsy girls and our wonderful new friend, who’s already ordering 10 more bottles as were making our descent down the hill.
We are greeted by two guys at the foot of the hill, dressed ‘Men in Black’ style, Armenian with deep New Yorker accents (can I get some cwafeee). Marianne, now equipped with her ten bottles of Proseco delivery proceeds to ask the guys, her own personal drivers, friends, and lifelong partners in crime, if they can drive us in convoy around LA, hitting all the landmarks along the way (including the hunt for the famous Colette Miller angel wing installations all around the city- I take full responsibility of this request!) Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills…you name it, we hiccuped our way there whilst throwing some shapes in the back of the car to Londonbeat (also my at my request- 90s classics, can’t beat them).
Setting foot on to the palm tree lined streets of Beverly Hills, cruising around dream worthy mansions and letting the Californian rays soak in to our skin, of course my first impressions of LA were great. Albeit slightly blurry eyed. On the drive to Beverly Hills we drove by countless theatre and casting studios and i couldn’t help but envision how amazing this city would have been in the 1920 movie glamour era. Beverly Hills itself a colourful yet make believe world of chin doctors (yup, you did read that correctly), plastic surgeons at every other office corner and streets lined with Mercedes G wagons and Chanel clad young 30 something ‘lady’s that leisure’, either that or they’re off for their regular fixture with the chin doctor. The streets of Hollywood are not how it is perceived in the media nowadays. The infamous Hollywood boulevard is surprisingly littered with trash and sadly run down.
The beaches however, words sort of fail me here! Mesmerised. Transfixed and in awe. Palm Trees, everywhere. And completely dominated by Californian habitants bursting with character. From gawping over at Muscle Beach on Santa Monica (rubber necking over those kind of guys that all the girls want to be with, and the boys aspire to be). I however fell in love with Venice Beach. Potheads, skateboarders, preachers, and an 80 year old man playing the piano at sunset infront of another guy trying to flog me a tambourine. I definitely feel like I would be more suited to the weird and wonderful characters this side of town.
With Danny Devito’s personal driver chauffeuring us and divulging all the wild and sordid tales of the underground world of Vegas and of course, the man himself, we eventually reside at Sky Bar, Cindy Crawfords very own hideout on Sunset Boulevard. Slightly merry by this point and loving life, Im thinking to myself- can it get any better than this. These random acts if kindess do not come around that often, but when you meet somebody with as much light and soul as this woman, who selflessly gave us an experience to treasure as one of my all time favourite travel memories, it’s really hard to imagine that it does.
“We didn’t realise we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun” – Anon