Most things we write come out of a moment of enthusiasm
I went for a quick walk around the tourist bits of Hollywood : Kodak theatre, Chinese Theatre, those sorts of things. So many people!!! There are lots of people that dress up as characters and you can get a photo with them for a small tip. I snapped a few on the sly, here’s Bumblebee and Batman 😉
I keep looking in the souvenir shops for a hatpin but no where sells them! You can get novelty academy award trophies and more shirts and caps than anyone ever needs, magnets and decorative plates are a plenty. But no hat pins. Disappointing. I forgot to pack a sun hat so have been keeping an eye out, but nothing grabs me yet.
I caught the Metro to Universal City next, determined to fulfill my one LA goal: go indoor skydiving at iFly. I wasn’t interested in visiting Universal Studios or Disneyland, despite the fact that apparently they are must dos for any tourist. Too expensive for my liking! Plus I didn’t want to have a big list of things I HAD to do and end up either exhausted or disappointed. So iFly it was, and everything else was an added bonus.
It took me a few seconds to figure out where Universal City was in relation to the train station because I came up on the wrong side of the subway station and there was no map, while the other exit did have a map. I found it in the end though, the big Universal City sign across the road helped, lol.
The little shuttle team took me up the hill to Universal CityWalk, the craziest mall I have ever been to. As someone who has never so much as visited Wet ‘n’ Wild or Dreamland in Queensland, the sheer amount of design effort put into this area was amazing. Here’s some photos to help you understand what I mean…
It was almost 4pm and I found the iFly with directions from a security guard. For those who don’t know what indoor skydiving is (which I assume is quite a few), basically it is a giant acrylic conical tunnel with wind blowing out the bottom powerful enough to suspend and lift a human.
It was awesome. I signed up for the ‘spread your wings’ package which was $100 with four flights (1min each) and a free dvd (normally $25). It sounds expensive, and it kinda is, but like I said, this was the one thing in LA I really wanted to do. We had a brief safety demo and were taught the hand signals they use to instruct you while in the tunnel (coz you know, its really freaking loud). Finally we got suited up with goggles, earplugs and helmets. I got to go first. To get into the tunnel they start the wind and then basically you fall face first over a wire mesh floor, spreading out into the freefall position as you go (belly down, arms bent, hands in front of you face with legs bent at the knees). The instructor guy is in there too to hold you still and help get you in position, using the hand signals. Once you get the hang of it they let you go higher, as the tunnel is about 20ft tall in total. I had some difficulties at first, apparently my legs were too bent so I kept going backwards. The other people I was with went too, including a little boy about 8 years old. It was pretty funny. I had another one minute flight and then a final two minute flight. I found that overall it wasn’t as exhilarating as I hoped, only because you had to concentrate so much on the technique. I guess once you get that down pat then you can get on with enjoying yourself. It was definitely a bizarre sensation though, being suspended in wind, and I did have an awesome time! I wish we had body flight places in Adelaide. Maybe they have them in other states… At the end of our session the instructor, Josh, did some showing off in the tunnel. The idea is that you can do all kinds of tricks and flips once you get the hang of it and by moving your body into particular positions you have total control of your body in the wind. It was awesome seeing a person flying! We finished up and I got a souvenir shirt, plus my DVD.
I spent a little time exploring CityWalk as it was only 5ish and I didn’t need to be back at the hostel for a while yet. I found a massive candy store called Itsugar. There was a crazy amount of colouring and sweetness in there, as well as all sorts of novelty items, like cushions in the shapes of lollies and cross branded stuff (like the Star Wars M&Ms). I didn’t buy anything, though the giant gummy bears on lollypop sticks were tempting, hehe.
I finished up my Universal City trip with a coconut seven layer bar shake from Ben & Jerry’s. I have no idea what a coconut seven layer bar is, but the icecream description included coconut, walnuts, caramel and chocolate I think. The shake was pretty good anyway 🙂 Took the metro back to Hollywood and went back to the hostel for a little while.
The plan for the evening was to meet up with the guy who will be hosting me on Thursday night. I sent him a couch request on couchsurfing.org a week or so before I arrived in LA. His name is Keem and he lives in Hollywood about three blocks from the hostel, but could host me for just one night. I’m really glad he could, as our evening was brilliant! See part 3! 🙂