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Day 2 : Sunday 4th September 2005

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The City of Angels (well part of it!)

I was up fairly early, as I had expected due to the jet lag, at about 6am. After faffing around a bit (well a lot actually) I eventually made it down for breakfast - there was a complimentary Continental buffet for Priority Club members .

With that out of the way, I was still really undecided what I wanted to achieve with my sole day in Los Angeles. Without a car in this totally auto-dependant city, there were always going to be limited options. I could have got a "Big Blue Bus" from near my hotel out to Santa Monica, but I decided instead to stick to Beverly Hills and see what this area had to offer.

I started out walking from the hotel and soon found myself up near the Beverly Hills Town Hall, a rather grand building. I then walked further up Beverly Drive and up Rodeo Drive, which I had expected to contain many fashion outlets, but I joined it too far up and it was all residential. But it was interesting to walk around such a nice area, very quiet early on Sunday morning and I eventually wound up on Sunset Blvd outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, the pink palace now tarted up by new owner the Sultan of Brunei. Shame I couldn't afford to stay here!

I walked back south, having decided that it would be too far to walk into Hollywood proper and eventually found myself back on Santa Monica Blvd, from where I decided I should head to Century City shopping centre to see what was happening. Nothing much to my disappointment when I got there at about 10:20am. The food court was open, but all the shops were shut. Surely shops open on a Sunday in America, land of unrestrained capitalism?!?

Luckily for me, it appeared that opening time was 11am, as I had a Coke in the food court I noticed several of the shops preparing to open. After a short visit to a bookstore, I hit the Bose outlet and purchased a pair of noise cancelling headphones, which I had been after for a while, but are as expensive in pounds in the UK as they are in dollars in the US . They are very useful for using on flights - many times I've found the in-flight entertainment severely affected by ambient noise. No more!

With that I dropped back down to Pico Blvd and back to the hotel, deciding not to visit the Museum of Tolerance, which is LA's Holocaust museum. With recent visits to Holocaust/Jewish museums in Berlin and Washington DC, I didn't really fancy yet another one.

After a sojourn back at the hotel, I headed back out to find the real Rodeo Drive, which I did easily (goodness knows how I missed it the first time). Every major fashion label seemed to be covered - from Gucci and Bulgari to Cartier and Louis Vuitton. Having already splashed out on an expensive pair of headphones, you will be glad to hear that I restricted myself solely to a spot of window shopping!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing back at the hotel. I kicked myself for forgetting to bring my swimming shorts, so I couldn't take advantage of the hotel pool, but the jet lag and early start, and much walking were starting to kick in. I had a couple of complimentary beers, courtesy of my Priority Club status, and had a quick pizza in my room before hitting the sack at an incredibly early 8pm!

Sunrise from my room

Beverly Hills Town Hall and Beverly Drive

Hollywood Hills (the famous sign is centre of the photo)